The state of West Virginia established licensure requirements for massage therapists with Act 37 in the state legislature. Massage therapy is regulated by the West Virginia Massage Therapy Licensure Board, and that same board sets the requirements for massage schools and teachers.
Massage School Instructors are required to have a number of qualifications, including a massage license if teaching massage related courses, as well as professional experience and specific teacher training.
Massage School Teacher requirements are laid out in detail in section 3 of the school standards for massage therapy on the West Virginia Massage Board’s Website.
Educational Requirements for Massage Instructors
Massage instructors teaching massage technique or theory courses are required to have a massage license, which requires 500 hours of massage education and passing the MBLEX exam. For teachers coming in from outside the state, a license from a state with similar requirements is also acceptable.
Lacking a massage license, a license or certification in any of the following fields is also acceptable: physician, dentist, chiropractor, osteopath, registered nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or acupuncturist.
Teachers instructing courses that are not in massage or massage theory such as anatomy, are required to have a minimum of twelve (12) semester credit hours of academic course work in the subject area they teach from a regionally accredited post-secondary institution.
Teachers at Massage Schools teaching any sort of course are required to have received training in teaching methods, including presentation skills, development and implementation of lesson plans, dynamics of the student/teacher relationship, managing a classroom environment, evaluation of student performance and have had orientation to the schools administration policies.
All massage therapy school instructors are required to have a minimum of two years of professional practice experience in or have received training and certification in the subject area they teach.
Continuing Education Requirements for Teachers
Continuing education requirements are not specifically spelled out for instructors, but massage licensure requires a minimum of 24 hours every 2 years, including at least 3 hours in professional ethics.
The state of West Virginia does not explicitly require its practitioners or teachers to cary professional liability insurance. Given that insurance costs are relatively low, and risk can be potentially high, it is a good idea to cary insurance even though it is not required.
Liability insurance is available through a massage professional organization, such as AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) or ABMP (Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals). AMTA’s professional membership explicitly includes insurance for massage professionals working as classroom teachers.
There are no specific fees associated with becoming an massage therapy school instructor, other than the license fee to practice massage in West Virginia if a teacher is teaching massage theory. An initial 2 year license costs $350, with a renewal fee of $200 every 2 years.