Getting Your Florida Massage License: FAQ

The process of attaining a Florida massage license can be confusing, and you may not know where to begin. I know this firsthand, having transferred my own license through the Florida Endorsement process. I also receive emails and calls every week from people asking about their own unique situation.

I have compiled a list of the most common questions I receive. Read below to see if any of the following scenarios are similar to yours, or if I can answer some of the most frequent questions about the process for you.

If you have a question not answered, please ask!

 

What do I need to do to get my Florida massage license?

There are two processes you should be aware of when applying for your Florida License.

License by Endorsement:

This is for massage professionals who have:

  • 500 hours of massage training from a school approved in their state
  • Have passed a Florida Board-approved exam (NCETMB, NCETM, NESL, or MBLEx),
  • Have a current massage license in another state

I have created a printable checklist that you may use as a guide to complete the License by Endorsement process.

License by Examination:

This is basically massage professionals that do not meet the License by Endorsement criteria in one way or another.

  • You qualify for this process if you have 500 hours of massage training, however:
  • Have not passed a Florida Board-approved exam (NCETMB, NCETM, NESL, or MBLEx), or
  • Do not currently hold a valid massage license in another state.

I have created a printable checklist that you may use as a guide to complete the License by Examination process.

 

I was Grandfathered, grandmothered, in to licensure in my state. I never took the NCETMB, NCETM, NESL, or MBLEx.

Or

My state does not require the MBLEx or NCETMB, NESL to get a massage license.

You are mostly likely not going to like this answer. Yes, completion of the NCETMB, NCETM, NESL, or MBLEx is mandatory for licensure in Florida. I am sure you think you have forgotten everything you learned in school, but you haven’t. No one likes exams. You can do this.

Next Step:

Please see License by Examination checklist.

 

I did all the hard work and went to massage school years ago, but never actually got my Florida massage license.

Luckily, the hard work is done. If you did not take the NCETM, NCETMB, MBLEx, or NESL, you will need to complete that requirement along with the three required continuing education courses.

Next Step:

Please see License by Examination checklist.

 

I had a Florida massage license. Now I don’t, and I want one again.

There really is not a clear cut answer for this question. It really depends on how long you have been without your license.

Florida does allow you to go to inactive status. Then when you are ready to reactivate, you need to pay your back fees and show completion of all the continuing education you normally would have needed.

This is different than the endorsement process.

If you want to reinstate your license (if you did not apply for inactive status) see: 64B7-28.0042 Requirements for Reactivation of an Inactive License.

I would be prepared to appear before the board of massage to explain that you did not just let you license go to get out of paying for the CE requirements while on inactive status.

If it has been a while since you held a Florida license, then the process of reactivating a license is much like an initial application to the State.

Next Step:

See 64B7-28.0042 Requirements for Reactivation of an Inactive License.

Contact the Florida Board of Massage for more details: MQA_MassageTherapy@doh.state.fl.us

 

I was previously licensed in Florida, but I let my license become null and void. I now am required to take courses and exams that I did not have to take the first time. Why?

When we let a license lapse, we take the chance that rules change. These rules may include a change in approved examinations or required courses. So, in order to get our license back, we sometimes have to take exams or courses.

The really hard work of going to school is behind you; do not let a few courses or one exam keep you from getting your license back.

Next Step:

Complete the necessary requirements to get your license back.

 

I do not have 500 hours of massage training.

Florida is very stringent about the 500 hour requirement. 500 hours means 500 hours.

An example, if you had 350 hours of massage training, you will need to make up the 150 hours in classroom time. The five or ten plus years you may have under your belt practicing in another state does not count towards obtaining your Florida license.

The Florida Board can give you a list of schools to contact about making up your remaining hours. You will also need to take the MBLEx, NCETMB, or NESL exam and complete the other continuing education requirements before you get your Florida license.

Next Step:

Contact the Board of Massage: MQA_MassageTherapy@doh.state.fl.us. They can give a list of schools to contact about making up your remaining hours.

Proceed as a License by Examination Candidate.

 

I have 500+ hours and took the NACCOM exam, or some other State exam Florida does not accept.

