Board of Massage Therapy - Frequently Asked Questions

License Application

How can I apply for a license?

See "Apply, Renew, Reactivate" listed on the left.

If I am not approved for licensure in Iowa, will I receive my application fee back?

No, application fees are non-refundable.

Name & Address Changes

How can I make an address and/or name change?

Any time there is an address and/or name change, it is up to you to let the board office know within 30 days of the change. Complete the "Name & Address Change" form available on this site.

Duplicate Certificate or Wallet Card

How can I get a duplicate license?

You can request a duplicate license and/or wallet card by accessing the Board’s online services webpage at: https://ibplicense.iowa.gov/mystatus. Use your @iowaID account and password to sign in. If you forgot your password, click on Forgot Password link located at the top of the Sign In page. Once logged in to your account, click on the [Online Services] link located at the bottom left of the My Licenses page. Select the Online Service of either Request Certificate or Request Wallet Card. Provide Reason for Request. Do not upload any attachments on the following screen. Complete the process by following the prompts on the screen. Once payment has been made, the document(s) will be mailed the following business day. The fee is $20.00 per request

Or complete the "Application for Duplicate License" and mail it along with the correct fee.

Continuing Education

Where can I find information about continuing education?

See the "Continuing Education" page on this site for specific information regarding your continuing education.


You can renew your license up to 60 days before your current license expires.

Renewal notifications will be emailed to your email address on file with the board at 60, 50, 40 and 30 days prior to the license expiration date. If you have not renewed your license 20 days prior to the license expiration date, a postcard will be mailed to your mailing address on file.  

See the "Renew" page on this website for more information.

Can I use the extra continuing education hours that I earned from my previous renewal for the present renewal?

The only time this is allowed is for your second renewal.

For those newly licensed, continuing education is not required for the first license renewal. Any continuing education hours obtained anytime from the initial licensing date may be used for the second license renewal. After the second renewal, licensees are required to complete the full number of required continuing education hours within each compliance period. For more information see "Continuing Education" page on this website.

When does my license expire?

You can find the license expiration date on your most recent wallet card.

What is the license renewal fee?

See Chapter 5 under "Laws and Rules" listed on the left.

What are the required courses for mandatory reporters of child and adult abuse?

Practicing Massage Therapy

When is a license required to give a massage? 

A person must hold an active Iowa massage therapy license in order to perform, for compensation, massage, myotherapy, massotherapy, bodywork, bodywork therapy, or therapeutic massage including hydrotherapy, superficial hot and cold applications, vibration and topical applications, or other therapies which involve manipulation of the muscle and connective tissue of the body, excluding osseous tissue, to treat the muscle tonus system for the purpose of enhancing health, muscle relaxation, increasing range of motion, reducing stress, relieving pain, or improving circulation.  For the exceptions to licensure requirements, please see Iowa Code section 152C.9.  

Can current students in a massage therapy education program practice massage therapy without a license? 

If a student is actively enrolled in a board-approved educational program, the student may practice massage therapy if (1) the services are provided as part of completing clinical requirements for graduation, and (2) the student is under the supervision of a person who holds an active Iowa massage therapy license.  See Iowa Code § 152C.9(3). 

If a student or former student has completed the clinical requirements at a massage therapy education program but not yet received a license, can they practice massage therapy under the supervision of a licensed massage therapist? 

No. Students who have graduated from, or completed the clinical requirements at, an educational program may not practice massage therapy without a license, regardless of any supervision. Unless the individual falls within one of the exceptions to licensure listed in Iowa Code section 152C.9, a license is required to practice massage therapy. 

Can a licensee be disciplined for allowing a person to practice massage therapy without a license? 

Yes. A licensee may be disciplined by the Board for knowingly aiding, assisting, procuring, or advising a person to unlawfully practice as a massage therapist. See 645 Iowa Administrative Code rule 134.2(23). 

Can I practice massage therapy on animals?

The Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine regulates practice on animals. The Board of Veterinary Medicine has determined that persons other than Iowa licensed veterinarians may perform for others, for a fee, animal massage for relaxation only. Persons other than Iowa licensed veterinarians are not allowed to perform animal massage for therapeutic purposes or to diagnose, treat, correct, change, relieve or prevent, for a fee, any animal disease, deformity, defect, injury or other physical or mental conditions or cosmetic surgery; including the prescription or administration of any drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, application, anesthetic, or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance or technique, for a fee; or to evaluate or correct sterility or infertility, for a fee; or to render, advise or recommend for a fee with regard to any of the above. 

The Board of Veterinary Medicine strongly suggests that your business website, business cards, letterhead, brochures, Facebook Account and any other forms of advertising be changed from therapy to relaxation and include this suggested language: “I do recognize the benefits of animal massage for relaxation, please be aware that the services offered by [NAME] are not considered medical procedures and are not meant to diagnose, treat, correct, relieve or prevent medical conditions and, most importantly, are not meant to replace regular veterinary care”.

License Reactivation

How can I reactivate my license?

See the "Reactivation" page on this website for more information.

List of Licensees

You can download a list of licensees at any time.  Select the tutorial below for step by step instructions.

Exporting a List of Licensees PDF

Licensure in other States

What are the requirements for licensure in another state?

