To be able to offer services as a massage therapist in Arizona, an individual needs a license.
Licenses for this field are issued by the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy.
To obtain it, there are specific requirements to be met.
Article Table of Contents
The requirements for obtaining a certification as a massage therapist, are:
- Minimum age of 18 years
- Having a high school diploma or equivalent
- the Ability to Benefit (ABT) examination might also be accepted by the Board
- Completing the required educational program
- Passing an exam
- Passing a background check
- Speaking English
- A TOEFL or TOEIC diploma is accepted for those whose mother tongue is not English.
The chosen program for this career can’t last for less than 700 hours of clinical and classroom education.
The program must be approved by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education or must be organized by a community college in order for the Board to recognize the license.
|Arizona College||4425 West Olive Ave. #300 Glendale, AZ 85302|
|Arizona School of Integrative Studies||701 South Broadway Clarkdale, AZ 86324|
|Arizona School of Integrative Studies||217 North Cortez Street Prescott, AZ 86301|
|Arizona School of Massage Therapy||1409 West Southern Ave. #6 Tempe, AZ 85282|
|Arizona Western College||2020 South Ave. #8E Yuma, AZ 85365|
|Chandler-Gilbert Community College||2626 East Pecos Rd. Chandler, AZ 85225|
|Charles of Italy Beauty College||1987 McCulloch Blvd., #205 Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403|
|Cortiva Institute||8010 E. McDowell Rd. #214 Scottsdale, AZ 85257|
|Jin Shin Jyutsu, Inc.||8719 East San Alberto Dr. Scottsdale, AZ 85258|
|Sedona School of Massage||75 Bell Rock Plaza Sedona, AZ 86351|
|Southwest Institute of Healing Arts||1100 East Apache Blvd. Tempe, AZ 85281|
Licenses from out-of-state schools might also be recognized if the schools were accredited by agencies similar to the ones in Arizona.
The programs of those schools will be reviewed by the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy, to check for similarity in standards.
The Board does have a list of out-of-state schools it recognized.
Other schools, not on the list, can apply to be added to the list if the requirements are met.
The candidates need to know that if they graduate from an accredited Arizona school, they might not have to pass through an exam to obtain their license.
To be considered accredited, schools must receive their accreditation from an agency that the U.S. Department of Education recognized.
Those who didn’t graduate from a school Arizona accredited will have to sit through a test.
Only the following exams are accepted:
- the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)
- the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB)
The former only offers the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), which is only for licensing purposes as no other credentials are offered.
MBLEx can be taken in both English and Spanish, but during the application, the candidate must specify which language they prefer.
They’ll have to also pay the $195 fee and mention where the address to which they want their results mailed.
Those interested can either apply online or download the form.
Those who are accepted for the exam will receive an ATT and will be able to schedule the exam through Pearson Vue.
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork doesn’t offer licensing exams anymore.
They only offer an exam for a Board Certification process.
To take this test, the candidate must:
- Prove 250 hours of work experience
- It has to be earned legally, after earning the license.
- Pass the national background check
- Submit an application
- Pay the $250 fee
- Give personal identification
- Provide transcript and evidence of CPR certification
For this diploma, those interested must attend and graduate from NCBTMB-assigned schools.
Their education must reach 750 hours, and continued education at an approved provider is accepted as well.
Massage therapists who got their license out of state might benefit from a reciprocity program, to get licensed in Arizona.
There are 2 situations in which the reciprocity can work:
- having been licensed for at least 5 years in a state with similar requirements
- being a graduate of a program lasting at least 500 hours and have an NCBTMB certification.
Future massage therapists need to pass a background check for which their fingerprints might be taken.
The fingerprints must be taken at a law enforcement agency even a private one, and be captured on a standard applicant card.
If you’ve never done this before, your application will have instructions on how to do it.
Remember that not everyone with a tarnished criminal record will be rejected.
Criminal records showing moral turpitude are more likely to cause the candidate to be rejected from receiving their license.
The Application Process
The website of the Board has the application form for you to download.
The school or organization will directly request and send the documentation to the Board.
If you’re coming from out of state, you’ll request instead of the license verification.
You’ll also need:
- A passport-type photo
- A notarization statement
- Proof of your legal status in the USA
- Pay $217, the fee for the first 2 years of licensure
If you want your credentials as a wall certificate, you have to pay an extra $25.
The approval process will last a while, as first the file will be verified to ensure it has all the documents.
Those with incomplete files will be notified.
The Board might request extra documents and information of some candidates, making the process longer for them.
The application process and the requirements seem complicated, but the salary might make things worth the effort.
Below you can have a look at the median salary of massage therapists in Arizona’s major cities.Annual Salary Range:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
The average salary earned by these professionals from Arizona is $50,623 per year.
At a national level, the average salary is, at $51,203 per year, a bit higher, but not by much.
Read the full guide: How to Become a Massage Therapist