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What Does It Take To Become A Massage Therapist In California?

Updated: Mar 26



We get asked this a lot here at IPSB and thought it would be helpful to address it here.

To work as a Massage Therapist in California you need to apply for a certificate from CAMTC our state certifying body. There are also a variety of modalities that may also require a "license to touch" such as some Ayurvedic trainings or Somatic therapy trainings, the massage therapist certification meets that requirement.


To qualify for this you need to complete a training with a school that is approved by them. They require a minimum of 500 hours of training, 100 hours of which must cover anatomy, physiology, contraindications, health and hygiene, business and ethics). There are also requirements of kinesiology, assessments, technique and hands on practice. You want to be sure that healthy body mechanics and career longevity are a focus of the program you take. Our Integrative Massage and Bodywork Practitioner (IMBP) training is an excellent example.


Once you complete your program you will set up an account on the CAMTC website to start the application process and then request your transcript from your school to be sent to CAMTC. You will need to download the request for Live Scan fingerprinting form from their site and get your fingerprints taken. You will need to send them a passport photo that they will use for your official card when they send it to you. The cost to certify with CAMTC is going up to $300 for every 2 years in 2023.


Keep in mind that if you are working more than one place CAMTC rules say you should have a copy of your certificate that they issue posted at every location you work at. You may need to order additional certificates when you apply.


If you want to work for yourself or work as an independent contractor in California you will also need to get a business license and pay local taxes. It is important to research the area you plan to work in to ensure that the type of work you would like to do (e.g. out call massage) is allowed. Some regions have specific stipulations for the type of bodywork and steps for business licensing that is allowed.


IPSB has been teaching people to do bodywork in California since 1979 and offers CAMTC approved training contact us today to get started!



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