Massage Education Requirements by State


 20.11. Minimum hour requirements for massage therapy programs.

(a)  Massage therapy programs must provide at least 600 hours of in-class, postsecondary education instruction, including:

(1)  At least 175 contact hours of instruction in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology and pathology, including training in the human immunodeficiency virus and related risks.

(2)  At least 250 contact hours in massage therapy and bodywork assessment, theory and practice including sanitation, safety and hygiene.

(3)  At least 25 contact hours in professional ethics, and business and law related to a massage therapy business.

(4)  At least 150 contact hours in related courses appropriate to a massage therapy curriculum as set forth in §  20.13 (related to required knowledge base), including cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

(b)  Massage therapy programs may meet the 600-hour requirement through both didactic and clinical courses.

(c)  Externship hours may not be included in the 600-hour minimum education instruction. For purposes of this section, an externship is an offsite practical technique learning experience where the student’s supervision is provided by a licensed massage therapist, supervisor or other appropriate licensed health professional.

(d)  Hours for practicing assigned techniques under indirect supervision may not be included in the 600-hour minimum education instruction.


(1)To practice massage therapy in Tennessee a person must possess a lawfully issued license
from the Board. The process for obtaining a license is as follows:
(a)An application packet shall be requested from the Board’s Administrative Office.
(b)An applicant shall respond truthfully and completely to every question or request for
information contained in the application form. The applicant shall submit the application
along with all required documentation and fees to the Board Administrative Office. It is
the intent of this rule that activities necessary to accomplish the filing of the required
documentation be completed prior to filing an application and that all documentation be
filed as close to simultaneously as possible.
(c)Applications will be accepted throughout the year. Supporting documentation required
by these rules must be timely received in the Board Administrative Office as provided in
rule 0870-01-.08(3) or the file will be closed.
(d)An applicant shall submit a copy of his/her birth certificate or its equivalent which
indicates that the applicant is, at the time of application, at least eighteen (18) years of
age. Applicants who are not citizens of the United States or whose birth certificates
reflect that they were not born in the United States shall submit proof of their
immigration status demonstrating their right to live and work in the United States.
(e)Applicants shall request that a transcript from one (1) or more post secondary academic institution(s) approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission or its equivalent in another state(s), or approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents and approved by the Tennessee Massage Licensure Board, be submitted directly from the
institution(s) to the Board Administrative Office. The transcript must carry the official seal of the institution(s) and must show that the applicant has successfully completed a massage, bodywork, and/or somatic therapy curriculum(s) consisting of no less than five hundred (500) classroom hours, specifically delineated as follows:
1.Two hundred (200) classroom hours of the five hundred (500) classroom hour
requirement shall consist of sciences including, but not limited to, anatomy,

physiology-Western and/or/Eastern, kinesiology, pathology, HIV/AIDS and blood- borne pathogens, and hygiene (including standard precautions). Other sciences related to the human body may be included with Board approval.

2.Two hundred (200) classroom hours of the five hundred classroom (500) hour requirement shall consist of basic massage theory and practice including, but not limited to, history, benefits, indications, contraindications, demonstration and
supervised practice, client assessment/evaluation, soft tissue manipulations
including: gliding, kneading, friction, compression, vibration, percussion,stretching, joint movements, draping, positioning, turning, feedback, charting/documentation, proper body mechanics, and self-care.
3.Eighty-five (85) classroom hours of the five hundred (500) classroom h
our requirement shall consist of related subjects including, but not limited to, business standards of practice, communication skills, CPR/First Aid, the Americans with Disabilities Act, referral methods, specialized populations, and
specialized and adjunct therapies/modalities (including hydrotherapy).
4.Ten (10) classroom hours of the five hundred (500) classroom hour requirement shall consist of ethics instruction.
5.Five (5) classroom hours of the five hundred (500) classroom hour requirement shall consist of instruction regarding Tennessee massage statutes and regulations.
(f) Applicants shall request that verification of having successfully completed an
examination, as provided in Rule 0870- 01 -.09, be submitted directly from the examining agency or its successor organization to the Board Administrative Office.
(g)Applicants shall submit evidence of good moral character. Such evidence shall consist of two (2) recent (within the preceding 12 months) original signed and dated letters from health care professionals that include the professional’s licensing credentials and attest to the applicant’s personal char acter and professional ethics.
The letters should be drafted on the writer’s professional letterhead and include the writer’s contact information.
(h)Applicants shall disclose the circumstances surrounding any of the following:
1.Conviction of any criminal offense (except minor traffic offenses) of any country,
state or municipality, including without limitation, conviction for prostitution
or any sexual misconduct offense. A conviction for prostitution or sexual misconduct
offenses shall disqualify an applicant from receiving a license. A conviction for a
felony under the laws of Tennessee may disqualify an applicant from receiving a
2.The denial of professional licensure/certification by any other state or the discipline of licensure/certification in any state.
3. Loss or restriction of licensure/certification.
4. Any civil suit judgment or civil suit settlement in which the applicant was a party defendant in any actions involving malpractice, negligence and/or fraud.
5. Failure of any professional licensure or certification examination.
(i)Applicants shall cause to be submitted to the Board Administrative Office directly fr
om the vendor identified in the Board’s licensure application materials, the result of a
criminal background check.
(j) If an applicant holds or has ever held a license/certificate to practice any profession in
any other state, the applicant shall cause to be submitted the equivalent of a Tennessee Certificate of Endorsement (verification of licensure/certification) from each such licensing board which indicates the applicant holds or held an active
license/certificate and whether it is presently in good standing or was in good standing at the time it became inactive.
(k)An applicant shall submit the application fee and state regulatory fee as provided in
rule 0870-01-.07.(l)When necessary, all required documents shall be translated into English and such
translation and original documents certified as to authenticity by the issuing source.
Both versions must be submitted