FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

About CAMTC

*Legal Notice regarding FAQs: These FAQs are provided as a service to individuals and businesses interested in CAMTC certification. However, these FAQs are not intended as, nor a substitute for, legal advice. Individuals and businesses with questions regarding CAMTC's enabling statutes, California Business and Professions Code sections 460, 4600 et. seq., Government Code section 51034, and/or the rules pertaining to various local jurisdictions should consult their own experienced legal counsel.

Q: What is CAMTC and what is its purpose?
The California Massage Therapy Council ("CAMTC") was created by the California Legislature through the enactment of Senate Bill 731 and re-authorized by Assembly Bill 1147, which significantly revised the Massage Therapy Act. CAMTC is a private nonprofit public benefit corporation. As such, it is a fiscally responsible and lean organization with a volunteer Board of Directors representing California cities, counties, law enforcement, massage schools, the Department of Consumer Affairs and other stakeholders as authorized by law in California Business and Professions Code sections 4600 et. seq.

CAMTC is required by California Business and Professions Code section 4600 et. seq. to:

  1. Create and implement a voluntary certification program for the massage therapy profession that will enable consumers to easily identify credible Certified Massage Therapists (CMTs);
  2. Ensure that certified massage professionals have completed sufficient training at approved schools; and
  3. Approve massage schools.

The initial enabling law took effect January 1, 2009 and the first CAMTC board meeting was held in February 2009. A new law re-authorizing CAMTC became effective January 1, 2015.

The purpose behind CAMTC's creation was to serve the interests of the public by establishing standards and making the process of certification consistent throughout the State of California.

Q: Does the CAMTC Board of Directors get any type of compensation?
No. CAMTC's Board of Directors is made up entirely of volunteers whom are never paid for their efforts. CAMTC's funds are dedicated to offsetting the cost of providing certification and its larger mission of protecting the public. CAMTC's 2010 Non-Staff Expense Reimbursement Policy governs Board members' travel expense reimbursement protocol.

Q: What is CAMTC authorized to do?
CAMTC is authorized to evaluate the qualifications of applicants and certificate holders and issue certifications in California to individual applicants that meet the requirements in the law and discipline certificate holders. CAMTC certificate holders are authorized to provide massage services for compensation anywhere in the state of California and cannot be required to "obtain any other license, permit, certificate, or other authorization to provide massage for compensation." (Government Code section 51034(c)(8).)

Q: What are the limits on CAMTC's responsibilities and authority within the massage therapy industry?
Limits are outlined within the Massage Therapy Act, but generally CAMTC has authority to implement the statewide certification program for massage professionals. In terms of the issuance of certificates, CAMTC only has jurisdiction over CAMTC applicants and certificate holders, therefore CAMTC's certification authority is limited to individuals. To do this effectively, there are a number of activities that CAMTC undertakes, including evaluation of qualifications, background checks, and investigation of an applicant's education. CAMTC also has the authority to approve and un-approve massage schools. CAMTC does not have authority over massage establishments. For more information, please read California Business and Professions Code section 4600 et. seq.

 

Consumers

*Legal Notice regarding FAQs: These FAQs are provided as a service to individuals and businesses interested in CAMTC certification. However, these FAQs are not intended as, nor a substitute for, legal advice. Individuals and businesses with questions regarding CAMTC's enabling statutes, California Business and Professions Code sections 460, 4600 et. seq., Government Code section 51034, and/or the rules pertaining to various local jurisdictions should consult their own experienced legal counsel.

Q: What does the Certified Massage Therapist or Certified Massage Practitioner title mean?
The Certified Massage Therapist (CMT) or Certified Massage Practitioner (CMP) title signifies to consumers that the CMT or CMP meets or exceeds minimum educational standards established by the California Business and Professions Code section 4600 et. seq. and that the massage professional has passed all background checks. Those certified as CMT have completed either a minimum of 500 hours of education or 250 hours of education and passage of a CAMTC approved exam, while those certified as CMP have completed a minimum of 250 hours of education.

Q: What does CAMTC do?
CAMTC provides oversight for the application, certification, and recertification processes for Certified massage professionals to ensure that all requirements in the law have been met. The California Business and Professions Code section 4606 makes it an unfair business practice for anyone not certified by CAMTC to use the titles: Licensed, Certified, Certified Massage Therapist, Certified Massage Practitioner, CMT, or CMP.

