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

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.

Popular Programs

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 Name Address
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.

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:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Los Angeles $57,640
San Diego $55,052
San Jose $64,260
San Francisco $64,158
Fresno $51,306
Sacramento $55,346
Long Beach $57,092
Oakland $60,676
Bakersfield $54,992
Anaheim $57,220

Regional Salary in California

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Fresno, CA210$68,950$33.15$96,390$29,390
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA5,230$64,320$30.92$99,500$31,010
Modesto, CA40$61,380$29.51$92,840$29,760
Napa, CA150$50,440$24.25$83,560$30,410
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA1,160$58,550$28.15$97,670$29,320
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA760$62,920$30.25$102,060$30,720
Salinas, CA140$52,100$25.05$89,230$31,540
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA1,280$56,700$27.26$94,740$30,500
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA1,570$78,210$37.6$178,310$34,960
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA680$74,600$35.86$121,710$35,500
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA130$61,570$29.6$110,050$29,890
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA190$51,870$24.94$79,440$30,160
Santa Rosa, CA150$66,490$31.96$123,820$32,100
Stockton-Lodi, CA110$57,130$27.47$83,430$29,870
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA60$55,890$26.87$79,170$31,670
Visalia-Porterville, CA60$53,160$25.56$76,400$29,160
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Massage Therapists, OCC Code 31-9011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

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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