HB 42: Lowering the Barrier of Entry to Massage Therapy
Despite legislative efforts made in Utah, occupational licensing regulations continue to be prevalent. Extensive occupational licensing regulations in Utah can limit access to certain professions and increase costs for consumers, negatively impacting the workforce and economy.
One profession in need of deregulation is massage therapy. Currently, applicants must complete a minimum of 600 hours of classroom instruction or complete an apprenticeship program of 1,000 hours of supervised training over a minimum of twelve months to become a licensed massage therapist in Utah. Licensed therapists must also pass a recognized examination.
These requirements present a large barrier to entry for those seeking to enter this profession to see if it is the right career choice.
However, Utah’s 2023 General Legislative Session provides an opportunity for these barriers to be reduced. Senate Bill 42, sponsored by Senator Curtis Bramble, aims to create new classifications for massage professionals known as “massage assistants” and “massage assistants in-training.” These individuals would be able to provide limited massage services in ways that allow them to serve clients and gain practical experience while working towards full licensure.
The bill establishes the qualifications and scope of practice for these new classifications of massage professionals, as well as amends the examination and background check requirements for massage therapists. It also addresses the supervision of massage assistants and assistants in-training, requiring certain signage and disclosures to be provided when these individuals provide massage services.
Overall, SB 42 deregulates occupational licensing for massage therapy, making it easier for individuals to enter the field and gain practical experience. By allowing for the creation of massage assistants and assistants in-training, this bill provides an expedited pathway for aspiring professionals to gain the skills and experience in massage therapy prior to undertaking lengthy licensing requirements.