Virginia Massage Therapist License Exam

To get licensed in Virginia, massage therapists are required to take a massage exam that covers such subjects as anatomy, physiology, pathology and kinesiology.  Whether you live in Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke or another city or county, the resources below will help you get started on the path to receive your massage license.

Need of Massage Certification: A massage therapist needs to be certified to practice massage therapy in Virginia.

Who Grants Certification:  Certification in Virginia is granted by the Virginia Board of Nursing.

Qualifications to become Certified:  A candidate needs to complete at least 500 hours of training in massage therapy from an approved school or program.

The candidate must also pass either the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM) or the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB).

For more information on qualifications, see Virginia Massage Therapist Regulations

Applying for the Massage Exam:  

Candidates can apply online to take the NCETM or NCETMB.   More information can be found on the NCETMB in a Candidate Handbook.  

Test Content:   The NCETM and NCETMB have the following content:

The exams consist of 160 multiple-choice questions with four choices provided for each question.  Test takers have two hours and forty minutes to complete the computer based exam.

The exams are divided into six content areas:

     -          General knowledge of body systems

     -          Knowledge of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology

     -          Pathology

     -          Therapeutic massage assessment (NCETMB includes bodywork assessment)

     -          Therapeutic massage application (NCETMB includes bodywork application)

     -          Professional standards, ethics, business and legal practices

How to Apply to get Certified:  Candidates must provide the Board  the following documents:  (1) completed application; (2) verification of completed course of study; and (3) verification from the NCBTMB of passage of an exam.  The documents should be sent directly to:

               Virginia Board of Nursing – Department of Health Professions

               Perimeter Center

               9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300

               Henrico, VA  23233-1463

Phone: (804) 367-4515

Fax: (804) 527-4455

Fees:  There are fees to apply to become a certified massage therapist.

Who administers the Massage Tests:  The NCETM and NCETMB are administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) and Pearson Vue.

License Renewal Requirements:  A massage therapist must renew their license every 2 years and complete at least 24 hours of continuing education every 2 years.

Applicable Regulations:  Massage therapists in Virginia are regulated by  the Regulations  Governing Certification of Massage Therapists, 18 VAC 90-50-10 et seq.   


For more information on massage therapist licensing and exam preparation, go to’s MBLEx Test Guide and NCETM / NCETMB Test Guide.

And take’s Massage Therapist Practice Tests:

MBLEx Practice Test

NCETM Practice Test

For massage therapy exam preparation products, such as study guides, flashcards and courses, go to’s MBLEx and NCETM/NCETMB listings.