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Washington State Requirements for Renewing License for Massage Therapists and Continuing Education Hours

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Washington Massage Therapy Renewal Rules

Washington Massage Therapy Renewal Rules


A license is required to practice massage therapy in Washington State. The Washington State Department of Health regulates the licensing of massage therapists and massage schools. Obtaining a license requires completing a massage program and passing a state board examination. The exam is given by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) or the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). You will also be required to answer personal data questions, pass a background check, and complete HIV/Aids and first aid training.


 Massage Licensing Requirements and Application Process 

  • Complete a massage program approved by the Washington State Board of Massage, or
  • Hold an active massage license in a state with substantially equivalent licensing requirements as Washington State, or
  • Graduate from an out-of-state massage program approved by the requisite regulatory agency/agencies at the applicant’s time of graduation
  • Submit state license verification
  • Answer personal data questions about legal and professional history
  • Background checks
  • Complete HIV/AIDS training – four hours 
  • Successful completion NCBTMB or FSMTB examination
  • First aid and CPR cards or verification from an approved education program

Massage Therapist Education Requirements

As a prospective massage therapist you may attend and complete an approved massage program in Washington State.

The education and training in massage therapy will consist of a minimum of 500 hours. The program must be completed in no less than six months and must consist of the following:

  • 150 hours of anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology. A minimum of 40 hours of kinesiology is required.
  • 265 hours of massage theory and practice. A maximum of 50 of these hours may include time spent in a student clinic.
  • 50 hours of pathology. The pathology course of study must include indications and contraindications.
  • 55 hours of clinical/business practices. This course of study will include medical terminology, hygiene, record keeping, ethics, business management, state and local law, human behavior and client interaction.

There are two endorsement options for prospective massage therapist who have not completed a board-approved program. 

1. Out-of-State License Endorsement:

If you're a massage therapist who holds an active license in another state with substantially equivalent licensing requirements as Washington State you may use your education and training for licensure.  Your massage license must be in good standing as verified by the appropriate regulatory agency.

Substantial equivalency means a course of study at a massage school or massage program that requires a minimum of 500 hours approved by the equivalent licensing agency or agencies in the state in which it is located at the time of applicant's graduation. 

2. Education Endorsement:

If you have graduated from an out-of-state massage program not approved by the Washington State Board of Massage you may qualify for licensure by education endorsement.

The out-of-state massage program(s) was approved by the appropriate licensing and regulatory agency or agencies in those states at your time of graduation. If you aren't licensed in another state but have graduated from an out-of-state massage program you must still meet the requirement of successful completion of a board-approved program. The program must meet Washington’s minimum education and training requirements of 500 hours. You can do this by transferring your credits to a board-approved transfer program.


Massage Instructor (Teacher) Licensure and Education Requirements

The State of Washington does not have explicit requirements for massage school instructors within the state. Individual schools are required to submit the qualifications of its instructors (teachers) and a plan to ensure that they are qualified by training and experience to provide effective instruction to teach in the massage subject that they are teaching. 

Educational requirements for massage teachers are specific to each school and are based on the school's state approved plan. Most schools would require a minimum of 500 hours of classroom instructions for their licensed massage instructors, since this is the minimum requirement for a massage license in Washington State.

Massage Therapy Continuing Education

Washington State requires massage therapists to complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) every 2 years for license renewal. A minimum of 8 hours must be in direct supervised massage skills (techniques) training. A minimum of 4 hours must be in professional ethics, communication and Washington State massage laws and regulations; 2 of these 4 hours must include professional roles and boundaries. These 4 CE hours and the remaining 12 CE hours may be met through distance learning, home study programs, e-learning/online-learning, or audio/video broadcasting/streaming. These requirements are outlined in WAC 246-830-475. 

You may enroll in any of our massage courses to satisfy the remaining 12 CE hours

Jumozy Continuing Education is approved by the NCBTMB (Provider #452024-12). Our courses are valid for Washington State massage therapist CE requirements.

Continuing Education Requirements for Teachers

Continuing education requirements for massage instructors are unique to each school. Each school will probably expect their teachers to meet the state massage license continuing education requirements of 24 hours every 2 years, including a minimum of 8 hours in direct massage skills training, 4 hours of professional ethics, communication and Washington State massage laws and regulations; 2 of there 4 hours must include professional roles and boundaries.

These 4 CE hours and the remaining 12 CE hours may be completed through distance learning, home study programs, e-learning/online-learning, or audio/video broadcasting/streaming.

Renewal Time Period

Your massage license must be renewed every year. Licenses expire on the massage therapist’s birthday and may be renewed within 90 days prior to the expiration date. It's against the law to work without an active license.

