Although not required in every jurisdiction, it is not unusual for local law to require a massage therapist to be certified before he or she can work in the area. Since the criteria for obtaining certification will vary somewhat from one locality to another, it is somewhat difficult to identify a specific process that will apply in each situation. However, there are several common points that will apply in almost every instance where massage therapist certification is required by the local municipality.
Many certification processes require that the applicant receive full massage therapist training from a recognized school or program. In some cases, the massage therapist school must be one that is included on a list supplied by the local certification board. At other times, any school that is accredited through a national society will suffice. Before applying for the massage therapist certification, it is important to determine if your training program is recognized. If not, you may need to work through a program that is recognized in order to continue with the application process.
It is not unusual for some jurisdictions to require an exam before granting massage therapist certification to any applicant. This is particularly true when the massage therapy courses completed by the applicant were from a school outside the local area. For this reason, it is a good idea to make sure you are up to date on your techniques, basic anatomy, and other information that is essential to function as a competent massage therapist.
If you have not gone through a formal training program, it is very important that you do so. Many jurisdictions have minimum requirements that your official training must include. For example, many states in the USA require that the applicant have at least five hundred in class hours of training before he or she is eligible for certification. Other states may require additional hours in the form of on the job training under a licensed therapist. In any event, going through a formal program will enhance your skills and also give you more credibility with the licensing board.
Keep in mind that many accredited massage therapist programs can help graduates obtain massage therapist certification. Some schools actually initiate the licensing process on behalf of the student at his or her request and assist the student in preparing for any licensing exams that may be required. Check with your advisor about obtaining help in becoming a certified massage therapist. There is a good chance the school is well versed in the certification process and can provide invaluable information that will help you secure your massage therapist certification on the first attempt.