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Massage Therapist Licensure Fees

Friday, February 1, 2019  
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Licensure fees for licensed massage therapists (LMTs) are expected to increase by approximately 60% sometime in 2019 to cover the costs of regulating LMTs. State law requires that each health profession pay for the costs of its regulation. For the massage profession, several factors have combined to create a deficit. They are:

  1. Unlicensed practice investigations, with the bulk of those related to illegal massage practices. Over the past several years, AMTA-WA asked the department of Health (DOH) to do more to try to stop illegal massage practices. Unfortunately, doing more did not bring the anticipated results as these illegal massage practices just “shape shifted” into the night, and were essentially unstoppable by DOH. DOH now believes these types of cases are best dealt with by local law enforcement. And while we know that not all local law enforcement pursue illegal massage businesses, many do.

  2. Complaints against massage schools. There were multiple complaints a couple of years previously, that have now been resolved. Even though the complaints were resolved, it cost money in the form of staff time from DOH program staff to Assistant Attorney Generals.

  3. CE audits. AMTA-WA has learned that there have been a large number of complaints filed against LMTs because of failed CE audits. There is an astonishing 50% failure rate on CE audits! One of the most common problems is the lack of CE credits, and in particular the lack of CE credits for ethics. Please know that AMTA-WA provides multiple opportunities throughout the year at conferences to obtain those credits, to specifically include ethics credits. When an LMT fails a CE audit, they are re-audited during the next CE cycle. All of these factors combine to add costs for program administration. As a reminder, the requirements for CE are found in WAC 246-830-475. To renew a license, you must complete 24 hours of CE every two years.

The bottom line is that the massage profession has a debt to pay, because the Board of Massage has been running a deficit for at least a couple of years. In the future, DOH has committed to more real time information on the budget status, so that course corrections can be made before these types of very high fee increases are required. We know that fee increases at this level will cause a hardship for some of you. Our goal in the future is to work to reduce these fees. But we need your help. You can start today by reviewing the above noted WAC concerning CEs and determining how you will meet your 24 hour requirement by the time of your next renewal. 

Thank you for reading!

Michael J Mandell, LMT
President AMTA-WA


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