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Massage Titles Can Be Confusing, Massage Insurance Isn’t

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two massage therapists giving one massage
Every industry has its own professional titles, and often clients need help understanding their significance. Massage therapy is among these industries; you aren’t just a massage therapist, but a Certified Massage Therapist (CMT), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), or a Certified Massage Practitioner (CMP). While often interchangeable in conversation, these titles have different meanings according to industry standards and reflect different amounts of training. As a massage therapist, you are a professional and should be treated as such. The insurance industry has recognized this fact by creating specialized policies for massage therapists that cover them for the risks they face when treating their clients.

Registered Massage Therapist vs. Licensed Massage Therapist

Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) and Licensed Massage Therapists (LMTs) are both professional titles. Still, they mean different things depending on the state in which you reside.
  • Education and Training Requirements – Both RMTs and LMTs learn about anatomy, physiology, and massage skills in their training and education. And, bachelor’s degrees aren’t required for RMTs or LMTs. But, while both types of massage therapists must complete training programs and classroom education, several states have less requirements for RMTs than LMTS.
  • Licensing Requirements – Another significant difference between RMTs and LMTs is their license requirements. RMTs aren’t licensed to practice in medical settings but are registered with their states and must maintain their registration. RMTs have fewer requirements to meet in several states than LMTs. LMTs must obtain a license. LMTs must complete training and take an exam to get their licenses. They also must keep their licenses current and usually must complete additional education hours each time they renew their licenses.
woman receives sports massage on table

Certified Massage Therapists

Commonly known as CMTs, they have received a certification from a non-governmental agency, such as an educational institute or professional organization, such as National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage (NCTMB). These certifications state that the therapist has completed standard massage education and training. If a certification from NCTMB is received, often the NCTMB acronym follows the CMT or even LMT title. While some states only require a certificate to practice, many require a license instead of or in addition to the certification.  

Types of Massage Designations

Massage therapy regulation has changed significantly over the past few decades. Previously, some states and major cities would require massage therapists to register their practice, although full licensure was not required then. Today licensure has become commonplace. Here are the different types.  

Licensed Massage Therapists, or LMTs

LMTs have received a license from a state government permitting the therapist to practice within that state. Most states require at least 500 hours of massage training, and must pass an exam to receive the license. Therapists must complete 50 continuing education hours for each licensing period. However, not all states require a license to practice, and some require fewer or more hours, so it is essential to research your state’s requirements.  

Registered Massage Therapists, or RMTs

Similar to LMTs as they receive their registration or licensed statuses from the state. However, some states have fewer requirements to be an RMT than an LMT, causing rankings to appear within the industry. While ranking might occur in some states, both titles are state-recognized statuses; this can cause both titles to be used interchangeably in everyday conversation. It is essential to know that not all states recognize both titles. Some states only permit one or the other to be practiced within that state, so you must research each state’s requirements in which you want to practice.  

Certified Massage Practitioners, or CMPs

CMPs are certified to practice but have completed fewer training hours. In some states, CMPs train for 250 hours instead of the 500 hours required to be a CMT. In everyday conversation, many therapists may be referred to as practitioners. Remember, practitioners can only call themselves therapists if they have received the CMT or LMT title.
couples massage with couple chatting

Knowledge is Key

As a massage therapist, you should have a good understanding of the risks that come with your profession. You likely learned about these risks in school but keeping them in mind as you practice and grow your business is essential. Massage therapy insurance will help cover some of those costs so that your practice is safe and secure.

The Beauty and Bodywork Insurance program offers LMT Insurance, CMT Insurance, RMT Insurance, and CMP Insurance under one policy to meet every massage therapist’s needs. Visit our website for insurance details and coverage limits

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