Q: Are there different levels of certification?
As of January 1, 2015, CAMTC will only be issuing new certificates to Certified Massage Therapists ("CMTs"). However, those who are already certified as Certified Massage Practitioners ("CMPs") may continue to have their CMP certificates renewed as long as they continue to meet the requirements in the statute and do not let their certificates lapse more than six months. Those who are already certified as a Conditional Certified Massage Practitioner ("CCMPs") will also be allowed to continue to work towards and achieve certification as a CMP as long as they complete and report a minimum of 30 hours of education each year before their certification period expires, until they achieve a total of 250 hours of massage education. There is currently only one level of certification:

  • Certified Massage Therapist (CMT) - Required to complete a minimum of 500 hours of massage education and training at CAMTC approved schools, and pass a CAMTC approved examination. Of the 500 hours of education completed, a minimum of 100 of those 500 hours must be in the following subject matters: anatomy and physiology, contraindications, health and hygiene, and business and ethics.

Q: Why should I care if my massage therapist is certified?
By choosing a CAMTC Certified Massage Professional, you know that he or she has met the requisite standards of preparation and education to merit their designation. In addition, CAMTC Certified Massage Professionals undergo extensive background checks, fingerprinting and other qualifying criteria. CAMTC can investigate complaints made against certified massage professionals and take action when appropriate.

Q: How can I find out if a massage therapist is certified?
There are two ways to find out if your massage therapist is CAMTC certified:

  • Use the online form to search by name, city or certificate number.
  • Ask to see their CAMTC certificate, an original of which is required by law to be posted at their place of business, or their ID card, which should be in their possession and has a photo. Certificate and ID card examples can be viewed here.

 

Massage Professionals

*Legal Notice regarding FAQs: These FAQs are provided as a service to individuals and businesses interested in CAMTC certification. However, these FAQs are not intended as, nor a substitute for, legal advice. Individuals and businesses with questions regarding CAMTC's enabling statutes, California Business and Professions Code sections 460, 4600 et. seq., Government Code section 51034, and/or the rules pertaining to various local jurisdictions should consult their own experienced legal counsel.

Q: What is the California law pertaining to certified massage professionals and applicants?
The Massage Therapy Act, codified in California Business and Professions Code sections 460, 4600-4621, and Government Code section 51034, applies to all CAMTC applicants and certified massage professionals. Business and Professions Code section 460(a) generally provides that no city or county shall prohibit a person or group of persons certified by CAMTC from engaging in their business, occupation, or profession, or any portion of that business, occupation, or profession. Business and Professions Code section 460(b) generally provides that no city or county shall prohibit a person certified by CAMTC from engaging in any act or performing any procedure that falls within their professionally recognized scope of practice.

Business and Professions Code sections 4600 - 4621 generally provide for the establishment of a private nonprofit organization to oversee the voluntary certification of massage professionals in California. CAMTC certification allows certified massage professionals to provide massage for compensation in any or multiple California location(s) without the need to obtain multiple local permits and pay multiple permit fees. This California law has also established educational and background criteria for certification as a CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist (CMT), and limited the use of the title of Certified Massage Therapist, CMT, Certified Massage Practitioner, CMP, licensed, and certified to those who are certified by CAMTC.

Government Code section 51034 generally identifies regulations that cities and counties may not impose on massage businesses, including but not limited to defining or regulating massage businesses as adult entertainment. It also generally provides, among other things, that cities and counties may not require a CAMTC certified individual to: take any test, medical exam, background check, or comply with educational requirements beyond what is required for CAMTC certification; obtain any other license, permit, certificate, or other authorization to provide massage for compensation; comply with a dress code requirement beyond what is specified in Business and Professions Code section 4609(a)(10); or prohibit massage of the gluteal muscles or other massage techniques identified by CAMTC as legitimate.

Q: What are the qualifications for certification?
California Business and Professions Code sections 4600 et. seq. designate a number of qualification sets for certification. Applicants must meet the educational requirements in the law, have passed a CAMTC approved exam, have passed a background check, and not violated any provisions of the law.

Q: How long does the certification process take?
We continue to receive a large number of applications for certification, so please expect the process to take approximately thirty (30) days for COMPLETE applications that have no background or educational issues. A complete application includes a signed and dated application on which complete, true, and accurate answers to all of the questions have been provided, as well as payment, passport photo, copy of government issued ID, original transcripts sent directly from school(s), exam proof sent directly from examining board, and live scan fingerprinting results have been received. Applications with issues, including but not limited to those received from applicants with criminal convictions, civil or administrative citations or where local action has been taken against the applicant, complaints have been made in relation to an applicant's professional conduct, or those with education issues can take a significantly longer period of time. You can check on the status of your application here. We appreciate your patience.

