NC Massage and Bodywork Therapy Board

License Application

How can I get an application for licensure?

To obtain a License Application Packet you must download the "Application Request Form" located in the Document Center on the Board website.  After completing the form, mail the completed form directly to the Board with the $20.00 application fee.  The $20.00 application fee must be a money order or cashiers check only.  No cash, personal checks or credit cards will be accepted.  Once the application request form with the $20 fee is received in the Board office you will be mailed an application packet.  The official licensure application packet includes all required forms and an instructional handbook.

Who must be licensed?
All therapists in the State who fall under the scope of practice definition in the Massage and Bodywork Therapy Practice Act will be required to apply for a license. This is legally defined as: Systems of activity applied to the soft tissues of the human body for therapeutic, educational or relaxation purposes. This includes anyone who is practicing massage and bodywork therapy for compensation, whether you are working full-time or part-time, self-employed or working for someone else. The only exceptions are practitioners of certain energy-based and movement repatterning techniques whose work meets specific criteria for exemption set forth in the Rules and Regulations. (Refer to the FAQ Sheet for details.)

The Application Process

Once you receive the application package, follow the enclosed General Instructions and use the Application Checklist to ensure that you are sending in a complete application. You are required to:

  1.     Meet the requirements for licensure (see criteria below);
  2.     Complete the Application Form and submit it with all required documentation;
  3.     Enclose one original passport-size photo of yourself; and
  4.     Enclose the $150.00 Licensure Fee in the form of a certified check or money order.
  5.     Enclose the $40.00 SBI Criminal History Report fee.
  6.     Executed fingerprint card.
  7.     Signed and dated consent form.
  8.     Other documents and information as requested.
Once all of the above is received at the Board Office, your application will be reviewed by Board staff to determine that it is complete in form and content.  Enclose the $40.00 SBI Criminal History Report fee.

Review Process and Timeline:

Once your Application is received at the Board Office, it will be reviewed by Board staff for completeness. When all documentation is complete, your Application will be approved by Board staff or forwarded to the Board’s License Standards Committee. This committee makes recommendations to the Board. Final action on Applications reviewed by the License Standards Committee is made at a regularly scheduled Board meeting. On average, it will take sixty (60) business days (business days do not include weekends and holidays) for a license to be issued by the Board once the Application is found to be complete. Applying for licensure by endorsement takes three (3) to six (6) months. These timeframes begin on the date the Board receives the Application, not the date the Application is mailed.  The timeframe for processing an application is an approximate time and may require a longer period of time to process. If the Board requests missing documents or further information, the timeframe starts over when the missing documents or information have been received in the Board office. If the applicant has any criminal history, the process time is longer as the timeframe will be based on the review of the criminal history itself.  The Board may request additional information or interview an applicant before issuing a license.

It is your responsibility to notify the Board of any change in information occurring after the filing of your Application.  You must keep the Board advised of your current mailing address at all times.

Requirements for a Regular license

You are eligible to apply for a regular license to practice massage and bodywork therapy if you have completed and can document all of the following requirements:

  2. Examinations accepted for:    
    1. Applicants who graduated from a North Carolina approved massage therapy school must provide proof they passed the following exam:
  • The massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx)
  1. Applicants who graduated from an out-of-state school must provide proof of passing one of the following exams:
  • The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx)
  • The National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB)
  • The National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM)
  • NESL options for the NCETMB and NCETM
  • The Asian Bodywork Therapy Examination (ABTE) offered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
  1. Education: You have successfully completed a course of study in the field of massage and bodywork therapy consisting of a minimum of 500 in-class hours of supervised instruction at a Board-approved school or an exempted North Carolina Community College program which has attested to the board their massage therapy program meets or exceeds the minimum requirements, as demonstrated in one of the three following ways:
a)   You have graduated from a Board-approved school (click for list) or an exempted North Carolina College program, and that school sends the Board an official sealed transcript and a verification of official curriculum form;

- OR -

b)   If you graduated from an out-of-state school which has NOT been approved by the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy, you must submit the following documentation (which you are responsible for obtaining) which may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and approved at the Board's discretion:

(1)   A photocopy of the school's current license to operate;
(2)   A copy of the most recent school catalog;
(3)   A copy of the program curriculum, indicating course descriptions
       and the number of classroom hours of supervised instruction
       in each course which the applicant attended;
(4)   An official sealed transcript sent directly to the Board;
(5)   A verification of official curriculum form;
- OR -

c)   If you graduated from a school which is no longer in operation, or a school from which records are unavailable, then you may complete an Affidavit of Professional Training which attests to your course of study and date of graduation. Please submit any school documents you may have with the Affidavit of Professional Training Form.  This affidavit may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and approved at the Board's discretion.

Status of your Application

Each application is date-stamped when received in the Board office.  Applications are processed in the order in which they are received.  Once an application is complete and correct, it will be processed and approved in approximately sixty (60) business days from the date the Board decides the application is complete.  Applying for Licensure by Endorsement takes 3 to 6 months.

Applications must be complete and correct before they are processed.  A checklist is provided in the application booklet to help you in submitting a complete application.  You will be notified  by the Board office by email of any missing, incomplete, or incorrect items.  If you are required to submit additional or corrected documents, your processing period will restart when all documents are received and correct.

To ensure that all the required documents are received promptly, you may wish to send all the documents together with your application.  By doing this, you will know when the documents are sent.  If you must have a transcript, moral character form, or out of state verification form mailed to the Board separately from your application, that information will be filed with you application when it arrives.  Processing will begin when all documentation has been received. 

Please do not call the Board office to find out your license processing status during the 60 business days necessary for processing.  The Board staff will not be able to confirm that your application has or has not been received.  You may purchase delivery confirmation from the US Postal Service or tracking service from a commercial mailing company.

The Board staff updates the webpage weekly with the names of new licensees.  If you have been issued a license number, it will be on the website,, under Online Verification.  Once your license number appears on the website you should receive your certificate of licensure within ten to fifteen business days.