I have written lots and lots of articles on massage therapy, the MBLEx, and license reciprocity. I have had dozens of questions about one particular state, Texas, and the MBLEx.
If you are moving to Texas, just finished school in Texas, or were previously licensed in Texas, and want to know if you need to take the MBLEx to get licensed in Texas, this article is for you. Even if you are leaving Texas and have some questions about how another state will view your Texas education or previous exam, I will address that too.
Why is Texas so different from every other state?
Years ago, a growing number of states were setting a minimum number of hours for massage therapy licenses. A majority of the states started with 500 hours. Texas did not. They set their minimum education at 300 hours.
At the same time, most other states adopted the NCETMB (which is no longer given) as their entry-level licensing exam. Texas did not. They had their own entry-level state licensing exam.
Why this is a problem
Many people that went to massage school in Texas years ago do not have enough education hours to meet the minimum hour requirements in many other states. Not only that, most do not have an exam that is not acceptable to many states boards.
And massage therapists are known for taking breaks from the profession, so those returning to massage after a long hiatus are often left with lots of questions when looking into returning to the field.
What is the current hours requirement for a Texas massage license?
Currently, the minimum number of hours for a Texas massage license is 500 hours. Again, this was raised from 300 hours around 2007.
I never got my Texas license, or stepped away from massage therapy for a few years. Now I am wanting to get licensed in Texas, do they still just accept 300 hours?
From the Board/Advisory Council’s website:
Anyone who enrolled in massage school for the first time on or after September 1, 2007 must meet the current 500 hour minimum requirement.https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/mas/masfaq.htm
So, it seems that many of you with 300 hours of education before that date can still get licensed. However, you likely will have some other requirements to complete. If this describes your situation, I would check out this page and contact the board office to confirm for more information.
If I completed 300 hours and passed the Texas exam years ago. I want to get licensed again. Will they accept that exam, or do I need to take the MBLEx?
I do not see anything about the old Texas exam and whether they accept it or not. You will need to contact the board office to see if this exam is still accepted. I have also emailed them and will post their response.
I was previously licensed in Texas, do I need to take the MBLEx again?
Your MBLEx or NCETMB exam do scores do not expire. But, Texas has put in some wording about “has taken and passed an acceptable exam within the last two years,`” that most other states do not have in their massage rules.
Please check out this page for guidance.
I am moving to Texas, I took a different state ot national massage exam for my state – will they accept it?
Actually, Texas has an excellent online tool (better than any other massage state board) to help you see what you may need to do if you are moving to Texas and seeking a massage license. to give you some insight into what they may expect from you if you are moving there. You can just choose your state from the dropdown menu and it will provide you with some information about how your state stacks up. The link for that tool is below.
This page does say,
If the state where your license was issued uses a different licensing examination, please include as much information about the exam as you can, including your scores, and the dates that you took the exam. Your credentials will be evaluated on an individual basis.
It also says…
The current Board certification examination (the BCETMB exam) from the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), is not an acceptable licensing examination.https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/mas/masstate.htm
Now, the BCETMB is not the same as the exam given by the NCBTMB years ago. If you took the NCETM, NCETMB, or NESL, I suspect those would still be acceptable to use for an entry-level exam.
There is not a list of state exams that Texas says it will or will not accept. If the state where your license was issued uses a different massage licensing examination, it states that you need to include as much information about the exam as you can, including your scores, and the dates that you took the exam. Your credentials will be evaluated on an individual basis.
If you never took a licensing exam…
If you live in an unregulated state, such as Minnesota, I would probably plan on taking the MBLEx if you have not taken another examination. Same with other unregulated states, like Kansas, California, or Vermont.
If your state did not previously require an exam for you to get licensed years ago (common examples: New Jersey, Indiana, or Illinois), you also likely will probably need to take an examination such as the MBLEx.
Do I need to take a Jurisprudence exam?
If you are just finishing school, moving to Texas, or returning to the field, you will still need to take a Jurisprudence exam. This exam can be done online, any time. Click here to learn about the Texas massage jurisprudence examination.
Do I need to take a Human Trafficking course to get licensed as a massage therapist in Texas?
The human trafficking course requirement is for massage license renewals only. Here is a link to our HHS-approved human trafficking course for TDLR license renewals.
I am leaving Texas. Will my new state require that I complete 500 hours, make up the 200 hours, or take a different examination?
Maybe. Each state is different. Contact the state board where you plan to move and ask about your situation. Chances are you are not the first Texas transfer they have encountered. I have helped many people move/transfer to Florida, and everyone I know that went 300 hours, needed to return to school to get 500 hours.
Another common question is if you can use your Texas massage continuing education to count toward your educational hour deficit. The answer for most boards is usually “no”, but you can always ask the board office in the state where you plan to move to.
The same goes for the Texas examination. They may accept it, they may not. It never hurts to ask. Most people who have not taken the NCETMB or MBLEx, will need to complete one of those exams (Hawaii and New York still have their own state exams).
Ready to Study for the MBLEx?
If you find yourself in the position where you need to take the MBLEx, fear not! You can do this! I have seen people pass the exam years after massage training, after multiple failed attempts, and with exam anxiety issues.
There is nothing special, or set apart, about taking the MBLEx for Texas. The MBLEx is the MBLEx, whether you take it in Texas or California.
The questions are not the same, but the material that you are tested over is not. There will not be any questions from the Texas jurisprudence test or specific questions on Texas massage laws or rules on the MBLEx.
This is the MBLEx study guide and practice exam website I recommend and offer to anyone needing to take the MBLEx. It can be used by those just out of school, or those taking the exam years after school.