In order to qualify for a massage therapy license in Washington State, all applicants must show successful completion of board-approved massage school, massage program, transfer program or apprenticeship program. RCW 18.108.070.
Effective September 1, 2021, there will be changes to the education and training requirements as outlined below.
Minimum program requirements for programs beginning prior to September 1, 2021
The education and training in massage therapy must consist of a minimum of 500 hours to be completed in no less than six months and must consist of the following:
- One hundred thirty hours of anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology with a minimum of 40 hours of kinesiology.
- Fifty hours of pathology.
- Two hundred sixty-five hours of theory and practice of massage. A maximum of 50 of these hours may include time spent in a student clinic.
- Fifty-five hours of clinical/business practices.
See WAC 246-830-430 for additional information.
Minimum program requirements effective September 1, 2021
Effective September 1, 2021, the new requirements are a minimum of 625 hours to be completed in no fewer than 24 weeks and must consist of the following:
- 90 hours of anatomy and physiology
- 60 hours of kinesiology
- 70 hours of pathology
- 260 hours of theory, principles, and practice of massage
- 50 hours of student clinic. For those education and training programs beyond six hundred twenty-five hours, in no case may the number of student clinic hours exceed seventy-five hours.
- 55 hours of clinical/business practices
- 40 hours of professional ethics
If an applicant is enrolled in a board-approved massage program prior to September 1, 2021, they do not need to meet the new education and training requirements, even if their graduation date is after September 1, 2021.
Licensing for out-of-state applicants
WAC 246-830-035 allows for licensure by endorsement if the applicant holds an active massage therapy license in good standing in another state, and the state's education and training requirements are substantially equivalent to Washington State.
Effective September 1, 2021, substantial equivalency means a course of study at a massage school or massage program that requires:
- A minimum of six hundred twenty-five hours of education and training, to be completed in no fewer than twenty-four weeks and approved by the equivalent licensing agency or agencies in the state, territory, or foreign jurisdiction in which it is located at the time of applicant's graduation; or
- A minimum of five hundred hours of education and training, and approved by the equivalent licensing agency or agencies in the state, territory, or foreign jurisdiction in which it is located at the time of applicant's graduation, at least two years of experience, and documentation of at least twenty-four hours of continuing education within two years prior to making application.
WAC 246-830-037 allows for board approved massage schools or massage programs to operate transfer programs, subject to the board's approval, that accept an individual's credits or clock hours from massage schools, massage programs, colleges or universities. Successful completion of a transfer program allows applicants to qualify for licensure by educational endorsement without having to go through a full board-approved program.
For further information, see RCW 18.108.095.
Verification forms are available on the Applications and Forms webpage.