Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) in California – Schools, Salary, and License Info

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Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) in California

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.

Schooling Requirements for the CMT

You will need to finish 500 hours of education in an accredited school.

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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.

School NameAddress
A2Z Health Massage School7620 Lindley Ave.Reseda, CA 91335
A2Z Health Massage School2955 Moorpark Rd.Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Abrams College201 East Rumble Rd.Modesto, CA 95350
Academy of Chinese Culture & Health Sciences (ACCHS)1601 Clay St.Oakland, CA 94612
Advanced College13180 Paramount Blvd.South Gate, CA 90280
Alhambra Medical University25 South Raymond Ave. #300Alhambra, CA 91801
Alive & Well Institute of Conscious Bodywork150 Nellen Ave.Corte Madera, CA 94925
American Academy of Reflexology725 East Santa Anita Ave. #BBurbank, CA 91501
American Institute of Massage Therapy1570 East Warner Ave. #200Santa Ana, CA 92705
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM)455 Arkansas St.San Francisco, CA 94107
American University of Complementary Medicine415 North Camden Dr.Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Blake Austin CollegeMain Campus: Beauty Academy 611-K Orange Drive
Blake Austin College1679 E. Monte Vista, Suite 200 Vacaville, CA 95687 Vacaville, CA 95688
Bryan College3580 Wilshire Blvd. #400Los Angeles, CA 90010
Bryan College2317 Gold Meadow WayGold River, CA 95670
CalCopa Massage School18582 Beach Blvd. #11Huntington Beach, CA 92648
California Healing Arts College500 E. Carson Plaza DriveCarson, CA 90746
California Holistic Institute11555 Los Osos Valley Rd.San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Care Through Touch Institute240 Golden Gate Ave.San Francisco, CA 94102
Central Valley Massage Institute792 Loughborough Dr.Merced, CA 95348
Chico Therapy Wellness Center3029 Esplanade #11Chico, CA 95973
CNI College702 Town & Country RoadOrange, CA 92868
Concorde Career College12951 Euclid St. #101Garden Grove, CA 92840
Concorde Career College201 E Airport Dr. #ASan Bernardino, CA 92408
Concorde Career College4393 Imperial Ave. #100San Diego, CA 92113
Concorde Career College12412 Victory Blvd.North Hollywood, CA 91606
De Anza College21250 Stevens Creek Blvd.Cupertino, CA 95014
Emeryville Massage Therapy School5900 Hollis St. #QEmeryville, CA 94608
Esalen Institute55000 Highway 1Big Sur, CA 93920
Fair Oaks Massage Institute9833 Fair Oaks Blvd. #C-1Fair Oaks, CA 95628
Feldenkrais Professional Training Program830 Bancroft Way, #112Berkeley, CA 94710
Five Branches Institute200 7th Ave.Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Five Branches Institute3031 Tisch Way #507San Jose, CA 95128
Fremont College18000 Studebaker Rd #900ACerritos, CA 90703
Fullerton College321 E. Chapman Ave.Fullerton, CA 92832
Healing Hands School of Holistic Health125 W. Mission Ave. #212Escondido, CA
Healing Hands School of Holistice Health23022 La Cadena #204Laguna Hills, CA
Hendrickson Method Institute388 Colusa Ave.Kensington, CA 94707
Holistic Life Institute School of Massage and Natural Health730 East F St. #GOakdale, CA 95361
Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing (IPSB)5817 Uplander WayCulver City, CA 90230
Kali Institute746 E Main St.Ventura, CA 93001
Kingston University12100 Imperial HwyNorwalk, CA 90650
LA Vocational Institute3540 Wilshire Blvd. #410Los Angeles, CA 90010
Loving Hands Institute639 11th St.Fortuna, CA 95540
Makoto Kai Healing Arts443 First St.Woodland, CA 95695
Massage Therapy Institute1920 E 8th StDavis, CA 95616
Mayfield College35-325 Date Palm Drive, Suite 101 Cathedral City, CA 92234
Mendocino School of Holistic Massage & Advanced Healing Arts2680 Road BRedwood Valley, CA 95470
Milan Institute3356 South FairwayVisalia, CA 93277
Mueller College123 Camino de la Reina #100San Diego, CA 92108
National Holistic Institute3031 Tisch Way, #1 Plaza SouthSan Jose, CA 95128
National Holistic Institute1347 Redwood WayPetaluma, CA 94954
National Holistic Institute1665 Market St.San Francisco, Ca 94103
Napa Valley School of Massage1131 Trancas St.Napa, CA 94558
North-West College2101 West Garvey Ave. NorthWest Covina, CA 91790
North-West College530 East Union St.Pasadena, CA 91101
Ojai School of Massage619 West El Roblar Dr.Ojai, CA 93023
One Thousand Cranes Massage Therapy4540 Kearny Villa Rd #102. #130San Diego, CA 92123
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine7445 Mission Valley Rd. #105San Diego, CA 92108
Paris Beauty College1655 Willow Pass Rd.Concord, CA 94520
Rosen Method825 Bancroft WayBerkeley, CA 94710
San Francisco School of Massage1325 Chestnut St.San Francisco, CA 94123
Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute516 N. Quarantina St.Santa Barbara, CA 93103
School of Healing Arts1001 Garnet Ave. #200San Diego, CA 92109
School of Holistic Touch3700 Inland Empire Blvd. #125Ontario, CA 91764
School of Shiatsu & MassageHarbin Hot Springs PO Box 889 Middletown, CA 95461
Somatherapy Institute School of Massage70-225 Hwy 111, Suite B&CRancho Mirage, CA 92270
South Bay Massage College120-B South Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Southern California Health Institute18040 Sherman Way #400Reseda, CA 91335
The Breema Center6076 Claremont Ave.Oakland, CA 94618
University of East-West Medicine970 West El Camino RealSunnyvale, CA 94087
World School401 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.

Criminal record

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.

Other Info

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:
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Los Angeles$57,640
San Diego$55,052
San Jose$64,260
San Francisco$64,158
Long Beach$57,092

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.

USA Massage Therapy by State

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