Q: Are there different levels of certification?
In the past CAMTC has offered different levels of certification (CMT, CMP, or CCMP). Currently new applicants may only apply for certification as a Certified Massage Therapist (CMT).

  • Certified Massage Therapist (CMT) - New applicants must complete at least 500 hours of massage education and training from CAMTC approved schools, which shall not include online or distance learning, and must also pass a CAMTC approved exam.
  • Certified Massage Practitioner (CMP) - CAMTC will not be issuing new CMP certificates for those whose applications are received on or after January 1, 2015. However, once someone is certified as a CMP, they can maintain their certification as a CMP as long as they do not let their certification lapse for more than six months. If a CMP chooses to obtain the additional education and pass a CAMTC approved exam to become a CMT, they may upgrade to CMT at any time, or when they recertify.
  • Conditional Certified Massage Practitioner (CCMP) - Those who are already certified as CCMPs may continue to work towards obtaining their CMP certification as long as they complete and report a minimum of 30 hours of education annually before their certificate expires, until a minimum of 250 total hours of education are completed. CCMPs may upgrade to CMP once they achieve a minimum of 250 hours of education, or when they recertify.

Q: Is there a test required to become a CMT in California?
Yes. As of January 1, 2015, all new applicants for CMT and applicants for upgrade from CMP to CMT must pass a CAMTC approved exam. As of January 1, 2015, the CAMTC approved exams are the MBLEx and the BCETMB if taken at any time, and the NCETM or NCETMB if taken prior to February 1, 2015.

Q: How much does it cost to get certified?
The current cost for certification is $150.00 for the initial application, which is valid for two years. The renewal cost for another two-year certification is currently $150.00. These amounts are subject to change.

Q: Is my certification good everywhere?
Your certification with CAMTC entitles you to provide massage services for compensation anywhere in the State of California without needing to obtain a local permit, certificate, or other authorization. It does not apply outside of California, although it is possible that other states may accept CAMTC certification.

Q: If I am not granted certification, what is the appeal process?
If you are not granted certification, there is no further right to appeal through CAMTC. Denied applicants may re-apply after two years from the effective date of denial.

Q: I am already a locally permitted or licensed Massage Therapist. Why should I certify with CAMTC?
CAMTC certification provides many benefits, the most significant of which is the portability of the certification. If you are CAMTC certified you may work in any city or county in California without having to have a local permit to provide massage for compensation. Additionally, CAMTC certificate holders are protected from certain regulations that cities and counties may impose on other massage professionals. Government Code section 51034 provides that cities and counties cannot require a CAMTC certified individual to: take any test, medical exam, background check, or comply with educational requirements beyond what is required for CAMTC certification; obtain any other license, permit, certificate, or other authorization to provide massage for compensation; comply with a dress code requirement beyond what is specified in Business and Professions Code section 4609(a)(10); or prohibit massage of the gluteal muscles or other massage techniques identified by CAMTC as legitimate.

Q: If I am certified by CAMTC, do I need a local massage permit?
Local cities and counties cannot require an individual certified by CAMTC to obtain any other license, permit, certificate, or other authorization to provide massage for compensation. However, cities and counties may require that massage businesses obtain a license, permit, certificate, or other authorization in order to operate. In most cities and counties a business license is required for each massage business. Check with the agency in your city that issues business licenses to determine whether one is required - usually the finance department. If you are opening a new massage business, see below for Employers and Massage Business Owners. If you believe that you are being given erroneous information or have trouble getting an agency to recognize your certification, please contact our Director of Governmental Affairs, Beverly May bmay@camtc.org.

Q: How do I know if you will accept education hours from the massage school I attended?
CAMTC only accepts education from CAMTC approved schools, which are those schools that meet the definition of an "approved school" in California Business and Professions Code section 4601(a). To meet the definition of a CAMTC "approved school," the school must be both "approved by the council" AND approved by one of the organizations listed in Business and Professions Code section 4601(a)(1)-(5), which includes the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). CAMTC does not accept education from schools that it has un-approved after the effective date of un-approval. You can view a list of un-approved schools here. CAMTC also has the right to investigate any applicant's education if it has a reason to question whether the education listed on the transcript was actually received.

