Education and Training
To be licensed as a massage therapist, an applicant must have at least 500 hours of specific education and training from a board-recognized facility or instructor.
The 500 hours of education and training must include: (ARSD 20:76:01:06)
- One hundred twenty-five hours of training in the body’s system and anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology;
- Two hundred hours of training in massage and bodywork assessment, theory, and application;
- Forty hours of training in pathology;
- Ten hours of training in business and ethics, with a minimum of six hours in ethics; and
- One hundred twenty-five hours of additional training in an area or related field that theoretically completes a massage program of study.
At least 200 hours of hands-on training must be completed.
The board currently recognizes certain facilities as approved providers of the required education and training. These facilities include: (ARSD 20:76:08:01)
- Black Hills Health and Education Center;
- Headlines Academy aka Paul Mitchell The School Rapid City;
- National American University;
- Pam’s Massage School;
- SD School of Massage Therapy;
- Sioux Falls Therapeutic Massage & Education Center; and
- Springs Bath House School of Massage.
Additionally, the Board may recognize training from additional facilities if such a facility is either licensed or approved by a state board of massage therapy in the state where the facility is located or is accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. (ARSD 20:76:08:02) The South Dakota facilities accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education are:
- Paul Mitchell The School Rapid City – National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences
- Stewarts School – Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
- The Salon Professional Academy – National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences
- Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)
- Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
- National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS)
- Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSCT)
- Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
A passing score on a national exam is required for licensing. The board-approved national examinations for purposes of licensure are:
- NCETM (National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage $225)
- NCETMB (National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork $225)
- NBCA Massage Therapy Certification Exam (AMMA $275)
- MBLEx (Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards $265)
Examinations are computer-based. Candidates need to register directly with the national exam provider and request that results be provided to the Board of Massage Therapy.
The Board will recognize other proof of education from an institution that has closed. If you have copies of your transcript, curriculum information, or other evidence of attendance, the Board will consider that in assessing your application for licensure.