Whether you are a massage therapist opening up your own business, or an entrepreneur opening up or expanding your own salon, gym or spa, you likely need a massage establishment license issued by TDLR (Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation).
Opening or expanding a business is incredibly exciting. However, I understand navigating the requirements is not. Massage establishment laws and rules are designed to protect the public in Texas from harm. And because that is who we are out there to serve, we need to be aware of and follow the rules that apply to our professional licenses.
I have helps thousands of people get massage and massage establishment licenses in Texas and Florida. There are a few questions that you probably have before you get started on this business adventure. Here are a few of the most common questions I receive about opening, running, or owning a massage establishment in Texas.
Before we begin, my goal is to direct you to some of the appropriate laws or rules that may apply to your question and hopefully answer your questions. But, let’s remember that I am a massage therapist. If you need further information or legal advice on your situation, contact the TDLR, massage board, or a lawyer.
Let’s get started!
What is a massage establishment in Texas?
I like to start at the very beginning. Before we talk about getting an establishment license, we should know exactly what one it.
SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS. 117.2. Definitions.
(20) Massage therapy establishment–A place of business that advertises or offers massage therapy or other massage services unless specifically exempted by the Act. The term includes a place of business that advertises or offers any service described by a derivation of the terms “massage therapy” or “other massage services” as defined by the Act.
How much is the application fee? How much is the renewal fee?
The TDLR website states “No massage establishment can commence operation until the application for licensure of the establishment has been approved.” So, before opening up your establishment, the first thing you need to do is apply for the license and pay the application fee.
Below is a link to the Texas Massage Establishment application form. There is a $200 application fee.
Massage Establishment License Application (PDF)
A $200 renewal fee is due every two years.
Do I need to be fingerprinted to get an establishment license?
Fingerprinting, which includes the background check, is a one-time requirement for a massage establishment license. Once you complete your fingerprints, the TDLR will be notified of any arrests or criminal convictions that occur after you are fingerprinted and licensed. If any arrests or criminal convictions show up during the background check or after you are licensed that are disqualifying in nature, a license may not be issued or can be revoked.
Is an inspection required for Texas massage establishments?
Yes. Unscheduled inspections are required at least once every two years for Texas massage establishments.
For detailed information on what will be inspected, please see the Massage Establishments Inspections page.
Do I have to be a massage therapist to own a massage establishment or apply for a massage establishment license?
Anyone can apply for a massage establishment license. A massage therapy license is not required to own a massage establishment or apply for a massage establishment license.
Where can I read the laws and rules for massage therapy and massage establishments?
Massage therapy laws are enacted by the Texas legislature. Rules are established by the Texas Massage Advisory Board.
Laws regarding massage therapy in Texas can be found here, Texas Massage Therapy Laws.
Specifically, laws pertaining to massage establishments in Texas can be found here, Texas Massage Establishment Laws.
Rules regarding massage therapy in Texas can be found here, Texas Massage Therapy Rules.
Specifically, rules pertaining to massage establishments in Texas can be found here, Texas Massage Establishment Rules.
Do I need to take a jurisprudence, or juris, test to get a massage establishment license?
A jurisprudence exam is no longer a requirement for Massage Therapy Establishments or Massage Therapy Continuing Education Providers.
If you are wondering what a Juris, or jurisprudence exam is, I can help you there. It is an exam over the State’s laws and rules pertaining to massage. And it is still a requirement for massage therapy licenses. You can take that exam here: Massage Juris Exam.
Can a person live in a licensed massage establishment?
Please see Texas Occupations Code – OCC § 455.202. Practice by Massage Establishment (b)(6)
Are there any exemptions for needing a massage establishment license?
Read here for the massage establishment exemptions: 117.84. Massage Establishment Exemptions. This is especially true if you work in a licensed Texas salon, chiropractic clinic, or use your own name in lieu of a business name.
I think there is human trafficking occuring in a massage establishment? Who do I contact?
You should always report possible human trafficking situations. Human trafficking is a horrific crime that involves exploiting a person for labor, services, or commercial sex. Unfortunately, massage therapy establishments (licensed or unlicensed) can be places where this crime occurs.
If you suspect human trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline:
- Call: 1-888-373-7888 (TTY: 711)
- Text: 233733
- Chat Online: Human Trafficking Hotline Web Chat
If you are in danger and need immediate help, call 911.
How do I check a massage therapist or massage establishment license?
You can check the status of a massage or massage establishment license here, verify a license.
Report unlicensed activity or violations of licensed persons to the TDLR complaint center.
Do massage establishments need continuing education?
No. Only massage therapists are required to complete continuing education. Texas massage therapists must complete 12 hours of continuing education from an approved provider each renewal period (every two years). There is also a new requirement for a human trafficking course approved by the HHS each renewal for all, including massage therapists. Links to our approved courses and packages can be found below. Advanced Massage Techniques is an approved provider for the Texas Massage Board.
12 CE hour package (includes human trafficking course approved by HSS)
1-hour human trafficking course for massage therapists (approved by HHS)
Are there any additional local regulations I should be aware of when opening my establishment?
It is likely. There are far too many for me to keep track of here. Contact your local, city, or county government to see if there are any additional occupational licenses, zoning requirements, or ordinances that apply to you or your business. Here is an example from the city of San Antonio.
Cheers! To new adventures! Whatever they may be…
If you are ready to get started with opening your own massage establishment, there are links in the article to the application, fingerprinting, and other requirements. I truly wish you the best. Having my own massage business is one of my greatest professional accomplishments (Way better than passing the MBLEx or NCETMB).
Do not see your question answered above? Drop it in the comments below and I will try to help or direct you to someone that can.
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