“licensed” and “certified” ~ what’s the difference?

Many massage clients ask us what the difference is between a massage license, a massage certification, and if it’s even important.  Massage licenses are issued by governing bodies…generally the state in which the massage therapist lives, but in some instances, licenses are issued at the city or county level.  (California is a state that administer massage at the local level, rather than the state.)  If someone is licensed to practice massage, it means they are registered with their government and have passed the government’s set of rules to practice massage therapy.  (Most governments require a certain level of education, as well as a background check, registered fingerprints, etc.  However, some governments do not require a certain amount of education…so just because a therapist is “licensed” doesn’t necessarily mean they have a formal massage education.)

Certification is a different classification that is done by several nation-wide organizations that set a standard for massage education country-wide.  The two most common certification bodies are the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) and the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB).  Both of these organizations administer a comprehensive exam that determines if a therapist has had enough comprehensive education to be considered “certified.”  Many states now require the passage of one of these exams in order to be licensed, so the terms “licensed” and “certified” are becoming more and more related.  However, a therapist who is truly Certified means they have undergone rigorous education and testing, and you can rest assured they represent the best in massage therapy knowledge.

Jesse James Massage requires that all therapists who live in a state the regulates massage therapy list their license or national certification information in order to advertise with us.

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