Saturday, August 18, 2012

Certified or Licensed Massage Therapist, what's the difference?

What is the difference between a certified massage therapist and a licensed massage therapist? Why do we see the letters LMT or CMT after your name? What do those initials mean?

I was asked this question this week. I figured if one person had the question, maybe more of you do too. Here is the answer for those practicing massage in the state of Illinois.

To become certified as a massage therapist, one must attend a accredited school and finish a minimum of 500 hour program (this will soon change to 600 hours). My initial training was 750 hours, and took 15 months to complete. Once you complete the required program, you take a national exam. There are currently two available to take. The National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB ) and the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). Not all states accept both, but Illinois does. Once one passes this exam, they are a Certified Massage Therapist. They may place CMT after their name.

If you want to legally practice massage therapy in Illinois, you need to get your state license. You must apply for one through the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. This is the governing body that regulates many licenses.

There are a few things that you need to have in order to apply for the license. You need to be at least 18 years of age. You need to have passed one of the National tests mentioned above. You need to get fingerprinted for a background check, and you need to pay the $175 fee.

So what does all this mean?

Certified massage therapist has all the information to do their job. Licensed massage therapist is one that can legally perform their job.
In certain states, there is not license needed, so CMT will be more commonly seen.