You will need to contact the board in that state and find out the requirements. Our verification fee for verifying your license to another state is $20.00. Include a money order or cashier's check for that amount along with your written request. Make check payable to your specific board (e.g., Iowa Board of Athletic Training).

License Verification

How do I verify a license for a licensed professional?

Go to https://IBPlicense.iowa.gov and select License Search. Insert your name or license number. Select your profession from the dropdown list. You may print a copy of your licensure status by selecting Print.

Disclaimer: The Bureau is responsible for maintaining all of the information on the website, including licensure information and public disciplinary action. The information provided on the website is the same information provided through verbal and mail verification, and is true and complete to the best of our knowledge.

The professional boards require primary source verification of credentials prior to issuing a license in this state. The Bureau believes this site is appropriate for verification information, but is not responsible for determining appropriateness of information compared to standards of any given organization or program.

Inactive License

How do I put my license on hold?

It is not necessary to place your license on hold. If you do not renew your license by 30 days after the license expiration date, it will automatically be placed on inactive status.

Unethical conduct

Licensed massage therapists may not engage in unethical conduct while practicing massage.  See Iowa Admin. Code r. 645-134.2(28).  The Board has previously disciplined licensees for engaging in unethical conduct and has imposed sanctions that range from requiring continuing education to license revocation. Below are some examples of instances of unethical conduct that have resulted in disciplinary action by the Board. 

Rule 645-134.2(28) Unethical conduct. In accordance with Iowa Code section 147.55(3), behavior (i.e. acts, knowledge, and practices) which constitutes unethical conduct may include, but need not be limited to, the following:

a. Verbally or physically abusing a client or coworker.

b. Improper sexual contact with, or making suggestive, lewd, lascivious or improper remarks or advances to a client or coworker.

c. Betrayal of a professional confidence.

d. Engaging in a professional conflict of interest.

e. Promotion for personal gain of an unnecessary drug, device, treatment, procedure, or service or directing or requiring an individual to purchase or secure a drug, device, treatment, procedure, or service from a person, place, facility, or business in which the licensee has a financial interest.

Examples of violations of rule 645-134.2(28) that have resulted in disciplinary action by the board:

  • Touching a female client’s breasts for a non-therapeutic purpose (MT Case No. 17-0116)
  • Making suggestive remarks to a client during the course of a massage (MT Case Nos. 16-0233, 16-0323)
  • Inserting fingers into a client’s vagina without her consent and for a non-therapeutic reason (MT Case No. 16-0033)
  • Improper Draping: Performing massage maneuvers that improperly exposed the client’s breasts or genitals (MT Case No. 05-007)
  • Being convicted of sexual assaulting a client, and being convicted of assaulting multiple clients with intent to commit sexual abuse (MT Case Nos. 09-009, 04-003).


How can I file a complaint?

See the "Complaints" page listed on the left for more information about how to file a complaint.

Are you concerned you are being scammed?

Each year, the Iowa Bureau is contacted by licensees who report that they have received suspicious letters, emails and calls from individuals claiming to be from the Bureau. Across the country, state licensees fall prey to scams targeting licensees in an attempt to access personal and financial information. While the Bureau will continue to prioritize responding to these inquiries quickly, the following information can help each licensee protect their information and recognize these scams.

  1. The Board rarely takes “immediate” action.
    • Board investigation takes time. The collection of information, preparation of investigative reports and deliberation by the Bureau generally takes months. If you are the subject of an investigation, a Bureau investigator will usually reach out to you concerning the allegations against you before the Bureau deliberates on whether to impose disciplinary action. Additionally, you can always contact the Bureau to confirm whether you are under investigation.
    • While the Bureau is empowered to take emergency action against a licensee who poses an immediate threat to the health or safety of Iowans, such circumstances are exceedingly rare. If the Bureau ever were to enter an emergency suspension of your license, such suspension would be issued in the form of a public order by the Bureau listing the allegations against you. You would further be entitled to a hearing before the Bureau as soon as practicable, and will receive further communication from the Bureau and the Attorney General’s Office.
  2. We will never threaten your licensure in exchange for payment or information.
    • Be suspicious of any communication asking for immediate payment of a fee or bond. The Bureau only collects money from licensees in two instances: During the licensure and renewal process and upon entry of a final order of the Bureau following a contested case proceeding or settlement wherein the Bureau has ordered you to pay a civil penalty. Neither of those circumstances will occur without prior communication with the Bureau.
  3. Confirm that the provided contact information is accurate.
    • All contact information for the Bureau can be found on the Bureau’s website. Bureau staff email addresses end in “@iowa.gov” and emails from the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services ends in “@idph.iowa.gov” When responding to communication from the Bureau, verify that the phone number and email address matches that on the Bureau’s website.
  4. When in Doubt: Contact Us!
    • If you ever have a concern that a Bureau communication may not be legitimate, or you fear that you are being targeted by a scammer, reach out to us. Contact the Bureau’s general number and email address:
    • Phone: 515-281-0254
    • PLPublic@idph.iowa.gov

Contact Information & Office Hours

Bureau of Professional Licensure
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319


Phone: (515) 281-0254

Fax: (515) 281-3121

Bureau Website: https://idph.iowa.gov/licensure

Online Licensure Services: https://amanda-portal.idph.state.ia.us/ibpl/portal/

Email: PLPublic@idph.iowa.gov


Office Hours:

8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Monday through Friday, excluding state holidays