Q: What if my school has gone out of business?
If your school is no longer in business, you may still be able to obtain sealed transcripts from the former owner, who can send them to CAMTC. It is our policy not to accept transcripts directly from an applicant. However, if your school has closed you may still qualify by submitting "compelling evidence" that you have achieved the education claimed, as long as your school is not on CAMTC's un-approved list. In this case, old school certificates or transcripts, evidence of continuing education and other such information may suffice to demonstrate that you are qualified to certify. For more information please email closedschools@camtc.org.

Q: My massage training was completed outside the U.S. Will you accept my education hours?
The CAMTC Board of Directors has adopted an official policy on out-of-country transcripts.

Q: What does certification entitle me to do? Can I use "massage machines" or other specialized techniques?
The Massage Therapy Act does not define the legal scope of practice for certified massage professionals. However, Business and Professions Code section 4601(e) defines massage as, "the scientific manipulation of the soft tissues." It further states that, for the purposes of the Massage Therapy Act, "the terms 'massage' and 'bodywork' shall have the same meaning."

Q: Can I use my license from another state to get certified in California?
If your current license is from a state whose licensing requirements meet or exceed CAMTC's requirements for certification, you may be eligible for certification by CAMTC.

Q: Do I have to be fingerprinted?
Yes, there is a fingerprinting and background check required with each application. Even if you have been fingerprinted recently, you will need to have it done again with our Live Scan Form so that we can receive the results. Fees vary, but they will include a Department of Justice fee, as well as the Live Scan fee. Fingerprints are only required with your initial certification, not for recertifications. NOTE: Police and Sherriff stations may be more experienced in securing legible fingerprints from massage professionals with thin or worn ridges in the pattern area.

Q: If I become certified, will I still need to get a business license?
If you own your own business (which includes being self-employed or operating as an independent contractor), most cities require that you have a business license. Check with the agency in your city that issues business licenses to determine whether one is required - usually the finance department.

Local cities and counties cannot require an individual certified by CAMTC to obtain any other license, permit, certificate, or other authorization to provide massage for compensation. Therefore, if you are a W-2 employee working at another person's business, you do not need a business license. However, cities and counties may require that massage businesses obtain a license, permit, certificate, or other authorization in order to operate.

Q: How often will my certificate have to be renewed?
Your certificate is good for two years. You must recertify every two years by submitting a recertification application before your current certificate expires. It is your responsibility to submit a fully completed application for recertification and ensure that it is received by CAMTC before the expiration date listed on your certificate. If your recertification application is received after your certificate expires but before six months have elapsed since your certificate expired, you will be charged a late fee of up to $90. If you let your certificate lapse for six months or longer, you will need to reapply as a new applicant and must meet the requirements for certification that exist at the time your application is received. Under no circumstances can CAMTC waive the late fee or policy noted above.

Q: Can I still use the title HHP?
The HHP certificate from your school carries no legal meaning outside of a city that recognizes the HHP. It was issued by a massage school and reflects a level of massage training. If you are not certified by CAMTC, you cannot call yourself or use the initials of a Certified Massage Therapist (CMT), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), or Certified Massage Practitioner (CMP); but the HHP title will still be valid.

Q: If I am enrolled in a massage program that is longer than 500 hours, can I apply for CAMTC certification after I have completed 500 hours of education but before I have completed my entire massage program?
It depends. In order to be certified, CAMTC must receive an original transcript from your school showing that you have met the educational requirements for certification. This includes completion of 500 hours of education and the core curriculum requirements (a minimum of 100 hours in anatomy, physiology, contraindications, health and hygiene, and business and ethics). If your school is willing to provide an original transcript to CAMTC showing that you have completed a minimum of 500 hours of education and the core curriculum requirements, even though you have not completed your entire massage program, assuming your school is a CAMTC approved school and there are no other issues, CAMTC will accept that transcript for certification purposes.

Q: How can I get a replacement certificate or ID?
If you have lost your certificate or ID, you can purchase a reprint for one or both of these items. If you have moved to a new city, you must re-print your ID card. If you have changed your name, you must re-print your certificate and ID. If you are requesting a reprint of an ID and/or certificate because of a name change, you must send a copy of the divorce or marriage certificate or other legally binding name change document to: CAMTC, One Capitol Mall - Suite 800, Sacramento, CA 95814. By Law, you must display your original certificate at each work location. If you work at more than one location, you may purchase an original certificate from CAMTC for each location.

