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Requirements to become a Massage Therapist in New Jersey

From Jersey City to Tuttles Corner, from Rosemont to Cape May, massage therapists in New Jersey can receive certification through the Massage, Bodywork and Somatic Therapy Examining Committee. This means that for many prospective therapists the general requirements to gain certification in New Jersey are comparable to requirements used in many other states. However, with the discretion of The New Jersey Board of Nursing, the Garden State offers additional ways for therapists to gain certification.

Whenever discussing the qualifications needed to become a massage therapist in New Jersey, one should start with the educational requirements. Prospective massage therapists need to earn a degree from a professional massage therapy school of program that is composed of at least 403 hours of classroom work. On top of the in-class work, students need at least 100 hours of training earned by working with real patients in traditional settings, as they would if they were practicing therapists. This practical experience is paramount to students transitioning into a successful career.

Some states will not recognize work experience as a valid replacement for educational hours in the classroom or in clinical settings. The good news for students in New Jersey is that the state does consider previous work experience as students attempt to earn degrees to practice massage therapy. For students in New Jersey, 300 hours of previous part-time work or 700 full-time hours in massage therapy will allow them the opportunity to earn licenses with only 200 hours of training.

New Jersey also allows for the licensing of therapists who have already earned certification through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Many states recognize this agency and consider certification from this board enough to apply for licensure. However, on the other hand, some states require a state examination and licensing from the state governing board before a therapist is allowed to practice in that state. The state also recognizes the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. A certification from the commission is accepted as proof that a student has met the academic requirements for licensure.

Potential New Jersey massage therapists can also receive certification by endorsement. This means that the prospective therapist must hold a license in another state and present that license (or a copy) to the Board of Nursing at which point the license will be verified and the current status of the therapist will be checked by contacting state agency that issued the license. Those applicants for licensure must fill out applications and pay application fees and certification fees. In 2010, the cost of those fees was $75 and $120 respectively. Each candidate must also pass a criminal background check, submit two letters of recommendation and verify that he or she is certified for basic life support.

As in much of the country, the demand for certified massage therapists in New Jersey is growing. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has released numbers indicating there will be 14 percent more certified massage therapists working in the state in 2018.