Individuals must have a minimum of 250 hours of massage education to apply for any type of certification, and the hours must be completed at approved schools, according to the California Massage Therapy Council. The requirements for massage therapy certification in the state of California changed on Jan. 1, 2015.
Massage professionals have two options for certification in the state of California. Individuals with at least 250 hours but less than 500 hours may qualify as certified massage practitioners, while those with more than 500 hours can apply for certified massage therapist designation, says the American Massage Therapy Association California Chapter.
A minimum of 100 hours must be in the areas of business ethics, contraindications, health and hygiene, and anatomy and physiology regardless of the type of certification, explains the American Massage Therapy Association California Chapter. These courses and an additional 150 education hours must be earned through approved schools. Online massage schools and distance learning courses do not count toward these requirements.
Practitioners who want to become certified therapists need a total of 500 hours before they apply. Courses at approved schools, as well as those taken through continued learning providers approved by the Department of Consumer Affairs or the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, contribute to meeting the remaining 250 hours. Individuals who are licensed in another state or in Canada may apply for certification in California as long as the above educational requirements are met, reports the California Massage Therapy Council.