Q: If I receive a proposed denial letter, what is the process to challenge the proposed denial?
If the Professional Standards Division, after reviewing your application, determines that it should be denied, you will be sent a letter notifying you of the reasons for the proposed denial. It is very important that you follow the procedures outlined in your letter, including meeting all of the deadlines identified in the letter and communicating with CAMTC through the email address identified in the letter. Applicants who are propose denied certification will be given at least 15 days prior notice of their opportunity to be heard, either orally or in writing. The current fees are: $90 for consideration of a written statement and $135 for an oral hearing - but please be sure to check your letter. If the proposed decision to deny is upheld, it will not become final and effective until at least five days after the opportunity to be heard. The hearing will be held, or the written statement considered, by the Professional Standards Division, which is authorized to determine whether denial of certification should occur. The decision of the Professional Standards Division is final. Click here for more information.

NOTE: An applicant who is denied certification may re-apply for certification TWO (2) YEARS after the effective date of the certificate denial. CAMTC has the information you have previously submitted and it will be considered along with your new application. It's important to submit any NEW evidence or information you have in support of your application. However if you have no additional evidence to submit, or there has not been a relevant change in circumstance, you may be denied again. Please also note, as of January 1, 2015, CAMTC's law has changed and additional basis for denial and discipline have been added.

 

Employers and Massage Business Owners

*Legal Notice regarding FAQs: These FAQs are provided as a service to individuals and businesses interested in CAMTC certification. However, these FAQs are not intended as, nor a substitute for, legal advice. Individuals and businesses with questions regarding CAMTC's enabling statutes, California Business and Professions Code sections 460, 4600 et. seq., Government Code section 51034, and/or the rules pertaining to various local jurisdictions should consult their own experienced legal counsel.

Q: Will a city be able to require various permits (other than a city business license) for CAMTC certified massage professionals who want to start their own business and hire/contract with massage professionals if ALL of the massage professionals have certification from CAMTC?
As of January 1, 2015, the law applicable to CAMTC certificate holders and massage businesses has changed significantly. The changes in law specify that CAMTC has jurisdiction over individuals (applicants and certificate holders), but jurisdiction over massage businesses is vested in the cities and counties. The fact that all of those who provide massage for compensation on your business premises are certified no longer exempts your business from a city or county's permitting requirements.

However, local cities and counties cannot require an individual certified by CAMTC to obtain any other license, permit, certificate, or other authorization to provide massage for compensation. Cities and counties may require that massage businesses obtain a license, permit, certificate, or other authorization in order to operate. But a city or county's discretion to require other authorizations from massage businesses is not unlimited. Business and Professions Code section 4600.5(c) provides that, "It is the intent of the Legislature that local governments impose and enforce only reasonable and necessary fees and regulations, in keeping with the requirements of existing law and being mindful of the need to protect legitimate business owners and massage professionals, particularly sole providers, during the transition period after this act becomes law and thereafter for the sake of developing a healthy and vibrant local economy." (Emphasis added.)

Additionally, while it is clear that a city or county can impose a requirement for a business license on a massage business (which includes independent contractors or owner of massage businesses), the law does not allow a city or county to impose the requirement for a massage establishment permit or registration with the police for independent contractors or sole providers in certain circumstances. Business and Professions Code section 4601(f) defines a "massage establishment" or "establishment" as a "fixed location where massage is performed for compensation, excluding those locations where massage is only provided on an out-call basis." Government Code section 51034(c)(8) provides that cities and counties may require "by ordinance that a massage business or establishment obtain a license, permit, certificate, or other authorization in order to operate lawfully within the jurisdiction." However, Business and Professions Code section 4600.5(c) makes it clear that cities and counties are only to impose reasonable and necessary fees and regulations. Reading all of these provisions together, it is clear that cities and counties are directed to not impose oppressive and unnecessary requirements for massage establishment permits or registration with the police. In situations where multiple independent contractors are working out of ONE fixed business location, then that is the massage establishment and that is the business that can be required to have a massage establishment permit or register with the police, not each individual working out of that establishment, even if they are each independent contractors or sole providers.

If you are opening a new massage business, you will need to comply with zoning, land use, and health and safety regulations in your city or county to the extent that they are not in conflict with the Massage Therapy Act. Check with the agency in your city that issues business licenses, usually the finance or planning department to see what requirements are applicable to your business. You should also make sure to understand the Massage Therapy Act: California Business and Professions Code sections 460, 4600-4621, and Government Code section 51034. We are working to achieve consistent implementation of the law throughout the state. If you believe that you are being given erroneous information, or the city or county is not recognizing your certification, or if you have questions regarding business regulations for massage professionals, please contact the Director of Governmental Affairs, Beverly May at bmay@camtc.org.