Florida really prefers the MBLEx, NCETMB, NCETM, and NESL exams. I personally have not seen any leeway in this situation.

I would contact the Florida Board of Massage about your previous exam. It is a long shot, but they may bring your case before the Board of Massage for review. Who knows? I cannot say for sure what they would do, unfortunately.

If you need to take an exam, you will be a license by examination candidate.

Next Step:

Contact Board of Massage about the exam you have taken. If they do not accept your exam, see License by Examination Checklist.

 

Can I have more than one massage therapy license?

Luckily massage licenses are not like citizenship; you do not have to relinquish one for another. You can hold a license in all fifty states if you want to. Getting a license in Florida does not negate the current massage license you hold.

If you keep both licenses current, you will just be dually licensed. I hold both Iowa and Florida massage licenses. I just follow the laws in the state that I am practicing.

Next Step:

If you have 500 hours and passed a board-approved exam, see License by Endorsement checklist. If not, see License by Examination checklist.

 

I took the NCETMB or NCETM, but am not “nationally certified” anymore. Do I have to take the exam again?

It does not matter that your NCTMB credential has expired; it just matters that you took and passed the NCETMB exam at some point. There is no need to redo the exam.

Each checklist has a link for requesting your old scores. These score reports need to be sent directly to the Board of Massage in Florida.

Next Step:

If you have a current massage license, see the License by Endorsement checklist. If not, see License by Examination checklist.

 

I have 500 hours of training from a school approved in my state, have passed a Florida Board-approved exam (NCETMB, NCETM, NESL, or MBLEx), and have a current massage license in another state? What is next?

Good! This is a best case scenario. You are a license by endorsement candidate.

Next Step:

See the License by Endorsement checklist.

 

How often does the Board of Massage approve licenses?

When you apply to the Board for a license, they open a file for you. That file stays open for one year.

Most times when all of your information is received by the Board and they have check marked (CE courses, application, transcript, exam score, and previous license info), they automatically kick out your license to the address you provided them within a few days.

Sometimes, if something does not look quite right (usually in a school transcript), the Board of Massage will need to review your information. In that case, you will need to wait until the next board meeting to have the Board review your application and information.

 

Should I start this process before I move?

I highly suggest you start the process before you move. This will help minimize the gaps in income (so you can start working sooner) when you do move. It is the same cost to apply for a license now as it will be anytime before the next August 31st every odd year renewal deadline.

I would suggest starting the process a few months before you plan to move.

One, because it takes time to get all of your information to the Florida board (transcripts, test scores, proof of current license, course transcripts).

Second, if you are going to open a business where your clients come to you, you will most likely need to get a massage establishment license and inspection. This takes a couple weeks to complete.

I was able to get my license by endorsement in about six weeks. That included sending a second school transcript because my first one never arrived at the Board office.

Hint: Things “getting lost in the mail” is not an uncommon problem.

It is great you are planning ahead, many do not. Those people are in Florida unable to work as a massage therapist as they wait for their massage/establishment licenses.

Next Step:

Determine if you are a license by examination or endorsement candidate and print off the appropriate list. Start marking off the list of things to do.

 

I see that Florida massage licenses expire August 31st every odd year. When is the best time to apply for a license?

Every massage therapist needs 24 hours of CE’s at the biennial renewal, except new licensees or transfer licensees. New Florida massage therapists are required to complete one (1) CE Hour for every month or partial month from their date of licensure until the renewal date (August 31st, 2013).

Learn more about First time Florida license renewal here.

Grace Period: Massage therapists licensed between April – August of this year (2013) fall into a grace period that allows them to wait until the next renewal period (2015) to renew their license for the first time.

These therapists will need to complete 24 CE Hours for their 2015 license renewal.

Next Step:

Determine if you are a license by examination or endorsement candidate and print off the appropriate list. Start marking off the list of things to complete.

 

My massage school closed. Now what?

Hopefully your school furnished you with a few transcripts upon closing or transferred your records to a new school to keep for you.

Sometimes, the Florida Board will request that a current Florida Board-Approved Massage School look over your transcript to verify that you have met the required hours in each subject area.

Next Step:

Try your best to track down one of your transcripts. If you are not able to, contact the Florida Board of Massage to see what they suggest.

