In California, to work as a massage therapist you need the Certified Massage Therapist license (CMT).
In order to get it, you need to enroll in a massage therapy course and apply for a license upon graduating.
While you can also work with a local permit, a CMT allows you to also get hired in other states besides California.
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Schooling Requirements for the CMT
You will need to finish 500 hours of education in an accredited school.
The schools meeting the criteria must be:
- Accredited at a national level
- Located within a trade school
- Approved by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
- Approved by an agency in the Business and Professions Code section 4601(a)(1)-(5).
Subjects like anatomy, physiology, health and hygiene, contraindications, business, and ethics, must make a total of 100 hours of education.
If you enrolled in a longer program, you can apply for certification before your course is over, if you had already met the 500 hours requirements.
For this, your school must provide proof of all the requirements have been met.
Some schools have been ‘unapproved’, and in such case, you can bring documents from that particular school before it was ‘unapproved.’
However, you will need additional documents that prove the education criteria are being met.
This also the case for ‘inadequate’ schools, from which if you graduate you need to prove your education with references and other types of certifications.
Schools in California
A good school is Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (HHSHH), located in Escondido & Laguna Hills.
The school offers accredited training for Massage Therapists and Holistic Health Practitioners.
|A2Z Health Massage School||7620 Lindley Ave. Reseda, CA 91335|
|A2Z Health Massage School||2955 Moorpark Rd. Thousand Oaks, CA 91360|
|Abrams College||201 East Rumble Rd. Modesto, CA 95350|
|Academy of Chinese Culture & Health Sciences (ACCHS)||1601 Clay St. Oakland, CA 94612|
|Advanced College||13180 Paramount Blvd. South Gate, CA 90280|
|Alhambra Medical University||25 South Raymond Ave. #300 Alhambra, CA 91801|
|Alive & Well Institute of Conscious Bodywork||150 Nellen Ave. Corte Madera, CA 94925|
|American Academy of Reflexology||725 East Santa Anita Ave. #B Burbank, CA 91501|
|American Institute of Massage Therapy||1570 East Warner Ave. #200 Santa Ana, CA 92705|
|American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM)||455 Arkansas St. San Francisco, CA 94107|
|American University of Complementary Medicine||415 North Camden Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90210|
|Blake Austin College||Main Campus: Beauty Academy 611-K Orange Drive|
|Blake Austin College||1679 E. Monte Vista, Suite 200 Vacaville, CA 95687 Vacaville, CA 95688|
|Bryan College||3580 Wilshire Blvd. #400 Los Angeles, CA 90010|
|Bryan College||2317 Gold Meadow Way Gold River, CA 95670|
|CalCopa Massage School||18582 Beach Blvd. #11 Huntington Beach, CA 92648|
|California Healing Arts College||500 E. Carson Plaza Drive Carson, CA 90746|
|California Holistic Institute||11555 Los Osos Valley Rd. San Luis Obispo, CA 93405|
|Care Through Touch Institute||240 Golden Gate Ave. San Francisco, CA 94102|
|Central Valley Massage Institute||792 Loughborough Dr. Merced, CA 95348|
|Chico Therapy Wellness Center||3029 Esplanade #11 Chico, CA 95973|
|CNI College||702 Town & Country Road Orange, CA 92868|
|Concorde Career College||12951 Euclid St. #101 Garden Grove, CA 92840|
|Concorde Career College||201 E Airport Dr. #A San Bernardino, CA 92408|
|Concorde Career College||4393 Imperial Ave. #100 San Diego, CA 92113|
|Concorde Career College||12412 Victory Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91606|
|De Anza College||21250 Stevens Creek Blvd. Cupertino, CA 95014|
|Emeryville Massage Therapy School||5900 Hollis St. #Q Emeryville, CA 94608|
|Esalen Institute||55000 Highway 1 Big Sur, CA 93920|
|Fair Oaks Massage Institute||9833 Fair Oaks Blvd. #C-1 Fair Oaks, CA 95628|
|Feldenkrais Professional Training Program||830 Bancroft Way, #112 Berkeley, CA 94710|
|Five Branches Institute||200 7th Ave. Santa Cruz, CA 95062|
|Five Branches Institute||3031 Tisch Way #507 San Jose, CA 95128|
|Fremont College||18000 Studebaker Rd #900A Cerritos, CA 90703|
|Fullerton College||321 E. Chapman Ave. Fullerton, CA 92832|
|Healing Hands School of Holistic Health||125 W. Mission Ave. #212 Escondido, CA|
|Healing Hands School of Holistice Health||23022 La Cadena #204 Laguna Hills, CA|
|Hendrickson Method Institute||388 Colusa Ave. Kensington, CA 94707|
|Holistic Life Institute School of Massage and Natural Health||730 East F St. #G Oakdale, CA 95361|
|Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing (IPSB)||5817 Uplander Way Culver City, CA 90230|
