CPR Certification for Massage Therapist: Why Do You Need It?

CPR Certification for Massage Therapist

There is a CPR Certification for Massage Therapist, and we’ll break down why and who needs it. Becoming a CPR-certified massage therapist isn’t different from other CPR-certified professionals. The course of action to attaining a CPR certification card is the same for every candidate, regardless of their profession.

In fact, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) and the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) require massage therapists to be certified in BLS (Basic Life Support). The BLS course includes CPR, AED, and obstructed airway training for infants, children, and adults. This course provides candidates with all the knowledge necessary to prevent cardiac arrest fatalities and other incidents on the job.

Continue reading to see why CPR is crucial for massage therapists, as well as what it takes to become a CPR-certified massage therapist. In addition, we’ll answer some of the most burning questions revolving around CPR, so stay with us.

How to Become a CPR-Certified Massage Therapist?

As a massage therapist, you work with individuals to stimulate the soft tissues and provide relief to any muscular and skeletal issues. In such cases, as a professional, you must ensure your clients’ safety in case of unforeseen situations.

In some professions, like the massage therapist or healthcare provider sectors, CPR is advised as part of the continuing education and professional development phase.

In the U.S. alone, there are more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests yearly, which is roughly 1,000 people a day. With such monumental numbers in mind, the probability of someone on losing consciousness on your massage table due to heart failure is high. In cases like that, knowing CPR is a lifesaver.

Attaining a CPR certification as a massage therapist is no different from becoming a CPR-certified teacher, for example. The course is the same – you get tutored on the basics of CPR, when and how to administer rescue breaths, how to use an AED, etc.

First, you need to sign up for a CPR class and ensure the CPR training service provider’s certification is accredited by the American Red Cross or another international organization.

A typical CPR class will include the following stances that will be explained and practically described by a licensed CPR instructor:


      • The importance of PPE (personal protection equipment)

      • How to treat an unresponsive person

      • How to use an AED (automated external defibrillator) on an adult, child, or infant;

      • Placing an unresponsive person in the recovery position

      • Helping a choking person.

    After you complete the course, which usually lasts a few hours, you’d be granted a CPR certificate that will be in effect for two years. After the two years pass, your CPR certification is up for renewal.

    Is CPR Mandatory for Massage Therapists?

    The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) highly suggests massage therapists become CPR-certified (other than acquiring a license to practice massage). In addition, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork and the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards oblige massage therapists to be certified in basic CPR, AED, and First Aid from the American Heart Association or a similar health organization.

    However, not every state in the U.S. imposes a CPR requirement for massage therapists. For instance, Connecticut does not require an obligatory CPR certification to go along with a massage license. The Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) does not require massage therapists to offer proof of a CPR certificate to practice massage in Connecticut.

    On the other hand, Pennsylvania is one of the states in the U.S. that require knowledge of CPR to practice massage therapy. The Pennsylvania Department of State’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs urges candidates to be knowledgeable on CPR to acquire a massage therapy license. The State also requires the certification to be accredited by either the AHA or the American Red Cross and be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the issuing date.

    MBLEx Prerequisites

    MBLEx, short for Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination, is governed by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. It is the most commonly-accepted licensure exam in the States, allowing candidates to become licensed massage therapists.

    Surprisingly enough, the MBLEx does not impose an obligation to possess a CPR certificate to acquire a massage therapy license.

    Who Needs A CPR Certification for Massage Therapist?

    As in any other profession, the chances of a medical emergency happening on your watch are pretty high. In fact, numbers counted 3.46 million fatalities in 2021 in the U.S. alone. Everyone can suffer a medical emergency whenever, wherever – massage tables included.

    One of the main reasons why massage therapists need to be certified in CPR is that they are the only people who can offer first aid to their clients since they’re alone with them in the room. The majority of massage clients are older adults looking for muscular relief, and the elderly are more prone to experiencing life-threatening situations like cardiac arrest, heart attack, respiratory failure, and so on.

    In fact, it isn’t uncommon for a massage client to suddenly lose their breath or even choke. This is where a CPR-certified massage therapist can come to save the day (or save the life, to be more exact).

    Common Dilemmas Regarding CPR Certification for Massage Therapists

    When it comes to CPR, many people wonder whether they need to attend a CPR class to help in a medical emergency. In short, if you aren’t a medical professional or an employee in the healthcare industry, you aren’t lawfully obligated to be CPR-certified.

    We receive numerous questions from massage therapists asking whether they need to show a CPR certification card upon applying for a massage license. Continue reading to see some of the most commonly asked questions about CPR and massage therapists:

    I am a licensed massage therapist. Can I do CPR even if I’m not certified?

    Well, if you know how to perform CPR on a massage client in the case of an emergency, don’t hesitate to do it. Call 911 as soon as you notice your massage client is in cardiac arrest and then perform chest compressions.

    A CPR certification is required in some states of the U.S., especially upon applying for a massage license. Check the state you reside in to better understand the regulations surrounding this topic.

    Can I get my massage license before I am CPR-certified?

    As we mentioned, some states in the U.S. will require massage license candidates to show proof of certification. In other words, if you reside in some of the States in the U.S. that do, you can’t get a massage license until you pass a CPR exam that’ll bring you a step closer to acquiring a CPR certificate.

    Fully Understanding A CPR Certification for Massage Therapist

    Adversity can come knocking on each and every door, regardless of whether you’re a doctor, a teacher, a construction worker, a nanny, or a massage therapist.

    Medical emergencies often take seconds to take someone’s life. However, if you happen to know CPR and find yourself in a medical emergency, the go-to method to help is CPR.

    When it comes to CPR certification, massage therapists are no exception. In fact, even though some states in the U.S. do not impose an obligation for a CPR certification, massage therapists understand the importance of the method and sign up for online CPR classes on their own initiative.
    Knowing how to help someone regain consciousness using CPR will never hurt. And since CPR courses usually last a couple of hours, gearing up for the right knowledge is now easier than ever. Now you should have a full understanding of a CPR Certification for Massage Therapist.