South Dakota Massage Therapist License Exam

To get licensed in South Dakota, massage therapists are required to take a massage exam that covers such subjects as anatomy, physiology, pathology and kinesiology.  Whether you live in Aberdeen, Rapid City, Sioux Falls or another city or county, the resources below will help you get started on the path to receive your massage license. 

Need of a Massage License: A massage therapist needs a license to practice massage therapy in South Dakota.

Who Grants a License:  Licenses are granted by the South Dakota Board of Massage Therapy

Qualifications to receive a License:  A candidate needs to complete a minimum of 500 hours of massage therapy education broken down as follows:

                    - Anatomy, Physiology and Kinesiology – 125 hours
                    - Clinical Pathology – 40 hours
                    - Massage/Bodywork Theory, Assessment and Education – 200 hours
                    - Adjunct Techniques – 125 hours
                    - Business Practices and Professionalism – 10 hours

A candidate must also pass one of the following exams:

-   Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) 
-   American Medical Massage Association National Board Certification Exam (AMMA NBCE)

For more information on qualifications, see South Dakota Massage Therapist.

Applying for the Exam:  

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

Candidates can apply online to take the AMMA NBCE.  

Test Content:   The MBLEx and the AMMA NBCE Exams have the following content:

 MBLEx

The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions with four choices provided for each question.  Test takers have 110 minutes to complete the computer based exam.

The exam is divided into eight content areas:

-          Anatomy & Physiology
-          Kinesiology
-          Pathology, Contraindications, Areas of Caution, Special Populations
-          Benefits and Physiological Effects of Techniques that Manipulate Soft Tissue
-          Client Assessment, Reassessment, & Treatment Planning
-          Overview of Massage & Bodywork History/Culture/Modalities
-          Ethics, Boundaries, Laws, Regulations
-          Guidelines for Professional Practice

AMMA NBCE

The exam consists in 200 multiple choice questions and 5 multiple choice essay questions for a total of 205 multiple choice questions.  Test takers have two hours to complete the paper/pencil based exam.

The exam is divided into four content areas:

-          Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology Kinesiology
-          Bony Landmarks
-          Practice, Ethics, Jurisprudence and Treatment Components
-          Clinical Interpretation

How to Apply for the License:  Candidates must provide Board the following:  (1) completed application; (2) sealed transcript of completed course of study; (3) proof of professional liability insurance and (5) verification from the NCBTMB , FSMTB, or AMMA NBCE of passage of the respective exam.  The documents should be sent to:

                    South Dakota Board of Massage Therapy
                    PO Box 1062
                   Sioux Falls, SD  57101-1062

Phone: (605) 271-7103

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

Who Administers the Exam:  The MBLEx is administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards.  The NBCE is administered by the American Medical Massage Association.

Professional Liability Insurance:  Candidates must hold professional liability insurance in the amount of at least $250,000 prior to receiving their license.

License Renewal Requirement:  A massage therapist must renew their license two years and complete at least 8 hours of continuing education.

Applicable Regulations:  Massage therapists in South Dakota are regulated by Administrative Rule ARSD 20:76.

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 For more information on licensing and exam preparation, go to Tests.com’s  MBLEx Test Guide and BCETMB Test Guide.

 And take Tests.com’s Massage Therapist Practice Tests:

 MBLEx Practice Test

 BCETMB Practice Test

For massage therapy exam preparation products, such as study guides, flashcards and courses, go to Tests.com’s MBLEx and BCETMB listings.

Quality starts with...
...who wrote the material.
Our practice exam writers:
Charles Celeste, LMT
, is an instructor in massage therapy at Brightwood College in California.  He has also taught at Baker College and was the program director at the American Career College.  He earned his BA in exercise science from California State University and holds an MBA.  He is MBLEx certified and has been praticing massage therapy for over ten years.


Michelle MacCubbin, LMT
, is an instructor in massage therapy at Miller-Motte Technical College in South Carolina.  Prior to this position, she was an instructor and program director at the McCann School of Business and Technology in Pennsylvania.  She is MBLEx certified with over ten years of experience in the field.


Sara Rennie, LMT
, is a massage instructor at the American Massage and Bodywork Institute in Virginia.  She also tutors students to help them pass the MBLEx. She has worked in the massage industry for over ten years.


Andrew Dacres, LMT
, is an instructor in massage therapy at the Atlanta School of Massage in Georgia.  He has also taught massage therapy at the Georgia Medical Institute and at Sanford-Brown College, where he introduced an MBLEx review class for graduating students. He is an MBLEx certified massage therapist with over ten years of experience in the field.


Chanel Andrade, LMT
, was the lead massage therapy instructor at Everest College for many eyars and, as part of her program, taught an MBLEx prep module.  She has practiced massage therapy for over ten years in California.
Passing the MBLEx is one of the last steps to attain a license as a professional massage therapist in many states.  The Actual MBLEx is 100 questions with a 1 hour and 50 minute (110 minutes) time limit.  Additionally, 5 minutes is allotted for a security agreement and another 5 minutes for a brief survey for a total of 2 hours (120 minutes). 

Actual MBLEx Content Outline (source: The FSMTB Handbook):

Anatomy & Physiology 
11-13 Questions (12%)

Benefits & Physiological Effects of Techniques that Manipulate Soft Tissue
13-16 Questions (14%)

Client Assessment, Reassessment & Treatment Planning
16-18 Questions (17%)

Ethics, Boundaries, Regulations, Laws
14-17 Questions (15%)

Kinesiology
10-12 Questions (11%)

Massage Overview & Bodywork History / Culture / Modalities
4-6 Questions (5%)

Pathology, Contraindications, Special Populations, Areas of Caution
12-15 Questions (13%)

Professional Practice Guidelines
12-15 Questions (13%)

Are you looking for MBLEx sample questions and guidance on how to pass the MBLEx on the first try?  

Check out the Practice Exam for the MBLEx with 875 massage therapy questions covering the same main sections as the actual MBLEx.