Renewal notices are mailed six to eight weeks before your expiration date to allow enough time to process the renewal. Send payment immediately to ensure that your license will be delivered on or before your expiration date. You cannot practice on an expired license.

Late Renewal

The renewal notice is a courtesy reminder. You must renew your license on or before the date of expiration with or without a renewal notice. The expiration for all licenses is the massage therapist's birthday.  

Expired License Renewal

Your license is considered expired if the state does not receive your renewal application prior to expiration of the license.  Practicing massage with an expired license is against the law in Washington State.

If your massage license has expired, you will have fill out a reactivation application and pay late penalty fees:

  • Mail your Massage Practitioner Expired Credential Activation Application
  • Pay Late Penalty Fee ($50)
  • Pay Current Renewal Fee ($106)
  • Pay Expired Credential Reissuance Fee ($50)

Requesting an Extension of Time to Complete Continuing Education

Requesting an extension or a waiver to complete your CE hours before your expiration date is a very difficult situation to be in. Extensions may be granted for emergency situations, such as illness or other extenuating circumstances (WAC 246-12-210).  If you have exhausted all options for fulfilling your continuing education requirement and are thinking about requesting an extension, you will need to be aware of the following:

Your extension requests may take 6 weeks or longer to answer.

If your license is set to expire before your request can be considered, your license will change to an expired status. You cannot practice on an expired license. 

Average extension of time granted by the board is 3 months.

If your request is denied, you'll still have to complete the CE hours before your expiration date.

If an extension is granted, you must complete all past-due requirements in addition to the hours of CE required for the next renewal cycle. 

Complete your Washington Massage CE in 3 Easy Steps 

1. Find your course
2. Pass your exam
3. Print your certificate  

Find Washington Massage CE Course Now!


 Approved Continuing Education Provider for Washington

Courses approved by the NCBTMB are accepted for meeting the license renewal for Washington State. Jumozy Continuing Education is approved by the NCBTMB (Provider #452024-12), which means that our massage courses are valid for Washington State massage therapist CE requirements. Jumozy offers massage therapy CE courses for your Washington State massage license renewal.

In addition, Jumozy Continuing Education is an approved provider for esthetician CE courses. Our esthetician courses are valid in most states, either as an NCEA Approved Provider or as approved by the state board.

Free Massage Continuing Education CE Course

We are currently offering Free "Reflexology for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression" Massage Continuing Education CE Course (2 CE Hours). In this course, Meade Steadman, LMT and professional educator, will guide you from theory to practical application. Discussions include the body map, physiology, and working reflexes to address stress, anxiety, and depression. In addition to written text, a video excerpt is included for visual overview of the body map.  This massage course is approved by the NCBTMB, ABMP and AMTA. 

To redeem your Washington State Massage Free course use coupon code: FreeCourse at checkout. The coupon code is case sensitive.

Please share with your friends, co-workers, fellow massage therapists and estheticians our Massage Free CE course. 


"I thought the course was excellent, the instructor professional and easy to understand, and I look forward to incorporating the material into my routines, especially for headache and migraine treatment."
  John B., LMT

“I enjoyed it, especially the videos.”  Anne L.

“It was clear, concise, and very enjoyable. I already use craniosacral therapy in my practice, but needed some inspiration...I got it!”  Rebecca B.


What You Need to Know about CHABA and Cannabis

As of July 1st 2015, when the CHABA law went into effect in Washington State, products containing 0.3% THC or less are considered hemp or a cannabis health and beauty aid (CHABA) are legal for massage therapists to use in their practice. These type of topicals can include oils, lotions, creams and salves (ointments) and have less than 0.3% THC, and were removed off the WA Controlled Substance Act (WA CSA).   

It's not within the scope of practice for massage therapists in Washington State to use any products, including topical lotions and oils that contain more than 0.3% THC on their clients – regardless of being medical or recreational and regardless of whether the client provides the product. In applying other marijuana-infused topicals (cannabis oils or lotions with more than 0.3% THC) as part of massage therapy, the therapist would be illegally administering a Schedule 1 drug. These would be considered a licensing violation for practicing out of scope, plus a criminal violation.  CHABA Law is outlined RCW 69.50.575. It is very important to review your label to verify that % THC and to ensure that it is CHABA and not a medical or recreational marijuana topical.  


Other Things Massage Therapists Need to Know About Licensure


I'm nationally certified. Do I need to be licensed to practice in Washington State?

Yes. You may not practice or represent yourself as a massage therapist without first applying for and receiving a from the Washington Department of Health a license to practice. It's against the law to work without an active license.


May I get a temporary or limited permit?

No. There is no temporary or limited permit available to massage therapists in Washington State.


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