Determine if you are a license by examination or endorsement candidate and print off the appropriate list. Start marking off the list of things to complete.

 

What is the Florida State of Massage Contact Information?

MAILING ADDRESS:
Department of Health
Board of Massage Therapy
4052 Bald Cypress Way
Bin C-06
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3257

For Applications and Fees (Regular Mail):
P.O. Box 6330
Tallahassee, Florida 32314-6330
PHONE: (850) 245-4161
FAX: (850) 921-6184

Email: MQA_MassageTherapy@doh.state.fl.us
It takes a couple days for a response, but I have received great communication from the Florida Board of Massage through email.

 

Have other questions or a unique situation not listed?

Ask a question in the comments section below! I’d be happy to help you.

If you would prefer a private inquiry, you may contact my by email ivy@advancedmassagetechniques.com or by phone: (877) 515-9971.

 

About Ivy

Thank you for reading this post! In addition to writing here at Advanced Massage Techniques, I write specifically about barefoot massage at Ashiatsu.net, and write about more general massage topics at Massage & Bloggywork.

  

Connect with me: +Ivy Hultquist, Twitter, or Facebook

Comments

  1. Sarah Slobodnik says:

    Ivy,
    Thank you for your website. This has been so helpfull. I am trying to get my licence by endorsment in florida. I have graduated from a school with more than 500 hours training but some of the hours are in shiatsu and other bodywork. would that still count to the 500 hours in florida?
    Sarah

    • Sarah,
      Happy to hear that the site is useful. Typically, Florida accepts most schools that are approved in other jurisdictions. I would not think that you should have a problem.
      Training must consist of 500 hours – Here is the breakdown (as you can see it is pretty generic)-
      150-hour anatomy and physiology
      225-hour massage techniques, theory, practicum and history
      97 Hours of Allied Modalities (Includes Prevention of Medical Errors in Florida)
      15 hours on hydrotherapy (or colonic irrigation)

      These are included in most Florida Programs, and are the courses endorsement candidates need to complete when they move.
      10 hours of training on Florida’s massage therapy laws,
      3 hours on HIV and AIDS and
      2 hours on preventing medical errors.

      Here is the endorsement package from our site.

      Hope this helps.

  2. Alice Minges says:

    Hello Ivy,
    I was wondering if the CE hours that I obtained in 2012 while holding an Ohio Massage License could be used towards my renewal of my florida massage license that I obtained in december of 2012.. In other words, when i took the course of Ashi thai training I receivd CE hours but at the time I did not have a florida License, only an Ohio License.
    Can these CE hours go towards my first renewal of my Florida License in August 2013?
    Thanks,
    Alice

    • Hi Alice,

      Great question. Since those hours were in the biennial period, you would think that they count. But, I believe I have been told that you need to have your license at the time. That is the reason your 10 hour law, 3 hour HIV, etc courses do not count. You did not have a FL license number yet.

      The law states -Licensees must complete one (1) hour of CE for each month or partial month that has elapsed since the issuance of the license for which renewal is sought, up to a maximum of 24 hours for the renewal period.

      I will message the BOM to make sure. You could always call/email them too.

      Also, the CE provider would need to be a FL approved provider too for the hours to count. Since you did not have a FL license number to give them, they never would have entered credits into CE Broker.

      Take Care!

  3. I got my license in 2001 in NC I do not remember the name of the exam. I know the mblex wasn’t around would it have been the ncetmb?

  4. Hi, I had a florida Massage and colon license but I let it go null and void in 2001. Can I reinstate my license. I have searched DOH and Im still unclear as to being able to reinstate. If I can what are the steps I need to take? Thank you

  5. Hi, I had a florida Massage and colon license but I let it go null and void in 2001. Can I reinstate my license. I have searched DOH and Im still unclear as to being able to reinstate. If I can what are the steps I need to take? Thank you very much

    • The reason they do not have anything up on the site is because it is different for each person that reinstates – so they want you to contact them first. They will tell you what you need to do to get your license back. You will likely just have to reapply and may need the 3 courses new licensees need (I have that package here). Also, if you took the old FL exam, you may need to take either the MBLEx, NCETM, or NESL.