Q: How do I know if my employees are CAMTC certified?
Use our online form to verify that an individual's CAMTC certification is currently active and valid. It is important that you go online and check that an individual is currently certified before agreeing to have them work for you. Just because they physically possess a CAMTC certificate, it may not currently be valid or active. The only way to know that a CAMTC certificate is valid and active is to check the website. Additionally, those who have applied for CAMTC certification or recertification, but are waiting to hear whether the certification or recertification will be granted, are not certified and therefore cannot work pursuant to a CAMTC certificate because they do not possess a valid or active certificate.

 

Massage Schools

*Legal Notice regarding FAQs: These FAQs are provided as a service to individuals and businesses interested in CAMTC certification. However, these FAQs are not intended as, nor a substitute for, legal advice. Individuals and businesses with questions regarding CAMTC's enabling statutes, California Business and Professions Code sections 460, 4600 et. seq., Government Code section 51034, and/or the rules pertaining to various local jurisdictions should consult their own experienced legal counsel.

Q: How does the new Massage Therapy Act affect massage schools?
As of January 1, 2015, applicants may only apply for certification as a Certified Massage Therapist (CMT). In order to meet the educational requirements in the law for certification as a CMT, an individual must have a minimum of 500 hours of education from CAMTC approved schools. Of those 500 hours, a minimum of 100 hours must be in anatomy and physiology, contraindications, health and hygiene, and business and ethics. California massage schools are generally considered to be CAMTC approved unless they have been un-approved by CAMTC. The list of un-approved massage schools can be found on CAMTC's website.

The new Massage Therapy Act also specifies that CAMTC is to develop policies, procedures, rules, and bylaws for the requirements and processes for the approval and unapproval of schools. CAMTC has already developed policies and procedures for the un-approval of schools, the latest version of which can be found here. CAMTC has also been directed to address topics including but not limited to the following: "what constitutes an acceptable curriculum, facility requirements, student-teacher ratios, clinical practice requirements, and provisions for the acceptance of accreditation from a recognized accreditation body or other form of acceptance." (Business and Professions Code section 4615(b).) CAMTC is currently working on developing policies and procedures for the approval of massage schools.

Q: Why does CAMTC not accept transcripts from some schools?
CAMTC only accepts education from CAMTC approved schools, which are those schools that meet the definition of an "approved school" in California Business and Professions Code section 4601(a). To meet the definition of a CAMTC "approved school," the school must be both "approved by the council" AND approved by one of the organizations listed in Business and Professions Code section 4601(a)(1)-(5), which includes the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). Failure to meet one of the two prongs of this test means that CAMTC cannot accept education from that school. CAMTC does not accept education from schools that it has un-approved after the effective date of un-approval. You can view a list of un-approved schools here. CAMTC also has the right to investigate any applicant's education if it has a reason to question whether the education listed on the transcript was actually received.

Q: How does CAMTC determine if a school is "approved"?
Schools are generally considered to be CAMTC approved as long as they meet the definition of an approved school in California Business and Professions Code section 4601(a). To meet the definition of a CAMTC "approved school," the school must be both "approved by the council" AND approved by one of the organizations listed in Business and Professions Code section 4601(a)(1)-(5), which includes the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). Failure to meet one of the two prongs of this test means that CAMTC cannot accept education from that school. CAMTC does not accept education from schools that it has un-approved after the effective date of un-approval. You can view a list of un-approved schools here. CAMTC's polices and procedures for un-approval of schools can be found here. CAMTC is currently working on policies and procedures related to the approval of massage schools.

Q: How will an applicant know if CAMTC will accept education hours from the massage school they attended?
In order to determine if your school is a CAMTC approved school, please go to CAMTC's website here for a list of un-approved schools and determine if the school you attended is listed. If it is listed as an un-approved school, and the effective date of unapproval has passed, you may not use education from this school for CAMTC certification. If your school is listed under the "Inadequate Education" list, you may apply for certification with education from this school, but you must provide additional proof of adequate education in order to prove that you have completed all of the education listed on your transcript.

Additionally, in order to meet the educational requirements for certification you must have completed a minimum of 500 hours of education and a minimum of 100 of those 500 hours must be in anatomy, physiology, contraindications, health and hygiene, and business and ethics.

 

Local Government Agencies

*Legal Notice regarding FAQs: These FAQs are provided as a service to individuals and businesses interested in CAMTC certification. However, these FAQs are not intended as, nor a substitute for, legal advice. Individuals and businesses with questions regarding CAMTC's enabling statutes, California Business and Professions Code sections 460, 4600 et. seq., Government Code section 51034, and/or the rules pertaining to various local jurisdictions should consult their own experienced legal counsel.

