Which States Accept the MBLEx Exam?
The Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) is offered through the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB).
Massage therapists who pass the MBLEx are welcome to practice in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and some U.S. territories.
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States That Accept the MBLEx Exam
Below are the states and territories that accept the MBLEx:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- West Virginia
Purpose of the MBLEx
The MBLEx is designed to regulate massage practices and ensure safety for patients. Although the MBLEx is a standardized test, each state that accepts the MBLEx has its own criteria for whether or not an individual can perform massage therapy.
For example, most states require the completion of training hours in addition to the MBLEx examination. However, the number of hours can vary greatly. In Texas, only 500 training hours are required, whereas Nebraska requires 1,000 hours.
MBLEx Application Requirements
Applying to take the MBLEx isn’t too time-consuming. They ask that you complete the following steps:
- Fill out an application with the FSMTB
- Pay a $265 fee
- Request that your school submits your education records
It’s important to note that your education records must be from an approved massage therapy program. An approved program means that the state in which your school is located must authorize or recognize the school’s massage therapy education program.
In addition to the steps above, they also ask that you confirm that you’ve read the MBLEx Candidate Handbook. This 60-page document covers general information about the MBLEx. It also covers the following information:
- How to apply
- How to prepare for the MBLEx exam
- The process of taking the exam
- Getting licensed
- Taking the MBLEx
Don’t be discouraged by its length. The document is comprehensive, easy to read, and helpful for getting you prepared.
MBLEx Timing and CAT
The MBLEx is performed on a computer at a designated test center. It involves 100 multiple-choice questions. You’ll be offered 110 minutes (nearly two hours) to take the exam.
You must answer all 100 multiple-choice questions. Candidates that fail to do so will automatically fail the MBLEx.
You’re allowed to get up to use the restroom or attend to other personal matters during the exam. However, this is strongly discouraged for the following reasons:
- You won’t be given extra time aside from your 110 designated test minutes.
- You’ll have to re-enter the security check area before returning to your computer, taking up even more of your precious test time.
A proctor will be in the room to attend to any questions you may have.
The MBLEx is a computer adaptive test (CAT). You’ll need to answer each question in order. If you answer correctly, the subsequent questions will get more challenging. If or when you answer a question incorrectly, the next question will be slightly easier.
You can watch a video that explains the concept behind the CAT at FSMTB.
How to Prepare for the MBLEx
The FSMTB puts a lot of time into ensuring their 100 multiple choice questions are transparent and fair. They believe that despite the broad scope of massage therapy, where a few questions may be outside the training of some individuals, any qualified candidate should easily pass the exam.
Below are the topics covered on the MBLEx and the percentage that they compose on the exam.
- Anatomy and physiology (11%)
- Kinesiology (12%)
- Pathology, contraindications, areas of caution, and special populations (14%)
- Ethics, boundaries, laws, regulations (16%)
- Guidelines for professional practice (15%)
The study guide includes a breakdown of the content on the exam, examples of content not on the exam, a practice test with 100 questions, and general tips for successful testing.
You can order FSMTB’s study guide online. The cost is $29.95, plus shipping and handling.
FSMTB’s practice exam is a must-have study tool for anyone preparing for the MBLEx. The online test mimics the style of the CAT, so it will be an excellent judge of how prepared you are.
The practice exam shouldn’t be taken lightly. For starters, you’ll need to pay for it. But aside from this, you won’t be able to save your answers and come back to them later. So, you’ll want to make sure you have an uninterrupted 110 minutes to dedicate to the practice exam.
Arriving at the MBLEx
The FSMTB takes testing seriously since the MBLEx is designed to select the most qualified massage therapists to work with the general public.
As a result, you’ll want to ensure that you arrive prepared on the day of the MBLEx exam. Below are the highlights of what you’ll need to bring—and what you’ll need to avoid.
- Two forms of identification. One must be government-issued with a photo and your signature. The second I.D. doesn’t have to include a signature.
- Dress in layers in case the test room is too warm or cold for your liking. Just keep in mind that layered clothing will be carefully inspected before you enter.
- Cell phones, purses, books, and coats are among the many items not allowed inside the test room. You’ll be given a locker to store your items.
And, of course, you’ll want to arrive with as much study under your belt as possible.
Although it can sound intimidating, know that the FSMTB wants you to pass the exam. Expanding their list of qualified massage therapists is their goal as it improves safety and public health.
The MBLEx is an exam that any massage therapist serious about their career should take. With nearly every state and several U.S. territories accepting the MBLEx, you’ll be able to, more easily, move your career across borders and gain respect in your industry.