New York and New Jersey Licensing Requirements for Massage Therapists

Posted by ITM


Trying to become a massage therapist in New York or New Jersey, but not sure which is a better pick? Let’s compare the differences.

Basics of New York Massage Therapy Licensure

To become a licensed massage therapist in the state of New York, you’ll need at least 1,000 hours of training from a massage therapist institute recognized by the State of New York Education Department. Unlike most states in the U.S., New York doesn’t require you to take a FSMTB (Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards) exam; instead, you’ll need to take and pass the state’s own Massage Therapy Examination to receive your license.

The examination is a written examination which tests prospective massage therapists on their understanding of massage and anatomy, their understanding of relevant New York laws, and their understanding of various associated ethics and standards.

The initial cost of a license in New York is $108, with an additional $55 renewal fee every three years. You’ll also need at least 36 credit hours of continuing education from a recognized institute in every three-year period.

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Basics of New Jersey Massage Therapy Licensure

In New Jersey, you’ll need at least 500 hours of coursework approved by the New Jersey Board for Massage and Bodywork Therapy if you want to obtain your licensure via education. A license is mandatory to practice massage in New Jersey.

You’ll need to take the standard MBLEx (Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination) developed by the FSMTB. The MBLEx is a written exam which tests anatomy, special concerns and considerations, ethics, laws, history, and professional standards for massage therapists.

Initial licensure costs $273 including the mandatory background check, with another $120 renewal fee every two years. You’ll need 20 credit hours of approved continuing education within each two-year period.

What’s similar?

The general structure of the two is very similar; licensing in both states is carefully controlled, requiring a substantial amount of approve education followed by a written exam testing a multitude of areas. You’ll need to pay an initial fee to receive your license, then renew for a fee with proof of continuing education every few years.

What’s different?

Perhaps the most notable difference between the two is that New York State doesn’t work with the FSMTB nor use an MBLEx in its testing for licensure. Most states which require or recognize massage therapy licensure are like New Jersey, which means it can be far easier to take a New Jersey license to another state or move to New Jersey with an out-of-state license.

The gap between the two does mean that if you want to practice massage in both, you’ll need separate licensing from both or approval from one or the other to temporarily practice with your other license.

It’s worth noting that New Jersey charges significantly higher licensure fees and charges them more frequently than New York.

Of course, the requisite amount of education between the two is significantly different, with New York requiring double the approved hours of New Jersey. Despite this and the different renewal periods, you'll need a similar amount of continuing education credits (12 per year in New York versus 10 per year in New Jersey) to maintain your massage therapist license once acquired.

The career is experiencing rapid growth across the country, these two states included. While New Jersey earners make roughly the national average from the bottom 10% to the top 10%, a New York massage therapist will earn slightly more at the low end and significantly more at the top end than the average.

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Topics: Insider