How and Why You Should Get Your Massage Therapy License

6 min read • 5 May 2020

Calling all unlicensed massage therapists! Your call to action has finally arrived – in this article we’re going full shiatsu on why it’s critically important to get your massage therapy license if you want to compete in today’s saturated market of 385,000 massage schools and students.

Becoming licensed takes time and effort, so ideally you want to be certain you’re allocating your time and resources to get the best bang for your buck in terms of investing in your massage therapy business and yourself as a business owner.

We’ll discuss what to focus on, provide resources for training and certification, as well as additional resources for your perusing pleasure.

We’ll also cover the basics of why this is important to begin with. After all, if you’re going to invest time and energy in upgrading your business to the next level, it’s important that you’re not running East looking for a sunset!

This article will be your north star in terms of guiding you to licensed salvation.

We’re going to get deep in with our elbows and really unravel this knot of confusion that stresses most unlicensed massage therapists out – getting licensed – how and why?

Self help gurus advocate that the how always follows the why, so let’s take a page out of their personal development book and follow that same rhythm.

PART 1: WHY YOU SHOULD GET YOUR MASSAGE THERAPY LICENSE

According to an IBIS report from 2017, massage therapy is a $16B market.

One of the best ways that you can differentiate yourself from the competition (of which there is plenty) is to become a licensed massage therapist.

The benefits of this are numerous and self-evident, but here they are regardless:

  • Become a Trusted Pro
  • Grow Your Client Base
  • Take Advantage of Special Business Opportunities

In our usual fashion, we’ll be tackling these one by one. Let’s start off with the trust aspect.

1) BECOME A TRUSTED PRO

If someone wanted to touch your body (roughly), wouldn’t you feel more comfortable knowing that they’ve been trained and certified to perform those actions?

That’s exactly how your clients feel.

You may be acutely aware of all pressure points, danger zones, and warm-up routines that constitute a consistently invigorating massage experience for your clients. (By the way, all puns intended!)

But they don’t know that!

So how are you going to communicate this to them? Just tell them?

You’d be falling into the all-too-common trap of the Self-Serving Bias (also known as the Self Preservation bias – basically it means that folks are more likely to say things that would be beneficial to enhance their own self image).

Instead of being the dime-store huckster who’s constantly selling themselves to everyone, why not prove your worth by putting in the time and effort to earn a certificate which binds a trusted seal of approval to your name and your brand.

2) GROW YOUR CLIENT BASE

We already mentioned that you’d be winning over more clients and leading with a trust symbol that captures their attention and makes them more comfortable with booking a deep tissue with you.

Ideally, you could accomplish this by displaying your license visibly in your place of business and also in your social media. Facebook and Instagram are great platforms to post a picture of yourself holding your license!

Make sure to also include the logo of the accredited state institution from which you hold a license on your website. You could even put it on your PocketSuite booking form to increase trust when folks book you online.

All of these tips will help clients choose you over the competition, which ensures the long term health of your massage therapy business!

3) BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

There are tertiary benefits to becoming licensed. Not only do you get more opportunities to work with trusted lenders as well as payment processors (that want to see a massage therapist with a license since it mitigates their risk and increases your lifetime value. If you are licensed, you are likely to have less unsatisfied clients who request refunds or dispute their credit card payments to you.)

You’re missing out on some serious networking opportunities by not being part of professional massage therapy organizations as well! A lot of these organizations will only include licensed massage therapists as members. It makes their network appear to be more exclusive and, thus, more valuable to those who want to do business with massage therapists from large brands to consumers looking to book sessions.

Further, these organizations really teach you how to turn your massage therapy business into a full-fledged career. Don’t miss out on this!

One last tip for you on this: if you are planning on hiring other massage therapists, make sure they’re licensed as well to mitigate your own risk.

Okay, now that we’ve chopped and kneaded this issue into submission, let’s move on to the brass tacks of it all. Namely, how to actually get your massage therapy license.

PART 2: HOW TO GET YOUR MASSAGE THERAPY LICENSE

According to AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) there currently exist in excess of  265+ accredited massage therapy institutions in the United States alone.

Here is an abbreviated 3 step process for getting your massage therapy license that is recommended by the AMTA itself:

  1. Complete a training program at a massage therapy school that will qualify you to practice in your location.
  2. Upon graduation, meet the requirements of your state or municipality (such as obtaining a license or other credential, if you practice in an area where massage therapy is regulated). This will most likely require passing the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx).
  3. Find a school or program near you: see a listing of AMTA School members.

You can also find a list of schools by state here.

In simpler terms, you need to go through a training program and then pass the MBLEx!

Click the link above to find an accredited school to get your training program under your belt.

Then, once you’ve graduated from training, go to the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMFB) and apply to take the MBLEx.

There is a varied assortment of practice tests available online that you can take before putting up the cash to take the actual MBLEx.

Make sure you practice at least once before diving into the exam as it is known to be challenging!

For example, here’s one of the test prep questions:

Quite a doozy, no doubt – study up!

Make sure you’re prepared. I have faith in you! Thousands of massage therapy pros are killing it on PocketSuite and so can you. You can easily make a $100,000+ a year in income as a licensed massage therapist.

Dealing with messaging, payments, recurring appointments, scheduling, and administrative hassles can become quite a burden as you grow your massage therapy business.

For this reason, I would recommend saving yourself some time and headaches and finding a solution that can take the work out of your massage practice, and enable you to focus on what you’re best at.

Speaking of, once you’re licensed, you should give PocketSuite a shot if you need an app that can run your entire front-end business for you, so you can focus on healing, de-stressing your clients, and running your massage therapy business.

You’ll finally be at peace and can breathe a sigh of relief as your business runs on auto-pilot. Imagine that! Now go make it a reality. You’ve got nothing, but glory ahead. 🙂

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

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