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Career Map: Massage Therapist

This document was updated in collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration in August 2014. Requirements may have changed by the time you apply. Please contact the College of Massage therapists of Ontario before completing your application.

Copyright in this career map is held jointly by the Queen's Printer for Ontario and the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, © 2014. This career map may be used or reproduced by any third party for non-commercial, not-for-profit purposes, provided that no fee, payment or royalty of any kind shall be charged by the third party for any further use or reproduction of the career map by any person. Any proposed commercial or for-profit use or reproduction of this career map requires a written license from the Queen's Printer for Ontario and the College Massage Therapists of Ontario.

To practise Massage Therapy in Ontario, you must obtain a Certificate of Registration from the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (the College). The College under the Massage Therapy Act and the Regulated Health Professions Act sets all registration requirements. You cannot practise as a Massage Therapist unless you are registered with the College. Only the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, the provincial regulatory body, can register Massage Therapists. Only those registered with the College may use the protected titles "Registered Massage Therapist" (RMT) or "Massage Therapist" (MT). Please notethat both titles are equivalent and mean that the holder of the title is a Registrant of the College.

Massage Therapists in Ontario are mainly self-employed health professionals. They work in a variety of settings, most often in Massage Therapy clinics. Other workplaces include health clinics, private practice, rehabilitation centres, health spas, health and fitness clubs, nursing homes, community health clinics, and hospitals. Clients may make appointments with Massage Therapists without being referred by a medical doctor.

Massage Therapists assess and treat physical dysfunction and pain of the soft tissue and joints of the body mostly by hands-on manipulation. Assessment and treatment can include orthopaedic and neurological testing, soft tissue manipulation (Swedish massage is the most commonly used technique), hydrotherapy, remedial exercise programmes and client education programmes.

Before You Immigrate to Canada

Before you come to Canada, you should contact the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario to inquire about registration requirements and how internationally trained professionals can pursue the registration process in Ontario. The College's address and website are listed at the end of this information. Information on requirements for registration is available in the "Becoming am RMT Member in Ontario" section of the site and required forms are available for downloads under Massage Therapists Educated Outside Ontario".

The College has a process called the Credential and Prior Learning Assessment (CPLA) which is conducted to determine whether the training received in unregulated provinces as well as internationally is equivalent to the competency standards currently taught in approved Ontario Massage Therapy programs. If an informal review of an application determines that the applicant’s training is equivalent, they may be granted direct access to the College’s certification exams. If it is unlikely that an applicant’s prior education in Massage Therapy would be considered equivalent to the competency standards currently taught in approved Massage Therapy programs, applicants will be notified and recommended that they complete further training in Ontario. Applicants are given an opportunity to decide if they would still like to proceed with a formal assessment, however, there are no assurances that direct access to certification exams will be granted.

The College suggests that you begin the application process from the jurisdiction in which you reside, as you will need to contact the educational institution where you obtained your Massage Therapy training to request information on the course of study you completed there. The institution will need to complete the required transcript form and send it along with transcripts as well as detailed course descriptions directly to the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario.

When You Arrive In Ontario

If you did not start your application process overseas, please contact the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario to inquire about how to begin the process. The CPLA application process from start to finish can take up to 8 months. You should apply as soon as you arrive in Canada to avoid any delays.

Registration Application Process

You must complete all of the following steps to be eligible for registration with the College:

  1. Successfully complete the CPLA process
  2. Complete any additional education required to meet the requirement for education which provides equivalent competencies to the Massage Therapy programmes in Ontario
  3. Standards and Regulations Course and any other additional study required
  4. Meet English or French Language Fluency Requirements
  5. Successfully Complete Certification Examinations
  6. Provide evidence that you are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or are authorized to work in Canada
  7. Obtain professional liability insurance in the minimum amount required by the College
  8. Provide applicable forms, documents and registration fees

The flowchart of the Registration Process for Applicants Educated Outside Ontario can serve as a good reference of the process.

Step 1 - CPLA Application Form

There are two forms to be completed to apply for the CPLA process. The CPLA Application Package consists of a CPLA Application Form and a Transcript Request Form with Course Content Information page. Your application form must be submitted with the $175.00 application fee. You can make your payment by send the fee as a certified cheque or money order payable to the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario or you may pay with Visa or MasterCard; the College will not accept cash or a personal cheque.

