Washington Requirements to Enroll in Massage Schools

There are 11,621 credentialed massage therapist practitioners in the state of Washington. In this article, you will find all of the information and forms that you will need to further pursue your dreams of becoming a massage therapist in the state of Washington. Continue reading for additional information.

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

Brief Summary of the Main Highlights

In the state of Washington, obtaining your massage therapy license is a fulfilling and easy process to undergo. The Washington Health Professions Quality Assurance Board of Massage provides you with all of the necessary forms, applications, instructions, rules and regulations to work and successfully become a massage therapist here. Be sure to follow all of the steps and instructions to prevent any delays in the application process.

Schooling Details and Requirements (Credit Hours)

The state of Washington requires you to take a minimum of 500 hours from an accredited massage therapy school or program in order to obtain a massage therapist license. Washington also requires you to take a jurisprudence (Law) exam, which can be found online. Previously, proof of passing a National Exam regulated by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork was also required.

Recently however, the FSMTB offers the MBLEX exam which is the state standard for many massage schools now since the NCBTMB has ceased to offer the NCETM (the licensing only version). Some longer programs may still work with the NCBTMB exam however if they are over 750 hours.

The schooling you will receive should include the following coursework:

  • 130 hours of anatomy and physiology, at least 40 hours of these need to be kinesiology.
  • 50 hours of pathology, including indications and contraindications.
  • 265 hours of theory and practice of massage, to include techniques, remedial movements, body mechanics of the practitioner and the impact of techniques on pathologies. A maximum of 50 of these hours may include time spent in a student clinic. Hydrotherapy will be included as well.
  • 55 hours of clinical/business practices, minimally to include hygiene, record keeping, medical terminology, professional ethics, business management, human behavior, client interaction and state and local laws.
  • Certification in American Red Cross first aid and American Heart Association Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.
  • 4 contact hours of training in HIV/AIDS training.

Licensure Qualifying Programs

There are many approved massage therapy schools that you may attend to receive your education. Here is a short list of some of the massage schools in the area:

Denton Massage School
426 North Olympia Avenue
Arlington, WA 98223
Phone: 360-435-8490

Everest College
155 Washington Avenue, #200
Bremerton, WA 98337
Phone: 360-473-1120

Cortiva Institute
2030 South 314th Street
Federal Way, WA 98003
Email: admissions.federalway@cortiva.com
Phone: 253-237-5301

Bodymind Academy
12623 NE 110th Street
Kirkland, WA 98033
Email: tjohnston@bigplanet.com
Phone: 206-367-9060

Seattle, WA
Email: ExploreACTION@aol.com
Phone: 425-820-0399

Bellevue Massage School
15921 NE 8th St C-106
Bellevue, WA 98008
(425) 641-3409

Licensing/Certification Requirements

To receive your massage practitioner license you must complete and submit certain documentation. The following is a list that you can also find on the Board’s website here.

  • Complete a Washington State Board of Massage approved education program (as mentioned above) and successfully take and pass a massage therapy national examination. You must provide a Verification of Completion form stamped with the Program’s Department of Health issued stamp received directly from the approved education program.
  • You must list all of the states in which you were licensed as a massage therapist. Additionally, the Board would like to know where you have applied but failed to receive credential. A verification form must be completed and submitted by the jurisdiction where you were credentialed.
  • Complete and submit the License Application Packet.
  • You must submit an explanation or documentation of any felony convictions, your physical and mental health status as well as any disciplinary actions.
  • 4 hours of HIV/AIDS training.
  • You must submit your First Aid and CPR cards or verification from an approved education program.
  • Pay a $106 Initial License Fee.

Key Agencies/Boards involved and their contact information

The Washington Health Professions Quality Assurance Board of Massage is the governing agency and board that oversees and manages the massage therapy industry in the state of Washington. If you have any questions regarding your licensure or the application process, please feel free to take the time to contact their office at the following:

Town Center 2
111 Israel Road SE
Tumwater, WA 98501
Phone: 360-236-4700
Fax: 360-236-4818
Email: hsqa.csc@doh.wa.gov

Mailing Address:
PO BOX 47877
Olympia, WA. 98504-7877

Requirements to Start a Massage Business in Washington (Massage Establishment

As a licensed and practicing massage therapist, there are certain rules that are required of you to start and own a massage business in the state of Washington. The 2011 Legislature bill was passed (SHB 1133) amending the law related to massage therapy. This bill requires you to do the following within your business:

  • As a massage practitioner, your name and license number must appear on all of your advertisements and marketing materials.
  • As a massage practitioner you must conspicuously display your license in your place of business.
  • You must have a copy of your license available for inspection while performing any activities related to massage therapy.

To start a business in the state of Washington, you must complete the following procedures:

  • Visit “Access Washington” business page for some of the rules and regulations.
  • Plan your business – Seek out advice, write a business plan and set goals for your business
  • Register your business in the state of Washington. You can do so by visiting this link.
  • Determine your business structure – Is it a sole proprietorship? A partnership? A corporation?
  • Choose a business name.
  • Get your massage therapy license.

Massage License Renewal Process

The Board asks that you always keep your current mailing address in their system. This will help them reach you better, particularly when your renewal year comes around. The Board mails you a courtesy renewal notice and updated credential to the address that they have on file. If you need to update your mailing information, please follow the link provided here.

Continuing Education: Twenty-four hours (24) of continuing education is due every two years on or before your birthday. You are also required to submit the renewal fee, renewal card and an affidavit of compliance with the continuing education requirement.

You must renew your license every year on or before your birthday. A renewal fee is also required or $81 every year.

To renew your massage license, you can either do it online, by mail or in person. The following describes these three different methods:

You have the option to renew your massage license online. There is a $2 convenience fee to renew your license online. To complete the renewal process, you may follow this link. There are restrictions, however, to being able to renew on the Internet; these include:

  • Your license has expired already
  • You are currently in any other status such as military, inactive, retired
  • You have restrictions on your credential
  • You want to change your status
  • You have an address change
  • You have a name change

On the Renewal Page, you will be asked to create an ID and password if you have not already done so. This will grant you access to the renewal application. Be sure to follow all of the steps and instructions given to reduce the need to contact the Board, which may slow the process down. If you find that you have questions regarding the renewal process online, contact the Department of Health Online Services by phone at 360-236-4700.

By Mail
Your renewal must be postmarked or received by midnight of the expiration date or it will be considered late and therefore denied. If the renewal is late, the Board will assess a late fee. You can renew up to 90 days before your license expires (see mailing address above).

In Person
If you wish, you may renew your license in person at the Board’s physical address. To do so, please visit the address below:

The Washington Health Professions Quality Assurance Board of Massage
Town Center 2
111 Israel Road SE
Tumwater, WA 98501
Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm

Massage License Reciprocity

Reciprocity may be granted to you if you hold a current, active license or certification as a massage therapist in another state. However, the education and requirements for receiving your licensure must be of equal comparison and must be approved by the Board.

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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Learn how to become a massage school teacher in Washington here.

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+

Posted in Certification, Massage Therapy Schools, State by State Requirements

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