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What Is the MBLEx Exam?

Posted Friday, Nov 19, 2021 by Altierus

If you’re interested in training to pursue a massage therapy career, you’ve probably run across mention of the MBLEx exam before. MBLEx stands for “Massage and Bodywork Licensure Examination”. Like the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEx) for nurses, the MBLEx is a standardized test massage therapy program graduates have to take in order to obtain a license to work.

This article provides an overview of what the MBLEx exam tests and why it matters for prospective massage therapy students.

Why the MBLEx Exam Exists

Until very recently, each state had different licensure requirements for massage therapists—and different licensing tests, too. In 2005, members of state licensure boards came together and formed the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB). The FSMTB’s mission involves “ensur[ing] that the practice of massage therapy is provided to the public in a safe and competent manner.”[1]

Part of fulfilling that mission was creating a nationwide licensure exam for massage therapists and other bodywork professionals—the MBLEx. The MBLEx is now the standard massage therapy licensing exam in more than 40 states.

What It’s For

The MBLEx aims to test how well new massage therapists understand the clinical science foundations, ethical standards, and best practices of their profession. By setting national standards of quality for entry-level massage practitioners, the MBLEx also contributes to a consistent standard of care and service for massage therapy clients across the country.

Why It Matters for You

If you want to train for a career in massage therapy, you’ll need to take the MBLEx very seriously. According to Study.com, 44 states—including Florida, where Altierus Career College runs its massage therapy training program—require the MBLEx to obtain a license to practice.[2]

What It Covers

So, what topics does the MBLEx exam cover? According to the FSMTB, the exam tests prospective massage therapists on the following subjects:[3]

  • Anatomy and physiology: The structures and systems of the human body
  • Kinesiology: Characteristics of muscles, including their locations, insertion points, and range of motion
  • Pathology, contraindications, areas of caution, special populations: Information about health conditions, medical interactions, and other issues which may impact (or rule out) massage therapy as a treatment
  • Benefits and physiological effects of techniques that manipulate soft tissue: How different massage therapy and bodywork techniques support health, recovery, and wellbeing
  • Client assessment, reassessment and treatment planning: Techniques for evaluating client needs and developing structured care plans that reflect those needs
  • Ethics, boundaries, laws and regulations: What constitutes a safe and professional therapeutic relationship, the importance of maintaining confidentiality, and other issues relating to massage therapy practice
  • Guidelines for professional practice: Safety and injury prevention, infection control, and business strategies

Training for a Massage Therapy Career

If you choose the right massage therapy training program, you’ll be well-prepared for the MBLEx.

At Altierus Career College in Tampa, coursework in the Massage Therapy Diploma program is aligned with MBLEx topics. Test prep is built into the program, while testing fees are covered for your first attempt at the exam. It’s part of our all-inclusive approach to career training. If you’d like to know more about training for a massage therapy career with us, visit our website today!


[1] https://www.fsmtb.org/about-fsmtb/mission-and-history/

[2] https://study.com/academy/popular/which-states-accept-the-mblex-exam.html

[3] https://www.fsmtb.org/media/1681/2018-mblex-content-outline.pdf

Train for a career in Massage Therapy

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