The CPLA Application asks for the following:

  1. Whether you are a Canadian citizen, landed immigrant or have a Canadian Work Permit.
  2. Whether you can speak and write French or English with reasonable fluency.
  3. If you have been convicted of a criminal offence related to the regulation of the profession. If you have been found guilty of such an offence, you will be asked to provide details.
  4. If there is a current proceeding for professional misconduct, incompetency or incapacity in Ontario or in another jurisdiction in relation to your practice of massage therapy or another health profession, you will be asked to provide details.
  5. You must provide any information regarding previous attempts for certification as a massage therapist in Ontario or another jurisdiction.
  6. If you have made an attempt to pass a licensing examination in Ontario or another jurisdiction that has not yet resulted in a passing grade.

Step 2 - Transcript Request Form

The second form is the Transcript Request Form. You must send this form to the educational institution where you obtained your Massage Therapy training. If you attended more than one institution and would like the College to review your credentials from more than one Massage Therapy programme, please send a copy of this form to each school. Please be sure to complete Section A of the Transcript Request Form before your school completes Section B and the Course Content Information section on the following page. You may arrange for your school to return the completed form back to you so that you are able to submit one application package directly to the College. Alternatively, your school may mail the document directly to the College. Please include or arrange to have your school mail as much of the following information you are able to obtain with your application:

  • Proof of graduation
  • Official transcript
  • Supervised clinical practice hours
  • Grade scale / grading system
  • Course descriptions

If your institution sends the College documents that are not in English or French, you will then have to get the documents translated and certified at your expense and send them to the College. Only original documents or copies of original documents that are certified by a Notary Public or Commissioner for Oaths or Affidavits will be accepted. Once the College receives both completed forms, you will be notified if more information is required. Once the College has received provideyour documents, an informal review of your application will be completed. If your prior training is deemed to be equivalent to what is currently being taught in approved Ontario Massage Therapy programs, you will be granted direct access to the College’s certification examinations. If it is unlikely that your prior training is equivalent, you will be given an opportunity to withdraw your application from the CPLA process and your $175 application fee will not be processed. Should you still wish to proceed, it would be at your discretion to do so. It is important to note that completion of the CPLA process does not provide an assurance that you will become eligible to register and practise Massage Therapy in Ontario.

Based on the results of the informal review, the College will provide you with one of the following recommendations:

  • Grant direct access to certification examinations
  • Proceed with the diagnostic assessment only after reviewing the specified area(s) of competency
  • Do not proceed with the diagnostic assessment and consider completing an Ontario diploma program as deficiencies in the specified area(s) of competency were noted

Referral to the Registration Committee

Upon completion of the diagnostic assessment components, the College will compile the yours CPLA results and prepare a summary report for the Registration Committee’s review. The Registration Committee’s decision is based on a review of the documentation provided by the candidate as well the summary report of your CPLA results.

Once the Registration Committee renders a decision, it will be issued to the applicant s within 30 days.


Step 3 - Standards and Regulations or Additional Study Required

Massage Therapists trained outside Ontario are required to complete a course on the Standards of Practice and the Regulations and legislation which govern practice in Ontario. This course is available through the College’s website in the Courses and Workshops section.

If you are required to complete other additional study, the College must receive verification from the approved tutor or the school you attend that you have successfully completed the study.

Step 4 - Certification Examination

You can take the College of Massage Therapists Certification Examinations only after your education and practice credentials have been verified as providing equivalent competencies to the Ontario Massage Therapy programme. Note that the examination consists of two parts: a clinical examination and a written examination.

All applicants must pass the Certification Examination. Before you take the examination, please consult the Certification Examinations Section of the College’s website for detailed information. Currently, there are no educational institutions in Ontario offering examination preparation courses in Massage Therapy so any examination preparation you require must be done through an approved massage therapy programs in a school approved by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Please contact the College for more information.

There are two components of the certification examination – the written Multiple Choice Questionnaire (MCQ) and the Objectively Structured Clinical Evaluation (OSCE). A minimum scaled score of 70 is required on each component of the examination.

  1. Multiple Choice Questionnaire (MCQ). The exam is designed to evaluate the candidate’s knowledge in the three competency areas of health science, professional development and clinical science. The MCQ consists of 150 questions administered over 180 minutes via computer. It can be taken either before or after the Objectively Structured Clinical Evaluation (OSCE).
  2. Objectively Structured Clinical Evaluation (OSCE). This examination requires you to demonstrate your Massage Therapy skills in a clinical setting. You will encounter scenarios at stations. Each station has a simulated client with a different case history. You will have a short time to review the case history of the client and act accordingly. The clinical examination takes a half day and is held in Toronto at least three times a year. The examination procedure may vary from time to time. Specific details about the examination you will be taking are provided in the Certification Examination Candidate Handbook.

