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Massage Therapy Licenses & Violations

Beginning in January 2009, California set-up the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) to provide for a state-wide massage licensing system that would be "portable" and effective throughout the state, and would negate the need for a local license. In other words, if a person obtains a CAMTC license, they would not need to get a local license. The rules are stringent and not always easy to understand. An attorney can help you deal with the CAMTC and its many pitfalls.

Types of Licenses

There are two types of licenses issued by the CAMTC. The first is a "Certified Massage Practitioner" (CMP) which generally requires the completion of 250 hours of education and training, at an approved school. The second is a "Certified Massage Therapist" (CMT) which generally requires 500 hours of massage education and training. At least 250 hours must be from an approved massage therapy school, and the remaining 250 hours can be obtained either from an approved school or from continuing education providers.

Why Do I Need a CAMTC License?

A CAMTC license is recognized throughout the State of California. If you have such a license you cannot be required to get a local city or county license. And if you move jobs, you can take that license with you throughout California and do not need to be re-licensed.

How Do I Obtain My Education Hours?

You cannot go to just any school. The school must be certified by the CAMTC. There have been a large number of schools that have had problems with their certification and their students have been denied licenses. It is vital that your school be certified or you could be wasting a huge amount of your time.

What About Costs, Other Requirements and License Renewals?

It costs $150.00 to obtain a license and it is good for two years, after which is needs to be renewed. A "background check" will be made of all applicants to see that they are of good character. A fingerprint check will be made through the "Live Scan" systems. License renewals are normally granted unless there have been "problems" during your license period.

What About Violations of Law?

There can be charges levied by the police for various violations of the law in connection with massage therapy ranging from infractions to misdemeanors to felonies depending on the circumstances involved. Obviously, prostitution charges can be filed if the police believe sexual activities are occurring during a massage or at a massage therapy business.

The police will often use undercover agents to go into a massage business and attempt to obtain sexual favors. Sometimes the officer will lie about what happened in order to make an arrest. Often local zoning or business license laws are invoked in order to try to close down a massage therapy business. A jail sentence can even be ordered in serious cases.

Why Might I Need an Attorney?

Setting up a massage therapy business can be a complicated matter, and even obtaining a CAMTC massage license can be a complicated undertaking. If a criminal charge has been filed an attorney experienced in dealing with the CAMTC and local authorities can be invaluable in helping you through the thicket of new laws. Ken Lewis has that type of specific experience. An attorney without it will be lost and of little use to you.

What If I am Arrested?

Do not speak to the police without an experienced attorney present. The police are not your friends in these situations and statements that you think are "exculpatory", i.e. that show your innocence, can actually be incriminating in the hands of the police.

After hiring an attorney, be frank with him or her; your statements are protected by attorney-client privilege and your attorney needs to know what really happened to present your best defense. Make sure that you give your attorney the names of all possible witnesses to the events, and describe everything to him. Something that you think is insignificant can have great legal meaning and can determine the outcome of the case.


Because Ken Lewis has been successfully handling massage therapy cases for years. He understands the terrible impact these cases can have upon defendants and their family, and will fight to the end to see that you get the very best results possible. All potential defenses will be explored in depth. No stone will go unturned in representing you to the fullest extent possible

Kenneth H. Lewis is one of the relatively few lawyers to have actually argued a case before the California Supreme Court, People v. Leon. He is not only admitted before all the courts in California, but also the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court, where he appeared at counsel's table in the case of California vs. Rooney.

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