Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination

Firstly, If you have recently graduated from massage therapy school and want to obtain a license, then there is a good chance that you will have to take the Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx).

Administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), the MBLEx was designed to provide a minimum standard for entry into the massage therapy profession.

Hence, If you live in the state that has the regulatory agency or board, the chances are good that you will need to take the MBLEx to obtain a state license.

Of the rules that regulate massage therapy, only New York and Hawaii use Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination for their state test.

Nearly all of the other states with regulations require or accept the MBLEx as an examination for board licensing.


In 2005, the FSMTB was founded, in part to establish a “valid and reliable licensing examination”.

And to “bring commonality in licensing requirements to assist with professional mobility.”

(  Before that, many states administer their licensing examination or relied on the certification examination conducted by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).

As of 2014, possibly the NCBTMB no longer offers an entry-level licensing examination.

MBLEx Content

According to their 2017 Handbook, the MBLEx test questions cover Anatomy and Physiology – the structures and functions of the bodily systems; Kinesiology – functions and concepts surrounding muscles and joints;  Pathology, Contraindications, Cautions and Special Populations – knowing when you should not do massage or what precautions to take under certain circumstances, including knowing what medications may affect your client’s response;

Benefits and Physiological Effects of Massage –  physiological and psychological effects as well as different techniques and their effects;  Assessment, Re-Assessment, and Treatment Planning – organization of a session, client intake, data recording, types of assessments, and clinical reasoning; Modalities, Culture and History – overview of history, types of skill sets used in different settings, and different modalities that are incorporated in massage and bodywork;

Ethics, Boundaries, Laws, and Regulations – knowing how to maintain professional boundaries, work within your scope of practice, communicate professionally and maintain client confidentiality; and Guidelines for Professional Practice -hygiene, safety and business practices.

The handbook also contains a bibliography of texts that you can study to prepare for the MBLEx.

According to the manual, the literature will not be provided in future editions because it is not all-inclusive of appropriate texts.

Books Included In The Current List:

Beck, Mark F. Theory, and Practice of Therapeutic Massage. (5th edition).

Clifton Park: Milady, 2010.

Benjamin, Ben and Cherie SohnenMoe. The Ethics of Touch. (2nd edition). Tucson: Sohnen-Moe Associates, Inc., 2014.

Biel, Andrew. Trail Guide to the Body. (5th edition). Boulder: Books of Discovery, 2014.

Braun, Mary Beth, and Stephanie Simonson. Introduction to Massage Therapy. (3rd edition) Baltimore: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2014.

Fritz, Sandy. Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage. (6th edition). St. Louis: Mosby/Elsevier, 2017.

Fritz, Sandy. Mosby’s Essential Sciences for Therapeutic Massage: Anatomy, Physiology, Biomechanics, and Pathology. (5th edition). St. Louis: Mosby/Elsevier, 2017.

McIntosh, Nina. The Educated Heart: Professional Boundaries for Massage Therapists, Bodyworkers, and Movement Teachers. (3rdedition). Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2011.

Moore, Keith, Dalley, Arthur and Agur, Anne. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. (7th edition). Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2014.

Salvo, Susan G. Massage Therapy Principles, and Practice. (5th edition). St. Louis: Saunders/Elsevier, 2016.

Sohnen-Moe, Cherie. Business Mastery. (5th edition). Tucson: Sohnen-Moe Associates Inc., 2016.

Werner, Ruth. A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology. (6th edition). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer, 2016

Studying For The Test

In addition to the resources above and any assistance your school provides in researching, the FSMTB also sells a study guide for about $30.

Furthermore, there are other study resources available as well.

Most of all, ABMP offers an online exam coach to its members for about $75, and AMTA has a free study program.

Also, you can find some independent study guides at online booksellers such as and

MBLEx Logistics

To take the MBLEx, you must first apply.

Applications can be made by mail or online at

By using, you are attesting you have education and training in the areas of the examination.

You may be asked to provide evidence of your knowledge.

After your application is received, the FSMTB will process it within five days and send you an Authorization to Test (ATT).

Once an ATT is received, you can schedule your examination online or by phone.

The testing is done at Pearson VUE testing centers.

You must take your test within 90 days of receiving your ATT.

After you receive an email confirmation, you can make the test at your appointed date, time and place.

Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination

What Happens at the Testing Center, may need Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination.

Remember, when you arrive at the test center (at least 30 minutes before your test is scheduled), you will subject to some security protocols.

You will have your photograph was taken, and a biometric scan is done to confirm your identity.

Importantly, not allowable to leave the building until the test is complete.

If you do not get to your test site by the “report time” on your confirmation notice.

So you will not allow taking the test and will forfeit your application fee. However, Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination helps.

You will have to provide two forms of identification, at least one of which has your photograph on it.

Because expired documents will get refusal.

Make sure that your first and last names on your identification match exactly the name on the ATT.

Not allowable to bring any possessions into the testing room with you.

You will be provided a locker to put your belongings in before the test.

If you are wearing eyeglasses, layered clothing or accessories, they might get examination before the trial when it’s especially relevant.

The Test Is Taken On A Computer

It is 100 multiple choice questions, and allowable to 2 hours to complete it indeed!

Moreover, the questions must get an answer in the order you see them.

The test is an adaptive computer test, meaning problems get progressively more difficult as you answer correctly.

And then once you get one wrong, they get more comfortable again.

Unless you get approval for individual ADA testing accommodations, the clock does not stop if you need to take a bathroom break.

If you take a break and leave the room, you will have to undergo security protocols when you go and enter the room.

Once you complete your test, you will be given your results when you leave the room, therefore, you shall know if you passed right away.

If you failed, they would provide you with information on how you performed in each category, therefore, you shall know where your weaknesses were.

If you failed,  FSMTB allows you to re-take the test after 30 days, also, there is no limit to the number of times you can take it.

Your state board may have Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination limited other than those of FSMTB.

However, If you pass the examination, your results will report to the state regulatory agency and will be part of your license application file.

Hence remember that the MBLEx is only one part of what you must provide to the state to obtain licensure.

Alternatively, If you apply for a license in a different state in the future, then probably you can have your scores transferred by contacting FSMTB.

Pass/Fail Statistics

Also, statistics for 2014-2015 in the FSMTB Annual Report showed that 69.5% of first-time test takers passed the test.

And of those that re-took the test, also only 32.5% passed.


Most US states accept the MBLEx results as part of the licensure application for massage therapists.

Currently, the MBLEx is the only national licensing examination, so if you recently graduated from massage therapy school.

And that is the exam you will most likely need to take unless you live in Hawaii or New York.

However, if you are currently a massage therapist and previously took a test administered by the NCBTMB.

Then many states will accept that result when you are applying for a license in another state, also having Some Information You Should Know About Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination.

Finally, the MBLEx intends to be an entry-level examination for minimum standards for practice.

In conclusion, If you feel that you need additional test preparation beyond what you learned in school, there are some study guides and test preparation programs available.

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