Licensing, "the strictest form of professional regulation", is the required credential for anyone to practice massage therapy legally (American Massage Therapy Association[AMTA], n.d.). However, regulations and licensing policies are different between states, cities, and even local governments (AMTA, n.d.). Currently 44 states and the District of Columbia regulate massage therapy or provide voluntary state certification (AMTA, n.d.).
In states that regulate massage therapy, massage therapists are obligatory to meet the requirements by the state's board of massage therapy, which mostly include minimum hours of initial education and training (see the section of "Complete required hours of education and training by massage therapy regulation" in Massage School Education & Training page) and passing a exam (see the section of "Help pass different certification exams" in Massage School Education & Training page) (AMTA, n.d.).
In states that have not regulated massage therapy, local governments may take the responsibility to stipulate regulations (AMTA, n.d.).
Take a Look at Florida
Regulatory Authority in Florida: Florida Board of Massage Therapy in Florida Department of Health, Medical Quality Assurance
Education requirements: 500 hours from Board approved schools
Massage Therapist Licensure Fees: $155.00
Exams (The board accepts the following exams):
- The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork examination (NCBTMB)
- The National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM)
- National Exam for State Licensure (NESL) administered by NCBTMB
- The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)