Massage therapy remains a growing and lucrative career path in the service industry. In order to practice massage therapy for compensation, prospective therapists must complete certification programs and receive licenses for their businesses. Certification requires a great deal of commitment and time, but successful completion paves the way for a smooth application process.
Enroll in an accredited massage therapy school. The Resource section below includes a link to a website that lists schools. California law requires massage training from a school recognized and accredited by the California Massage Therapy Council, a government body established to oversee massage-related matters in the state.
Complete the accredited massage therapy program. A minimum of 500 hours is required, with at least 250 of those hours received at an approved massage therapy school. The remaining 250 hours may be completed at an accredited school or with continuing-education providers registered with the California Massage Therapy Council or the Department of Consumer Affairs. Completion also requires passage of a massage-competency assessment examination.
Submit a written application to the California Massage Therapy Council. The application must include all fees required by the organization, as well as proof of completion of the 500 hours and competency exam. The CMTC application is available for download.
Submit fingerprint images to the Department of Justice. Have a passport photo taken, and include a photocopy of your state driver's license. This is all necessary for satisfactory completion of background checks.
Contact local, city or county governments for specific laws regarding massage-therapy licensing. While the CMTC is responsible for certification of massage therapists, no statewide laws govern licensing. Massage therapy certification is required, though, for all local licenses. The local chamber of commerce has all information necessary to complete licensing applications.