Did you know that Oregon’s massage licensing requirements are different during COVID-19 lockdowns? Like many states, the Oregon State Board of Massage Therapy instituted a temporary rules suspension during the coronavirus pandemic. This suspension applies to license renewal requirements, including massage therapy continuing education hours. Read on to learn how Oregon’s rules suspension works, as well as a brief review of other states with COVID changes, including Washington. To close, we’ll suggest continuing education credit options available during the Coronavirus era.
Oregon’s Massage Licensing Requirements during Coronavirus Lockdowns
On March 24th of 2020, the Oregon State Board of Massage Therapists announced a rules suspension regarding LMT license renewals. This rules suspension will continue until Oregon’s state of emergency is lifted. Recently, the governor extended the state of emergency through March 3, 2021.
During the state of emergency, the Board has temporarily allowed more flexibility for license renewals, as outlined below.
- Late fees are waived. If therapists are unable to renew their license on time, they will not face a financial penalty. However, LMTs without a current license cannot continue to practice in the state until their licensure is again valid. If an LMT does not complete licensure renewal requirements by the last day of their birth month, their license will lapse.
- Reduced Continuing Education Requirements. While each massage certification program must abide by pre-pandemic licensure guidelines, LMTs who are renewing their licenses must obtain just half the typical number of Continuing Education (CE) hours. Rather than 25 hours of CE, licensure applicants must complete 12 hours if their renewal application forms are received in the Board office before the statewide emergency status is lifted. (Note: The Board’s address has recently changed to 610 Hawthorne Ave SE, Ste. 220, Salem, OR.)
- “Contact” or “Classroom” Hours Requirement Eliminated. During the state of emergency, the 12 requisite CE hours do not have to be completed in “contact” classes. In other words, CE classes do not have to be in person.
- Ethics, Boundaries, and Communications CE requirement suspended. Normally, LMTs must complete four hours of CE on Ethics, Boundaries and Communication for license renewal. During the COVID-19-induced emergency, this requirement is waived.
Despite all the changes induced by the pandemic, some things have not changed when it comes to massage therapy in Oregon:
Application Due Dates. LMT renewal applications are still due on the 1st of each therapist’s birth month.
Cultural Competency CE Required. At least one hour of cultural competency CE is still needed to renew a license, even during the statewide emergency.
The Pain Management Module, which is posted on the board’s website and provided by the Oregon Pain Management Commission, still must be completed, and counts as 1 hour toward the 12 hours needed for massage therapy licensure renewal.
Basic Life Support certification, including CPR, is still compulsory, and also counts toward the 12 obligatory hours of CE.
Any licensure renewal applications received after the statewide emergency has been lifted must meet pre-pandemic conditions, including 25 hours of CE.
The Beaver State is not alone in the decision to change massage licensing and renewal requirements during the COVID-19 crisis. Contact hours are suspended or altered in several other states as well.
Coronavirus-Prompted Massage Licensing Changes in Other States
The Board of Massage in the Evergreen State announced adjusted continuing education requirements last June; those adjustments were recently extended through June 30th of 2021, or until Washington’s statewide emergency is rescinded. Similar to Oregon, Washington suspended in-person massage therapy continuing education requirements, and instead allows therapists to put 20 hours (rather than 12) toward attending Board Meetings, CPR classes, and client ethics, boundaries, and communication.
The Keystone State has altered the requirements for initial massage therapy licensure. While West Coast massage schools must still abide by requirements for in-person hours, Pennsylvania has shifted stipulations during the Coronavirus emergency. Whereas LMTs previously had to obtain 600 hours of their training in-person, now aspiring LMTs can obtain up to 100 hours online in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and pathology, and up to 25 hours online in massage therapy ethics, business, and law.
Transitioning Successfully Out of COVID Lockdown: Massage CE Options
While many state massage boards have allowed more leeway in licensing and renewals, grace periods will eventually come to an end, and therapists will need to show that they are in compliance. How can massage therapists get CE at this time?
Here in Portland, East West College is offering continuing education on everything you need for licensure renewal. From “The Art of Boundaries” to “Kinesiology and Pathology of the Feet” to “Cultural Competency for Massage Therapists” to “Insurance Credentialing,” we have an array of upcoming massage therapy continuing education classes to pique your interest and tick off your licensure renewal boxes. Please visit our Continuing Education website to learn more.