|Kali Institute||746 E Main St. Ventura, CA 93001|
|Kingston University||12100 Imperial Hwy Norwalk, CA 90650|
|LA Vocational Institute||3540 Wilshire Blvd. #410 Los Angeles, CA 90010|
|Loving Hands Institute||639 11th St. Fortuna, CA 95540|
|Makoto Kai Healing Arts||443 First St. Woodland, CA 95695|
|Massage Therapy Institute||1920 E 8th St Davis, CA 95616|
|Mayfield College||35-325 Date Palm Drive, Suite 101 Cathedral City, CA 92234|
|Mendocino School of Holistic Massage & Advanced Healing Arts||2680 Road B Redwood Valley, CA 95470|
|Milan Institute||3356 South Fairway Visalia, CA 93277|
|Mueller College||123 Camino de la Reina #100 San Diego, CA 92108|
|National Holistic Institute||3031 Tisch Way, #1 Plaza South San Jose, CA 95128|
|National Holistic Institute||1347 Redwood Way Petaluma, CA 94954|
|National Holistic Institute||1665 Market St. San Francisco, Ca 94103|
|Napa Valley School of Massage||1131 Trancas St. Napa, CA 94558|
|North-West College||2101 West Garvey Ave. North West Covina, CA 91790|
|North-West College||530 East Union St. Pasadena, CA 91101|
|Ojai School of Massage||619 West El Roblar Dr. Ojai, CA 93023|
|One Thousand Cranes Massage Therapy||4540 Kearny Villa Rd #102. #130 San Diego, CA 92123|
|Pacific College of Oriental Medicine||7445 Mission Valley Rd. #105 San Diego, CA 92108|
|Paris Beauty College||1655 Willow Pass Rd. Concord, CA 94520|
|Rosen Method||825 Bancroft Way Berkeley, CA 94710|
|San Francisco School of Massage||1325 Chestnut St. San Francisco, CA 94123|
|Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute||516 N. Quarantina St. Santa Barbara, CA 93103|
|School of Healing Arts||1001 Garnet Ave. #200 San Diego, CA 92109|
|School of Holistic Touch||3700 Inland Empire Blvd. #125 Ontario, CA 91764|
|School of Shiatsu & Massage||Harbin Hot Springs PO Box 889 Middletown, CA 95461|
|Somatherapy Institute School of Massage||70-225 Hwy 111, Suite B&C Rancho Mirage, CA 92270|
|South Bay Massage College||120-B South Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266|
|Southern California Health Institute||18040 Sherman Way #400 Reseda, CA 91335|
|The Breema Center||6076 Claremont Ave. Oakland, CA 94618|
|University of East-West Medicine||970 West El Camino Real Sunnyvale, CA 94087|
|World School||401 32nd Ave. San Francisco, CA 94121|
CMT test requirements
To have your certification approved, you must either take a test with the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) or the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).
You can then choose between the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) and the Board Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCTMB).
If you want to get a license, you will need the MBLEx for which a $195 fee is required along with proof of reading the candidate bulletin.
The exams are managed by the Pearson VUE and you can choose when you want to be tested.
If you want to get the BCTMB, you need to meet additional criteria including 250 hours of experience in the field.
You will need to bring the “Request for Live Scan Service form” in 2 copies, and take them to a Livescan vendor.
One copy will be kept by you, while the other will be submitted to the CAMTC.
The fees for the entire process cost between $80 and $90, and you will also need to provide fingerprints for a complete background check.
How to Apply
Download the form on the CAMTC website, and have the transcripts submitted to the California Massage Therapy Council.
You will also need to submit any certification you might have.
The whole process takes about 45 days and requires a $150 fee.
If your form includes transcripts from a facility that is unapproved, the process can take a year as you obtain the necessary qualifications.
Keeping Past Certifications
If you already hold a Certified Massage Practitioner (CMP) certification, you may keep it or upgrade it to reach the required 500 class hours.
If you have a Conditional Certified Massage Practitioner (CCMP), you can also pursue a CMP if you continue training.
Therapists From Other States
If you have a license in another state that complies with the California regulations, you will be allowed to practice.
This is also the case for some regions in Canada.
Your income will differ based on location, experience, and skills.
If you want to have an idea of the median salary in California’s major cities, have a look at the table below.Annual Salary Range:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
You can contact the California Massage Therapy Council by phone or sign up for updates on the site’s contact section.
You can also get additional info by visiting the American Massage Therapy Association website.
Read the full guide: How to Become a Massage Therapist