Massage standards vary significantly from state to state. Massage schools in Michigan face different standards than those in our home state of Oregon. As of March of 2014, twenty-six states required fingerprinting and background checks for massage licensure or certification. On July 1st, Florida joined this group, passing a law to set up fingerprinting for massage therapists. Today we’re taking a look at which states require criminal background checks.

Our home state of Oregon requires fingerprints for first-time licensure applicants, but it does not currently require additional rounds of fingerprinting for renewals. The exception is coming back from inactive status—then the state does require a fresh set of fingerprinting and background checking.

The background check consists of a state and federal investigation. The Oregon State Police conduct a background check, and then forwards it to the FBI for an additional background check. If there is an arrest or conviction in the person’s history, the Oregon massage board requests additional information, such as copies of police reports. The applicant is not automatically disqualified for having a criminal record, but improperly or inaccurately reporting criminal history can delay or restrict the licensure process.

Not every state requires background checks for massage certification or licensure. Whether or not you will have to submit fingerprints for a background check depends on where you practice after massage school. Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and twenty three other states do require fingerprinting and background checks.

As a Portland, Oregon massage school, we teach to Oregon’s massage licensure requirements: a written exam, a practical exam, an additional jurisprudence exam, CPR training, and a background check, in addition to 500 hours of education at a state-approved school. East West College is accredited by the Oregon Board of Massate Therapists and exceeds the Oregon standards with COMTA accreditation.