California is one of the few states that still does not mandate massage licensing. They do have what is called a certification that is Voluntary that can help reduce the cost of state business licensing. Before the California Massage Council (CAMTC) was created in 2009, a city business license could cost thousands of dollars. Cities can no longer require CAMTC certificate holders to submit to invasive medical exams (sexually transmitted disease screening), obtain local permits to provide massage for compensation, submit to fingerprinting and background checks, or zone massage businesses as adult entertainment.
CAMTC certifies individuals, it does not regulate massage businesses. CAMTC’s voluntary certification program was created in 2009 in part as a way to address the uneven patchwork quilt of local regulations that existed before CAMTC’s inception and to elevate the profession.
Massage Schools in CA must be approved by the CAMTC. Here is their list of approved massage schools.
CA Massage Therapy Act
- As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(a) “Approved school” or “approved massage school” means a school approved by the council that meets minimum standards for training and curriculum in massage and related subjects, that meets any of the following requirements, and that has not been otherwise
unapproved by the council:
(1) Is approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.
(2) Is approved by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
(3) Is an institution accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities or the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the
Western Association of Schools and Colleges and that is one of the following:
(A) A public institution.
(B) An institution incorporated and lawfully operating as a nonprofit public benefit corporation pursuant to Part 2 (commencing with Section 5110) of Division 2 of Title 1 of the Corporations Code, and that is not managed by any entity for profit.
(C) A for-profit institution.
(D) An institution that does not meet all of the criteria in subparagraph (B) that is incorporated and lawfully operating as a nonprofit public benefit corporation pursuant to
Part 2 (commencing with Section 5110) of Division 2 of Title 1 of the Corporations Code, that has been in continuous operation since April 15, 1997, and that is not managed by any entity for profit.
(4) Is a college or university of the state higher education system, as defined in Section 100850 of the Education Code.
(5) Is a school requiring equal or greater training than what is required pursuant to this chapter and is recognized by the corresponding agency in another state or accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education.
(b) “Certificate” means a valid certificate issued by the council pursuant to this chapter.
(c) “Compensation” means a payment, loan, advance, donation, contribution, deposit, or gift of money, or anything of value.
3(d) “Council” means the California Massage Therapy Council created pursuant to this chapter, which shall be a nonprofit organization exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code.
(e) “Massage” means the scientific manipulation of the soft tissues. For purposes of this chapter, the terms “massage” and “bodywork” shall have the same meaning.
(f) “Massage establishment” or “establishment” means a fixed location where massage is performed for compensation, excluding those locations where massage is only provided on an out-call basis.
(g) “Massage practitioner” means a person who is certified by the council pursuant to Section 4604.2 and who administers massage for compensation.
(h) “Massage therapist” means a person who is certified by the council under Section 4604 and who administers massage for compensation.
(i) “Sole provider” means a massage business where the owner owns 100 percent of the business, is the only person who provides massage services for compensation for that business pursuant to a valid and active certificate issued in accordance with this chapter, and has no other employees or independent contractors.