As of July 1st, 2014, all newly licensed massage therapists and establishment owners will be required to submit digital fingerprints before being issued a license.
Currently Licensed Massage Therapists and Massage Establishment owners should have received a notice in the mail notifying them about the requirements to have fingerprints submitted by January 31st, 2015.
Here is what you need to do to comply with this new law whether you are applying for a license, or are currently licensed in Florida:
The first thing you need to do is find a Board-Approved LiveScan Provider.
LiveScan is an ink-less digital fingerprint used throughout the country by law enforcement, state agencies, and employers. You can use any Board-Approved Livescan service provider to submit fingerprints. Your Livescan provider will electronically send your fingerprints to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
Live Out of State?
Find a Florida Board of Massage Livescan Service Provider. The provider MUST be approved by the Florida Board of Massage. I have referred many out of state applicants to Fieldprint. They have locations in all 50 states and are Board-Approved.
How Much Does it Cost?
This varies by location. Mine was $87.
What Information Do I Need to Bring?
This also varies by location.
More information about what applicants will need to provide can be found on the Board FAQ page.
Along with the information you need to provide about yourself, you will also need the Originating Agency Identification (ORI) number. This number is quite important. Make sure you have it correct on your form.
To obtain the correct ORI number, the Board FAQ says: “If you apply online, there is a form that you can print out that will have your ORI number pre-populated. In the paper application, you can locate your ORI number in the instructions.”
If you got one in the mail, it will look like this:
After the FLDE receives the fingerprints, they will go through a background screening “clearinghouse.”
What is the purpose of this new requirement?
Many other MQA licensed health care provider boards in Florida have required fingerprints for some time (Doctors, Nurses, Chiropractors, Dentists). The Massage Practice Act in Florida was not established to protect massage therapists, it is designed to protect the public.
This is not all about prostitution, but more about sex-related crimes and human trafficking.
A Florida news source found there were five registered sex offenders with massage licenses in Florida, three had active licenses. Fingerprints could have prevented these people from obtaining or keeping their massage licenses active.
Also, Florida is known to have a problem with human trafficking. We all know about those massage businesses that are holding human trafficking victims. If this fingerprinting law helps one person get out of the miserable life human trafficking creates or protects one person from a sex-related crime, it is worth it in my opinion.
Questions or Comments?
Any thoughts about this new requirement?
Any places you recommend for fingerprinting?
As always, if you have any questions about this new law, getting your Florida massage license, or the 2015 renewal, let me know in the comments below.
I will be adding a few more Fingerprinting FAQ below:
Does an LMT (MA license) that is also an establishment owner (MM license) need to be fingerprinted twice?
No. Just one time.
Here is what that form looks like:
Make sure you mail this form to the Board so they can retrieve your prints.
How often do we need to be fingerprinted?
I emailed the Board office about this one. I had a fingerprinting company tell me that most boards under the MQA require people to be fingerprinted every five years. This is not the case with massage therapists. But keep reading, because there is a fee to keep your fingerprints.
The response from the Massage Board Office in 2014:
“If you include a photo with your livescan fingerprints then it will stay in our database, however if there is no photo included then it will need to be repeated every two years.”
Make sure you have a picture taken at your fingerprinting appointment (which I believe is a requirement for Board-Approved providers). This picture does not replace the requirement for you to post a 2×2 photo with your massage license.
What this response did not tell me about was the FINGERPAINTING RETAINMENT FEE.
I assume this is because it was something they did not know at the time.
There IS a fee for retaining fingerprints for massage therapists, and other licensed professions under the MQA. The cost of this is $42. If you do not pay this fee, you will need to be fingerprinted AGAIN. There should be a notice sent to you to let you know when you need to pay this fee.
This retainment fee will need to be paid every five years.
Want to check and see if the Board has received your prints so you can practice legally after 1/31/2015?
Go to this page. There link on top of the page that says “Massage Therapist Fingerprint Results”. Open the file that is downloaded. If your name is on this list the board has your prints. If you have an establishment license too, you will need to check the other link too. They are updating this file regularly. If you are not on the list now, and just got fingerprinting, download the list in a day or two to see the updated lists.
The Complete 2019 Florida Renewal Guide
If you would like further information on renewing your Florida massage license, this guide walks you step-by-step through the process of completing your renewal requirements and filing your renewal form. Just fill out the form below to get your free copy.
Photo Credit: Alan Levine (Adapted)