Ready to become a massage therapist but not sure how to start? Becoming a massage therapist involves a few steps that must be completed before performing your first massage session with a client. In order to take the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) test, you must first graduate from an approved massage therapy program. Most massage therapy programs take around 12 months to complete if attending full-time, but the MSC program allows students to study on a part-time schedule. The goal of the massage therapy program is to prepare you for the MBLEx test with both classroom learning and hands-on experience. Once you have passed the MBLEx test, you apply for a license from your state, county or municipality licensing board.
Who Administers the MBLEx Test?
The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) administers the MBLEx test. The FSMTB is a non-profit organization that is comprised of state boards and agencies who regulate massage practices. Their goal is to maintain and improve the quality of massage and to administer the test that allows massage therapists to show competency in the massage craft. After graduating from a massage therapy program, you will apply to the FSMTB for an account and authorization to take the MBLEx test.
How do I Study for the MBLEx test?
There are many ways to study for the MBLEx test. The quickest and easiest way to study is by attending a massage therapy program. Not only do you get the education and diploma you need to meet the requirements, but you can create long lasting relationships with classmates, ask instructors questions and get hands-on experience.
Attend a Massage Therapy Program
A massage therapy program at a vocational school prepares you to take the MBLEx test. The curriculum around the massage therapy program is designed specifically to aid students in taking the MBLEx test. In addition to the content on the MBLEx test, the massage therapy diploma program also teaches Swedish and relaxation techniques, rehabilitation and advanced massage techniques, and an introduction to spa techniques. This program is part classroom and part hands-on training.
Create a Study Group
All of those friends you made during class will need to study for the MBLEx test as well. You can create a study group and study for the test together. Develop practice tests, quiz each other, or create flashcards to study. It is always easier to study with others, rather than alone.
Ask Instructors Questions
Another advantage to attending a massage therapy program is that the instructors are industry experienced and ready to give one-on-one attention to you while you work on your massage techniques. During your massage therapy program, you can ask questions that will help you prepare for the MBLEx test.
Get Hands-on Experience
It is important to not only read about massage therapy but to experience it first-hand. It will be easier to remember massage techniques, body systems, and client assessment when you take the time to experience massage for yourself. Using all of your senses will help you prepare for the MBLEx test.
What is on the MBLEx test?
The MBLEx test content is comprised of seven sections. You will have 110 minutes to complete a 100-item multiple choice examination. The MBLEx test will include the following topics:
Anatomy & Physiology – focused on the twelve body systems both for structure and function. Additional questions focus on tissue injury, tissue repair and the concepts of energetic anatomy.
Kinesiology – this section focuses on the body’s muscles and joints. Particular to muscles are the components and characteristics of muscles, the concepts of muscle contractions, proprioceptors, and locations, attachments, actions and fiber directions of muscles. For joints, this section focuses on their structure and function. Further emphasis is placed on range of motion, and is broken down into active, passive and resistant range of motion.
Pathology – this section focuses on an overview of pathologies, contraindications, areas of caution, special populations and classes of medication.
Soft Tissue Manipulation Technique Benefits – this section tests massage therapists on the physiological effects of soft tissue manipulation, the benefits of touch, benefits of soft tissue manipulation for special populations, soft tissue techniques, hot/cold applications, and bodywork modalities.
Client Assessment Reassessment & Treatment Planning – this section focuses on the organization of massage sessions, how to consult and evaluate clients, data collection, visual assessment, palpation assessment, range of motion assessment, and clinical reasoning.
Ethics, Boundaries, Laws and Regulations – massage therapists will be tested on ethical behavior, professional boundaries, what a code of ethics violation is, a massage therapist’s therapeutic relationship with clients, sexual misconduct, laws and regulations, scope of massage practice, how to communicate professionally, keeping client information confidential, and proper principles of massage.
Guidelines for Professional Practice – massage therapist will be tested on proper and safe use of massage equipment and supplies, hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness, safety practices, how to take care of oneself as a massage therapist, proper draping, how to run a massage business, and terminology of the healthcare and business sectors.
What Happens After I Pass the MBLEx Test?
Your exam scores will be sent to the licensing board and identify your state that results are to be issued to after completing the test. Every licensed massage therapist must graduate with a diploma from an approved massage therapy program, pass the MBLEx test and apply for a license. Not until all of these steps are complete can you perform a massage session with a client.
Ready to become a massage therapist? Then, it is time to learn more about the massage therapy program at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our program prepares you to take the MBLEx test through classroom learning, practice tests and hands-on instruction. Passing the MBLEx test is a requirement for becoming a massage therapist so take the time to learn everything you will need to be a successful massage therapist. You will be glad you did.
Want to Learn More?
If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months with part time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.
*Completion time for this program is defined by up to 17.5 hours per week.