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 from my 10-hour Florida laws and rules course students. 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 routes you should be aware of when applying for your Florida License. Before you begin, you should determine which route applies to you.
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 (MBLEx, NCETMB, NCETM, NESL, or New York State),
- AND have a current massage license in another state
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 (MBLEx, NCETMB, NCETM, NESL, or New York State), or
- Do not currently hold a valid massage license in another state.
I was Grandfathered, grandmothered, into licensure in my state. I never took the MBLEx, NCETMB, NCETM, NESL, or New York State exam.
My state does not require the MBLEx, NCETMB, NCETM, NESL, or New York State to get a massage license.
You are most likely not going to like this answer. Yes, completion of the MBLEx, NCETMB, NCETM, NESL, or New York State 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, but you can do this. I know this because I see people pass their exam using Massage Exam Academy’s MBLEx study guide and practice questions.
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, NESL, or New York State exam you will need to complete that requirement along with the three required continuing education courses.
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.
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. Now I 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 the laws and 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 because of those decisions.
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.
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 transfer those hours to another program and complete their 500-hour program. The five or ten plus years you may have under your belt practicing in another state or years of continuing education courses do not count towards obtaining your Florida license.
Contact schools in your area about transferring or 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.
I have 500+ hours and took the NACCOM exam, or some other State exam Florida does not accept.
Florida accepts the MBLEx, NCETMB, NCETM, and NESL exams. Personally, I have not seen any leeway in this situation, except when the board moved to accept the New York State exam.
Contact the Florida Board of Massage about your previous exam. It is a long shot, but they may recommend you 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.
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.
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.
These score reports need to be sent directly to the Board of Massage in Florida.
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. You should get started with your 10-hour laws and rules course.
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 with your background check or you have an international 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 of 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. Wherever that transcript is, I hope it is having a good time.
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.
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, 2019).
Learn more about First time Florida license renewal here.
Grace Period: Massage therapists licensed between June – August of the renewal year (2019) fall into a grace period that allows them to wait until the next renewal period (2021) to renew their license for the first time.
These therapists will need to complete 24 CE Hours for their 2021 license renewal.
My massage school closed. Now what?
If you held a license in another state, often your state verification will have enough information for the Board to make the determination that you meet the minimum educational requirement. If not, here are some tips I have for finding massage transcripts for closed schools.
I also have a cosmetology, esthetician, or nail tech license I would like to transfer to Florida. How do I do that?
Cosmetologists, as well as facial and nail specialists, are licensed under a different Board and Department in Florida. If you need the 4 hour HIV/AIDS course to transfer your cosmetologist, esthetician, or nail tech license to Florida, visit FloridaCosmetologist.com for information on completing the required course and license/registration requirements.
What is the Florida Board of Massage Contact Information?
Department of Health
Board of Massage Therapy
4052 Bald Cypress Way
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
It takes a couple of 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 me by email email@example.com or by phone: (319) 560-4143.