States Embracing New Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination

Contact: Debra Persinger, Ph.D.
Executive Director, FSMTB / 913.681.0380


(Overland Park, Kan.) – The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), introduced by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) Oct. 1, is rapidly being embraced by state licensing boards. Six states adopted its use prior to the public release date and two additional states signed on in late October.

States accepting the MBLEx as a reliable, entry-level licensing and competence requirement are Arkansas, Iowa, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. Kentucky joined the Federation’s membership ranks this month, bringing total membership to 26 state boards, more than two-thirds of the 38 states regulating massage. MBLEx adoption is under consideration by a number of additional FSMTB member boards.

Responsive Service
“Development of the MBLEx is a tremendous accomplishment on behalf of the nation’s massage therapists and bodyworkers,” said Patty Glenn, LMT, and FSMTB president. “The profession is past due for a current, comprehensive test that is affordable, convenient to take and supported by a competent, caring organization.”

MBLEx candidates will receive their application processing services and test delivery from streamlined customer service organizations contractually obligated to the highest quality standards in promptness, accuracy and courtesy. Candidates will find other features of the MBLEx attractive, including online registration, year-round testing available at more than 200 U.S. sites, a more reasonable fee of $195, an immediate, official score report, and two ways to apply -- through either the Federation or directly with a state licensing board or agency. Free application forms and candidate handbooks are available on the Federation website at

“In the longer run, the MBLEx also represents a significant first step in facilitating reciprocity and portability of licensure across state lines,” Glenn said.

MBLEx a Model Examination 
To create the comprehensive and well-researched exam, the Federation gained input from more than 7,600 massage and bodywork practitioners, integrated the regulatory community into test development, and sought the guidance of 50 subject-matter experts in massage and bodywork education and practice. Best practices from other professions were studied. The test instrument itself was scientifically vetted by 15 psychometricians and testing specialists. As a result, the MBLEx was selected as a model testing program, one of 30 chosen from 170 proposals submitted to the Association of Test Publishers.

The MBLEx is a 125-item multiple-choice test with 13 percent of its content devoted to the topic of ethics, more than twice that of any other national massage therapy exam, reflecting the Federation’s and the profession’s commitment to practitioner professionalism and consumer safety.

Federation Mission The Federation is a two-year-old organization with a mission to improve communication between states and offer prospects for enhanced licensing reciprocity for the ultimate benefit of safe massage and bodywork practice protecting consumers. FSMTB promotes networking among state licensing boards to share the common issues that each agency deals with on a regular basis. Creating the MBLEx has been a key objective for FSMTB. The MBLEx received an additional boost in October as Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP), an early catalyst for FSMTB, donated $10,000 for the purpose of educating and recruiting state boards to adopt the exam.