Virginia Requirements to Attend Massage Therapy Schools

The Virginia Legislature requires that all massage therapists be licensed within the state of Virginia.  However, the requirements to start a massage business or to transfer a license from another state are very in-depth and stringent.

In this article, we will be discussing the requirements and education that is required for you to begin your practice as a professional massage therapist in the state of Virginia.

Scroll straight to the bottom to see a list of the top massage therapy schools in Virginia.

Brief Summary Of The Main Highlights

In the state of Virginia, the profession of massage therapy is regulated and overseen by the Virginia Board of Nursing.  To find out more about how you can submit an application for massage therapy, be sure to visit the Virginia Board of Nursing website by following the link provided.

In order to practice massage therapy in the state of Virginia, you must complete a specific amount of credited hours from an approved massage training program.  Additionally, successful completion of a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork or Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards examination is required as well.

Students must go to a school with an approved program, pass an examination and apply to the state for a license.

Schooling Details And Requirements (Credit Hours)

Upon graduating from an accredited Virginia massage therapy school, you must be at least 18 years old to apply for a massage therapy license.  Additionally, the state requires that you have at least 500 hours of training from a certified therapy program or a school approved by the State Council of Higher Education.

Additionally, once certified, you as the massage therapist must include 25 continuing education hours (CE Credits) every two years.  To better understand what continuing education hours are required of you, please visit the Virginia Board of Nursing’s Laws and Regulations webpage and select “Regulations Governing the Certification of Massage Therapists” link.

Licensure Qualifying Programs

As a student pursuing your massage therapy certification, you must graduate from a certified massage therapy program.  Below we have provided a partial list of approved programs that you may want to check into:

Licensing/Certification Requirements

Per the Virginia Board of Nursing, applications for any and all massage therapists cannot be faxed; the original copy must be mailed, simply because the board requires the application to be notarized.

If you would like to view or print the application, please follow this link to the Application for Certification – Massage Therapist.  To become fully licensed in the state of Virginia, you must also pass the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage, the Licensing Examination of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards OR an exam deemed acceptable by the Virginia Board of Nursing.

After submitting your application, the board will then perform a background check to ensure that you are clean of any offenses or crimes.  If you are found guilty, the Virginia Board of Nursing will then decline your application.

Key Agencies/Boards involved and their contact information

The massage therapist industry in the state of Virginia is regulated and controlled by the Virginia Board of Nursing.  If you would like to contact them for any questions or concerns, then please feel free to contact them by the following information:

Department of Health ProfessionsBoard of Nursing

Perimeter Center, 9960 Maryland Drive #300, Henrico, VA 23233-1463

Phone: 804-367-4515, Fax: 804-527-4455 and Email:

Requirements To Start A Massage Business in Virginia (Massage Establishment License)

If you have filed a completed application with the Virginia Board of Nursing, then you may begin working as a massage therapist for 90 days or less upon written authorization from the board.

If you were to fail the exam that you wish to take for certification, then your provisional certification will be withdrawn and you will no longer be eligible for massage therapy certification until you successfully complete and pass one of the approved exams relating to the massage therapy industry.  These exams include the following:

  • The National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork
  • The National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage
  • The Licensing Examination of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards
  • Or an exam deemed acceptable by the Virginia Board of Nursing

Massage License Renewal Process

You must renew your massage therapy license every two years after receiving your initial license.  The cost for renewal in the state of Virginia is that of $95.  Additionally, each application for renewal must include 24 continuing education credits/hours with one hour in the professional ethics course and at least 12 hours provided by an NCBTMB-approved provider.

A perk to being a first time renewal applicant is that you are exempt from the continuing education credit requirement.  As you pursue your continuing education hours, be aware that you must keep full documentation for at least 4 years, in case of the event of a random audit.

Massage License Reciprocity

If you are a licensed massage therapist from another country, then you must meet certain requirements before you can become a certified practicing Virginia massage therapist.  The following are the requirements:

  • Approved educational requirements – must meet the guidelines set by the Virginia Board of Nursing.
  • Pass the required examinations
  • Submit a completed application
  • Pay the required fee

If you are a licensed massage therapist in another United States jurisdiction, then you must also meet certain requirements to practice in the state of Virginia.  These are as follows:

  • Meet equivalent requirements to those who seek certification in the state of Virginia
  • Be in good standing
  • Submit a completed application
  • Pay the required fee

Note: Specific personnel information, office addresses, fees, payments etc. may change over time. Although we do our best to keep this site up to date, please ensure you contact the state board to obtain the most recent information at the time of your application.   

Here is a list of the top massage therapy schools near you. We have an arrangement with all of them that allow you to request information for FREE. Please do so and take that first step toward a better future.

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Become a massage therapy school teacher in Virginia.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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