Health and Safety

CHAPTER 23-20.8
Licensing of Massage Therapists

SECTION 23-20.8-3

§ 23-20.8-3. Practice of massage – License required – Use of title limited – Qualifications for licenses continuing education – Fees.

(a) A person shall not practice, or hold himself or herself out to others as practicing massage therapy, or as a massage therapist, without first receiving from the board a license to engage in that practice.

(b) A person shall hold himself or herself out to others as a massage therapist when the person adopts or uses any title or description, including: "massage therapist," "masseur," "masseuse," "massagist," "massotherapist," "myotherapist," "body therapist," "massage technician," "massage practitioner," or any derivation of those terms that implies this practice.

(c) It shall be unlawful to advertise the practice of massage using the term massage, or any other term that implies a massage technique or method, in any public or private publication or communication by a person not licensed by the state of Rhode Island department of health as a massage therapist. Any person who holds a license to practice as a massage therapist in this state may use the title "licensed, massage therapist" and the abbreviation "LMT." No other persons may assume such title or use such abbreviation or any other word, letters, signs, or figures to indicate that the person using the title is a licensed, massage therapist. A massage therapist's name and license number must conspicuously appear on all of the massage therapist's advertisements. A massage therapist licensed under this chapter must conspicuously display his or her license in his or her principal place of business. If the massage therapist does not have a principal place of business, or conducts business in any other location, he or she must have a copy of his or her license available for inspection while performing any activities related to massage therapy.

(d)(1) The board shall, by rule, establish requirements for continued education. The board may establish such requirements to be completed and verified biennially or annually. The board shall require no more than twelve (12) hours biennially or six (6) hours annually.

(2) Applicants for biennial licensure renewal shall meet continuing education requirements as prescribed by the board. On application for renewal of license, massage therapists shall attest to completion of six (6) hours annually in scope of practice-specific offerings that may include, but not be limited to:

(i) Formal presentations;

(ii) Conferences;

(iii) Coursework from a regionally accredited college/university; and/or

(iv) Self-study course, such as online courses awarding one education hour for each hour completed.

Such programs or offerings shall be approved or sponsored by a board-approved organization. The board shall require no more than two (2) hours of ethics or standards of practice biennially.

(3) A licensee who fails to complete the continuing education requirements described herein may be subject to disciplinary action pursuant to § 5-40-13.

(4) A license may be denied to any applicant who fails to provide satisfactory evidence of completion of continuing education relevant to massage therapy as required herein.

(5) The board may waive the requirement for these educational requirements if the board is satisfied that the applicant has suffered hardship, which may have prevented meeting the educational requirements.

(e) The fee for original application for licensure as a massage therapist and for annual license renewal shall be as set forth in § 23-1-54. Fees for all other licenses under this chapter shall be fixed in an amount necessary to cover the cost of administering this chapter.

(f) Any person applying for a license under this chapter shall undergo a criminal background check. Such persons shall apply to the bureau of criminal identification of the state police or local police department for a nationwide criminal records check. Fingerprinting shall be required. Upon the discovery of any disqualifying information as defined in subsection (g), the bureau of criminal identification of the state police or the local police department shall inform the applicant, in writing, of the nature of the disqualifying information and, without disclosing the nature of the disqualifying information, shall notify the board, in writing, that disqualifying information has been found. In those situations in which no disqualifying information has been found, the bureau of criminal identification shall inform the applicant and the board in writing of this fact. An applicant against whom disqualifying information has been found may request that a copy of the criminal background report be sent to the board, which shall make a judgment regarding the licensure of the applicant. The applicant shall be responsible for payment of the costs of the criminal records check.

(g) "Disqualifying information" means those offenses, including, but not limited to, those offenses defined in chapters 34, 34.1, and 37 of title 11, and § 23-17-37.

(h) Notwithstanding the above, any city or town may, by ordinance, regulate the opening, the presence, the location, and the operation of any body-works business or any business providing body-works services. Provided, however, no ordinance may impose additional qualifications beyond those adopted by the department of health pursuant to this chapter respecting criminal background checks for persons applying for a license.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1978, ch. 230, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 23-58-3; P.L. 1979, ch. 39, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 23-20.8-3; P.L. 1982, ch. 407, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch. 138, art. 71, § 9; P.L. 2001, ch. 77, art. 14, § 32; P.L. 2004, ch. 467, § 4; P.L. 2005, ch. 411, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 73, art. 39, § 32; P.L. 2012, ch. 241, art. 9, § 44; P.L. 2013, ch. 165, § 3; P.L. 2013, ch. 222, § 3; P.L. 2016, ch. 211, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 213, § 1.)