You will have three opportunities to take the examination. If you make an unsuccessful examination attempt, the feedback provided with your examination score will indicate if you are weak in a particular area, which will help focus your study efforts before making another examination attempt.

Step 5 - Language Assessment

If your first language was not English or French, and your secondary school education was not completed in English or French, you must submit a language fluency assessment prior to participating in the Certification Examinations.

The following reflects the assessments and associated levels that will be accepted for candidates to be eligible to participate in the Certification Examinations:

Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) for English

  • Listening: 8
  • Reading: 8
  • Speaking: 8
  • Writing: 7

The College accepts the Canadian Language Benchmarks Placement Test (CLBPT) and the Michener English Language Assessment (MELA) scores [The College accepts the Canadian Language Benchmarks Placement Test (CLBPT) and the Michener English Language Assessment (MELA) scores that are based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB).

If you require fluency tests in French, please refer to Évaluation de la Compétence Linguistique (in French).


Once you have met the requirements in steps 1 to 4, the College will inform you for your eligibility to apply for registration and also provide you with information about how to complete this process such as information about the documentation you must provide regarding your Canadian citizenship status and liability insurance. If you have not yet received your permanent work authorization at the time you meet all other requirements, please contact the College to discuss ways to resolve this issue.

Voluntary Professional Association

While the College’s focus must remain on the public interest, the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario (RMTAO) is the voice of the Massage Therapy profession in Ontario. Information regarding the RMTAO is available at

Labour Market Information

Massage therapy is a growing profession as more people choose to use preventative approaches to health care and to complement traditional types of medical treatments with alternatives. The demand for massage therapists is expected to increase with the growth in the elderly population and the increased awareness of the existence of this health care profession and its health benefits.

Most massage therapists work in private practice. Hours of work vary depending on the requirements of the workplace. Earnings also depend on the workplace and the skill and experience of the massage therapist.

If you want more information on income for massage therapists in Ontario, please contact the RMTAO.


(in Canadian dollars)
Application Fees
Application for Evaluation of Credentials $175
Application for Registration $100
Jurisprudence Examination $225
Initial Registration Fee Prorated based on the month you are applying for registration
Certification Examination  
Multiple Choice Examination (MCQ) (per attempt) $500
MCQ Late Withdrawal Fee $150
Clinical Evaluation (OSCE) (per attempt) $700
OSCE Late Withdrawal Fee $150
Annual Registration Fee (for 2015) $578

You must also get professional liability insurance before you can register as a Massage Therapist. Preferred rates for insurance are available, as part of membership benefits from the Registered Massage Therapists' Association of Ontario or the College can give you the names of insurance brokers who provide liability insurance for members of the profession.


For more information on application requirements, examination or fees, contact:

College Of Massage Therapists of Ontario
1867 Yonge Street, Suite 810
Toronto, ON M4S 1Y5
Telephone: 416-489-2626
Toll free (in Ontario): 1-800-465-1933
Fax: 416-489-2625

For information on the professional association contact:

Registered Massage Therapists' Association of Ontario
2943B Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON M8X 1B3
Telephone: 416-979-2010
Toll free: 1-800-668-2022
Fax: 416-979-1144

For inquiries about accessing health related professions in Ontario contact:

Access Centre for Internationally Educated Professionals
163 Queen Street East, 2nd Floor
Toronto, ON M5A 1S1
Telephone: 416-862-2200
Toll free: 1-800-596-4046
TTY: 416-862-4817
Fax: 416-862-4818

For information on where and how to get help with settlement in Ontario contact:

Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, OCASI
110 Eglinton Avenue West, 2nd Floor
Toronto, ON M4R 1A3
Telephone: 416-322-4950
Fax: 416-322-8084

For information on English language proficiency testing, contact:

The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences
22 St. Patrick Street
Toronto, ON M5T 1V4
Telephone: 609-771-7100
Toll free: 1-800-387-9066 (within Canada, outside the Greater Toronto Area)
Fax: 609-771-7500

Copyright in this career map is held jointly by the Queen's Printer for Ontario and the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, © 2014.