Iowa Massage Requirements

Iowa massage requirements establish the educational and examination requirements for an individual to become a massage therapist in the state.  In Iowa individuals who practice massage therapy are licensed Massage Therapists and must graduate from a board approved  school and pass a board approved examination.  The following information is offered as an assistance to those considering a career as a massage therapist.  The information should be verified by consulting the Iowa State Board of Massage Therapy.

Iowa Massage Requirements

Iowa Department of Health

Bureau of Professional Licensure

Iowa Board of Massage Therapy Examiners

Department of Public Health
Lucas State Office Bldg, 5th Floor
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319-0075

Phone   (515) 281-6959
Fax        (515) 281-3121

To see the State Laws & Rules for Iowa Massage Requirements go to:

Iowa Board of Massage Therapy Examiners

Find Iwo Massage Schools


Application: $120.00
Biennial Renewal: $60.00

Education requirements:

600 hours from board-approved school


Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards Examination MBLEx

CEU Requirements:

24 hours biennially

Page last Updated June 16, 2015

The National Certification Examination for Licensure is no longer offered as of November 1, 2014 and National Certification will no longer be offered as of December 31, 2016.  Those who are Nationally Certified will need to upgrade their Certification to Board Certified. Please go to for further information on Board Certification. 


Iowa chapter 131 Licensure of Massage Therapists

Definitions and Iowa Massage Requirements Excerpts take 11/6/2014

645—131.1(152C) Definitions. For purposes of these rules, the following definitions shall apply:

Active licensemeans a license that is current and has not expired.

Boardmeans the Iowa board of massage therapy.

Grace periodmeans the 30-day period following expiration of a license when the license is still

considered to be active. In order to renew a license during the grace period, a licensee is required to pay

a late fee.

Inactive licensemeans a license that has expired because it was not renewed by the end of the

grace period. The category of “inactive license” may include licenses formerly known as lapsed, inactive,

delinquent, closed, or retired.

Licenseemeans any person licensed to practice as a massage therapist in the state of Iowa.

License expiration datemeans the fifteenth day of the anniversary month every two years.

Licensure by endorsementmeans the issuance of an Iowa license to practice massage therapy to

an applicant who is or has been licensed in another state.

Massage therapymeans performance for compensation of massage, myotherapy, massotherapy,

bodywork, bodywork therapy, or therapeutic massage including hydrotherapy, superficial hot and cold

applications, vibration and topical applications, or other therapy which involves manipulation of the

muscle and connective tissue of the body, excluding osseous tissue, to treat the muscle tonus system

for the purpose of enhancing health, providing muscle relaxation, increasing range of motion, reducing

stress, relieving pain, or improving circulation.

Reactivateor reactivationmeans the process as outlined in rule 131.14(17A,147,272C) by

which an inactive license is restored to active status.

Reciprocal licensemeans the issuance of an Iowa license to practice massage therapy to an

applicant who is currently licensed in another state that has a mutual agreement with the Iowa board

of massage therapy to license persons who have the same or similar qualifications to those required in


Reinstatementmeans the process as outlined in 645—11.31(272C) by which a licensee who has

had a license suspended or revoked or who has voluntarily surrendered a license may apply to have the

license reinstated, with or without conditions. Once the license is reinstated, the licensee may apply for

active status.

645—131.2(152C) Requirements for licensure. All persons acting or serving in the capacity of a

massage therapist shall hold a massage therapist’s license issued by the board. The following criteria

shall apply to licensure:

131.2(1) The applicant shall complete a board-approved application packet. Application forms may

be obtained from the board’s Web site ( or directly from the board

office. All applications shall be sent to Board of Massage Therapy, Professional Licensure Division,

Fifth Floor, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075.

131.2(2) The applicant shall complete the application form according to the instructions contained

in the application. If the application is not completed according to the instructions, the application will

not be reviewed by the board.

Ch 131, p.2 Professional Licensure[645] IAC 3/23/11

131.2(3) Each application shall be accompanied by the appropriate fees payable by check or money

order to the Board of Massage Therapy. The fees are nonrefundable.

131.2(4) The applicant shall have official copies of academic transcripts sent directly from the

board-approved school to the board of massage therapy. If a school has closed and is no longer

operational, the board will accept an official transcript provided by the student.

131.2(5) The board may consider applications on a case-by-case basis which do not appear on their

face to meet requirements if the requirements may be alternatively satisfied by demonstrated equivalency.

The burden shall be on the applicant to document that the applicant’s education and experience are

substantially equivalent to the requirements which may be alternatively satisfied.

131.2(6) The applicant shall submit proof of completion of a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

course and a first-aid course that were certified by the American Red Cross, by the American Heart

Association, or by the National Safety Council. One of the following shall be required:

a. Official transcript documenting completion of a CPR class and a first-aid class within one year

prior to submitting the application for licensure; or

b. Copy of the current certification card(s) or renewal card(s).

131.2(7) The applicant shall provide proof of passing any National Certification Board for

Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) examination or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing

Examination (MBLEx). Proof of passing shall be sent directly from the testing service to the board of

massage therapy. The applicant may submit a copy of the official notification from the testing service of

the applicant’s passing a board-approved examination. The copy of the applicant’s official notification

may be used by the board as proof of passage of a board-approved examination until the official proof of

passage is received directly from the testing service. Submission of the applicant’s copy of the official

notification from the testing service shall not be allowed in lieu of the applicant’s arranging for and

the board’s receiving the official record of proof of passage sent directly from the testing service. The

examination score must be received from the testing service within 60 days of issuance of the license.

The passing score on the written examination shall be the passing point criterion established by the

national testing authority at the time the test was administered.

131.2(8) Licensees who were issued their licenses within six months prior to the renewal shall not

be required to renew their licenses until the renewal month two years later.

131.2(9) Incomplete applications that have been on file in the board office for more than two years

shall be considered invalid and shall be destroyed.

131.2(10) The applicant shall provide verification of license(s) from every state in which the

applicant has been licensed as a massage therapist, sent directly from the state(s) to the board office.

Please see the Iowa Board of Massage Therapy Examiners for the most current and accurate Iowa Massage Requirements for State Laws & Rules.  Get Massage Smart offers the above excerpt for its educational value, as Iwoa Massage Requirements for laws & rules can change frequently.

Resources and References for Iowa Massage Requirements

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