Massage Therapist

Frequently Asked Questions

Topics

Applications and License Requirements
May I apply for my massage license online?

Yes. Applicants for a massage therapy license may apply online at Massage Therapist Applications and Forms.

What are the education and training requirements?

A massage program must consist of a minimum of 500 hours, must be completed in no less than six months, and must consist of the subjects listed in WAC 246-830-430.

Effective September 1, 2021, the minimum education and training hours will increase to 625 hours.

If you begin your massage program at a board-approved massage school prior to September 1, 2021, and it is less than 625 hours, you will be eligible for a license without having to complete additional hours.

What needs to be submitted for licensure?

An applicant for a massage therapist license must be 18 years of age or older and must submit the following documentation to the department:

  • A completed application form, either hard copy or online
  • Proof of successful completion of the required education and training sent directly from the applicant's massage school
  • Proof of successful completion of a board-approved examination under WAC 246-830-201
  • Proof of successful completion of the Washington state massage jurisprudence examination
  • Proof of certification in American Red Cross first aid and American Heart Association CPR or the equivalent. CPR training must be in person (hybrid CPR courses are accepted)
  • The required nonrefundable application fee in WAC 246-830-990
  • If required by the department, fingerprint cards for a national or state fingerprint-based background check pursuant to RCW 18.130.064(2)

Credentialing staff will notify you of any deficiencies.

How long does the application process take?

Processing time varies for each application. It depends on how complete the application is, and how quickly the outstanding requirements are met.

The required documentation may take several weeks to receive. Criminal history checks are conducted for all massage license applicants. Applications requiring additional background information may take longer than routine applications.

While we appreciate your interest in getting your license, in order to allow our office to continue the processing of applications in a timely manner, we request that you not call regarding the status of your application for six weeks from the date it was submitted. You may view the status of your application on the Application Status webpage.

If I'm licensed in another state or did not complete my education in Washington state, am I eligible for a Washington massage license without completing a board-approved program?

If you have an active and unrestricted license in another state, you may be eligible for a Washington state massage license via education endorsement. The requirements are outlined in WAC 246-830-035.

If you attended school out of state but don't hold a license, you may be eligible for a Washington state massage license via transfer of training hours. A list of board-approved transfer programs is available on the massage therapy webpage. The requirements are outlined in WAC 246-830-037.

Is my school board-approved?

The Board of Massage provides a list of approved schools here.

Continuing Education
How many hours of continuing education must I earn to renew my license?

You need to earn 24 hours every two years as outlined in in WAC 246-830-475.

Do I need approval to offer continuing education?

The Board of Massage doesn't approve specific continuing education (CE) courses, curriculum or providers. Licensed massage therapists are required to take CE courses that meet the requirements of their rules. Licensed massage therapists also need to determine on their own which courses and providers meet the CE rules requirements.

May I get an extension of time to complete my continuing education?

Extensions may be granted for emergency situations only (WAC 246-12-210). It's not advisable to wait until the CE is due to request the extension. If you have exhausted all possibilities for fulfilling your continuing education requirements and are contemplating requesting an extension, keep in mind that requests may take three weeks to answer and, if your request is denied, you will still have to complete the CE hours before your expiration date.

Fees
What fees are associated with the profession and how much are they?

All fees are outlined in WAC 246-830-990 or on the massage therapist fees webpage.

Can my late fee be waived?

The only time a late penalty fee will be waived is if the credential expires on a day the department is closed for business and the payment is received at the Department of Health's, Health Systems Quality Assurance main office on the next business day.

Massage Training Programs
What is the process to get school approval?

A school requesting board approval must submit a board-approved application packet, including all necessary documentation. A checklist of the standards for board approval is on the Massage School Program Approval, Re-approval, or Apprentice application packet. All documentation must be submitted in triplicate three-ring binders.

If the school is requesting approval of multiple programs, each program must be submitted on separate applications and in separate binders.

Board members require no less than five weeks to review each school's documentation. The application and binders will be provided to two Board of Massage members for review. Once the board members have completed their review of the application, they'll present their review for full board consideration at a regularly scheduled board meeting.

Does the program need to go through a re-approval?

Yes. The first re-approval for massage programs or schools will be three years after initial approval. This is to ensure the massage school or program remains in compliance with the training and education requirements set by the board. Subsequent program approval occurs every five years thereafter.

The board must be notified of any changes to an approved program including change of address, program hours and instructors.

Renewals
How long does the renewal process take?

Courtesy renewal notices are mailed to the address on file at least six to eight weeks in advance of the expiration date. However, a practitioner can renew their license as early as 90-days before the expiration date either online, by mail, or by phone. To avoid a late fee and the risk of practicing with an expired license, you must renew on time.

What if I didn't receive my courtesy renewal notice?

The renewal notice is a courtesy reminder. Failure to receive a courtesy renewal notice does not relieve or exempt the credential renewal requirement. You must renew your license on or before the date of expiration with or without a renewal notice. The expiration for all massage therapy credentials is the therapist's birthday. Be sure to contact the Customer Service Center at 360-236-4700 to make an address change or to verify your correct address is on record.

May I renew my license online?

If you have an active massage license, you may renew online up to 90-days prior to the expiration date. Once a massage therapy license goes into expired status, it cannot be renewed online, and a late fee will be assessed. A credential status will automatically go into an expired status if the practitioner does not renew on or before the expiration date. See Renewals Online for additional information.