The professional practice of massage is regulated in 36 states (as of October 2006). Of these states, 33 require aspiring massage therapists to be certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) in order to gain state licensure.
Certification is required to gain initial licensure, but continuing education is required for massage therapists to maintain licensure. To maintain the NCBTMB credential, a massage therapist must perform 200 hours minimum of therapeutic massage in four years and complete 48 hours of continuing education in that time.
Most states also have their own individual requirements in addition to the NCBTMB certification. MassageTherapy.com maintains a list of state boards and their continuing education requirements that range from as few as 12 hours every two years to as much as 24 hours every year.
NCBTMB offers the Approved Provider Course Search an active database on their website in which massage therapists can search for approved providers of continuing education in their area. Online study is also an option approved by many states. Massage Online Professor is one such resource for picking up continuing education credits online.