      Here is the email for the Board – mqa_massagetherapy@doh.state.fl.us

      Let me know what you find out.

  6. Ivy,

    I am a LMT from New Jersey. Our second home is on Fla. We are planning a permanent move soon. The school in NJ i went to was 600 hours. And I will be taking the MBLex in the next week. The question i have is that i noticed that course breakdown has 15 hours in hydrotheraphy or colonic. This is not something that we had in the school I attended. Is htis another course I will have to take before I can get a license in Florida ?

    • Hi Suzy. Good question. You never know whether the board will be happy about your 100 extra hours, or dwell on the 15 hours you are deficient in this area. I do not think it should be a big issue. Certainly one that you should be able to resolve without too much hassle. I would email the Board and ask. And best wishes on the MBLEx!!!!!

  7. Jacob Oxendine says:

    I went to Southeastern Institute in Charlotte, NC. It was 500 hours of education. I have taken my MBLEx and passed. Currently working as a therapist. Do you know if SEI is a accepted school for a Florida Massage Therapy License? I know Southeastern has a school somewhere in Florida. And A++ website. Very awesome.

  8. Hi my question is .. I graduated massage school, took and passed MBLEX in the state of NH. I have not yet applied for my license in NH. I am moving to Florida. So instead of paying twice, I would just like to get my Florida license. so Do I do endorsement or examination? I have already taken the required Fl classes.. Laws, HIV, and medical..

    Thanks Mary

    • Hi Mary,

      You would apply as an examination candidate since you do not have a current license.

      Best wishes,
      Ivy

  9. Hi Ivy
    I think I fall into the endorsment category. I hold my curren license in the state of Maryland. We had to pass the NCBTMB to get our license. In maryland you do not need to keep the National Certification updated. Just you license. Is that an exam that the Florida board will recognize as long as my license is in current standing?
    I will be taking your course if all my other requirements are satisfied! Thank you
    Nia

    • Hi Nia,

      You are correct. You are an endorsement candidate. Here is the endorsement checklist I made if you do not have it already. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Ivy

      • Hi Ivy
        Thanks for the quick response. One last question..I read that I would have to send my info in by Aug to qualify to re certify by 2015. Is that still the case if I certify now?
        Thank you
        Nia

  10. I have a DWI will that be a problem to apply for florida massage license?

  11. I just passed my FL exams! I wanted to know about massage Insurance. I was confused if that was someting all Fl therapists have to carry on their own or is it covered by the salon if we work at one? Also any suggestions for companies
    thank you

    • Yay!

      Most of the time you are responsible for having your own professional liability insurance. The salon *may* (rarely) reimburse you for the expense (more likely if you are an employee). If the salon holds the establishment license, they will likely pay for the property -slip/trip fall insurance.

      As far as professional liability insurance (AMTA, ABMP, and Massage Mag Insurance Plus), I like them all and have had them all. I currently have Massage Mag Insurance plus (affiliate link). I have been happy with with their coverage and service. If you go to AMTA conventions, I recommend them (because of the convention discount), and I always loved the service and people from ABMP.

  12. Laurie Brooks-Crim says:

    Hello Ivy,
    I am a LMT and a RNC-OB in Texas. I also hold a Florida RN license (Travel Nurse). We are required to have
    The HIV and Prevention of medical errors for our nursing license. Does this mean all I need to
    take is the Florida Massage Law CE course in order to apply for license by endorsement?
    I completed a 500 hr. Massage Therapy course and passed both MBLEX AND NESL.

  13. Sara Alexander says:

    Hi Ivy,

    I plan a move to Florida and have started looking into what the requirements are. I was grandfathered into my Massage License in PA back in 2011 I believe. Am I needing to take an actual exam for their approval? I have been in the field working since June 2006 and completeled 950 hours in school. I am slightly confused at what to do! I did look over your check lsts but I’m still not sure which one I should go with!

  14. Alice Minges says:

    Hi Amy,
    Ivy is the expert, but I do know that everything has to come from your State and the Massage board and your school…You can not just send copies. Ivy has a page on her site that gives you steps on how to transfer your National license through endorsement.
    Good Luck,
    Alice

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