Q: Why was CAMTC created?
Business and Professions Code section 4600.5. (a) provides the following: "It is the intent of the Legislature that this act enable consumers and local governments to more easily identify certified massage professionals, provide for consistent statewide certification and oversight of massage professionals, ensure that schools approved by the council that are teaching massage provide a high level of training, assist local governments and law enforcement in meeting their duty to maintain the highest standards of conduct in massage establishments by vetting and disciplining certificate holders, provide for a self-funded nonprofit oversight body to certify massage professionals, and ensure full compliance with, and execution of, the requirements of this act."

Q: How does CAMTC check a massage professional's background?
CAMTC requires the submission of fingerprint images and related information to the Department of Justice and FBI and requests current and subsequent arrest notification services as provided under section 11105.2 of the Penal Code. CAMTC also requires applicants to self-report convictions, any administrative or civil action against a local permit, or other professional permits or licenses on the CAMTC application, and complaints made against them. CAMTC also contacts the cities and counties in which the applicant has lived and worked, in the past 10 years for additional information. CAMTC also has the authority to investigate an applicant or certificate holder's background.

Q: How does the CAMTC certificate affect a government agency's ability to regulate a massage professional?
CAMTC certificate holders are protected from certain regulations that cities and counties may impose on other massage professionals. Government Code section 51034 generally identifies regulations that cities and counties may not impose on CAMTC certified massage professionals. It generally provides, among other things, that cities and counties may not require a CAMTC certified individual to: take any test, medical exam, background check, or comply with educational requirements beyond what is required for CAMTC certification; obtain any other license, permit, certificate, or other authorization to provide massage for compensation; comply with a dress code requirement beyond what is specified in Business and Professions Code section 4609(a)(10); or prohibit massage of the gluteal muscles or other massage techniques identified by CAMTC as legitimate. Additionally, Government Code section 51034 generally identifies regulations that cities and counties may not impose on massage businesses, including but not limited to defining or regulating massage businesses as adult entertainment.

Furthermore, Business and Professions Code section 460(a) generally provides that no city or county shall prohibit a person or group of persons certified by CAMTC from engaging in their business, occupation, or profession, or any portion of that business, occupation, or profession. CAMTC interprets this provision to mean that cities and counties cannot completely ban CAMTC certificate holders from engaging in the business of massage, impose moratoriums on the massage businesses of CAMTC certificate holders (including stopping them from replacing certificate holders that have left the business or expanding the business), place caps on the number of massage businesses of CAMTC certificate holders in a jurisdiction, nor can a city or county completely ban the provision of outcall massage services or other portions of a massage business without violating this provision of law. Business and Professions Code section 460(b) also generally provides that no city or county shall prohibit a person certified by CAMTC from engaging in any act or performing any procedure that falls within their professionally recognized scope of practice.

Q: How will I know if a CAMTC certificate is legitimate?
You can view a sample certificate and a sample ID card here. You can also verify the status of a particular certificate by using the online form or by contacting CAMTC. City and county staff can also request access to CAMTC's website for law enforcement, which is a secure site where you can verify certification, see the photo that is on the certificate holder's ID card, and view other relevant information. To register please contact Sheryl LaFlamme at: slaflamme@amgroup.us.

Q: How can we stay informed on CAMTC activities and certifications issued to massage therapists practicing in our area?
If you are directly involved with enforcing massage regulations in your area, you should contact CAMTC Operations Manager Sheryl LaFlamme at slaflamme@amgroup.us, and set up a designated contact to receive information about those who are applying for, or who have received, certification in your area. You will be given access to all pertinent data and receive updates from CAMTC about new applicants. You will also be able to contact us directly with questions or concerns you may have about an applicant. You are welcome to register more than one person in the city or county for these notices and access to the secure area of the CAMTC website.

Q: We are working on revising our city codes regarding massage professionals. Have any other cities shared their code changes with you?
Yes. Please contact the CAMTC Director of Governmental Affairs, Beverly May at bmay@camtc.org.

Q: We are planning to require CAMTC certification for all massage professionals in our city. Can we stop issuing permits?
That is a decision your jurisdiction has the authority to make. Typically permitted massage therapists are given at least 6 months to come into compliance.

Q: Can we still require massage professionals to obtain city licenses and permits?
Local cities and counties cannot require an individual certified by CAMTC to obtain any other license, permit, certificate, or other authorization to provide massage for compensation. However, cities and counties may require that massage businesses obtain a license, permit, certificate, or other authorization in order to operate. In most cities and counties a business license is required for each massage business.

Q: Now that this process is in place, how will local agencies benefit?
CAMTC is handling the certification process. CAMTC's review of presented credentials for each applicant will give local jurisdictions the benefit of our professional evaluation of training, education and experience, and will make the titles of CMT and CMP consistent throughout the state. CAMTC is also working with law enforcement to ensure that adequate background investigations and arrest monitoring takes place. CAMTC is in a unique position to obtain information and determine patterns throughout the state.

Q: What about massage professionals who do not have CAMTC certification?
Massage professionals who choose not to apply (or who do not qualify) for certification can work in any jurisdiction that does not require certification. They will be required to comply with any local massage regulations. However, most massage professionals will find that being able to operate with a single massage certification statewide is preferable.

 

FAQ'S Relating to Complaints

*Legal Notice regarding FAQs: These FAQs are provided as a service to individuals and businesses interested in CAMTC certification. However, these FAQs are not intended as, nor a substitute for, legal advice. Individuals and businesses with questions regarding CAMTC's enabling statutes, California Business and Professions Code sections 460, 4600 et. seq., Government Code section 51034, and/or the rules pertaining to various local jurisdictions should consult their own experienced legal counsel.

Q: Are all California massage professionals required to be CAMTC certified?
No, CAMTC is a private nonprofit organization that provides voluntary certification to qualified individuals.

Q: How do I check to see if a massage professional is CAMTC certified?
Go to the home page for CAMTC.org and click on the VERIFY CERTIFICATION link to search for an individual to see if they are CAMTC certified.

CAMTC certificate holders are required to prominently display their original certification at their place of work. CAMTC certificate holders are also required to have their CAMTC ID card in their possession while they are working and to produce it if requested.

Q: Can I file a complaint by phone?
No. All complaints must be submitted in writing by going to the following link and following the directions: https://camtc.org/Complaints.aspx. CAMTC does not accept anonymous complaints.

Q: What authority does CAMTC have regarding complaints?
CAMTC has the authority to conduct an investigation into the conduct of CAMTC certified massage professionals and applicants. CAMTC only has authority over CAMTC applicants and certificate holders, and does not have authority over other massage providers. CAMTC is authorized to take disciplinary action (up to and including revocation of certification) against certificate holders and deny applicants. Criminal investigations are conducted by law enforcement agencies, not CAMTC.

Q: Can CAMTC resolve a financial dispute between a certified massage professional and a client?
No. CAMTC does not get involved in monetary disputes.

Q: Can CAMTC investigate a massage establishment or their business practices?
No. CAMTC is a private nonprofit organization that provides voluntary certification to qualified individuals. It does not have authority over businesses. If you suspect criminal activity, you may report it to your local police department. If you suspect health code violations, please contact the local city or county department of health.

Q: Can I file a complaint about a certified massage professional without providing my name or contact information?
No. CAMTC does not investigate anonymous complaints.

Q: Can I file a complaint if I feel I was sexually assaulted or touched inappropriately during a massage by a CAMTC certified massage professional?
Yes. CAMTC takes these complaints very seriously. File a complaint using the CAMTC COMPLAINT LINK, https://camtc.org/Complaints.aspx, and include as much detail as possible (i.e. massage professional's name, certificate number if known, date and time of the occurrence, location/address of the occurrence, and details of the incident).

Q: If I believe I was sexually assaulted during a massage, can I file a police report?
Yes. In addition to filing a complaint with CAMTC, you can report the incident to your local police department.

Q: If I file a police report does the police department automatically notify CAMTC?
No. There is no legal requirement that the police notify CAMTC of a complaint against a certified massage professional. You should file a complaint with CAMTC using the CAMTC COMPLAINT LINK, https://camtc.org/Complaints.aspx, and include as much detail as possible (i.e. massage professional's name, certificate number if known, date and time of the occurrence, location/address of the occurrence, and details of the incident).

Q: If I file a complaint with CAMTC, does CAMTC notify the police department?
No. You get to decide whether or not you file a police report.

Q: If I file a complaint using the complaint link, how long does it take CAMTC to acknowledge receipt of the complaint?
You will immediately receive an email message letting you know that your complaint was received. You will also generally receive acknowledgment of your complaint by a member of the Professional Standards Division within 2-3 business days.