Occupational Licensing

Arlington May End Onerous Licensing Requirement for Massage Therapists


To practice massage therapy in Arlington County, Virginia, applicants must submit the following:

  • A completed Massage Therapist application signed by the applicant and notarized;
  • Cash or certified check or money order (made payable to Treasurer, Arlington County) for $50 to cover the initial investigation fee, or $20 for renewals;
  • The physician certification form signed by a medical doctor stating that he or she has examined the applicant within 30 days of the application date and has found the applicant to be free of any identifiable disease which would create a significant medical risk to the massage subject;
  • A diploma or certificate of graduation from a recognized school or other recognized institution of learning that has as its purpose the teaching of the theory, method, profession, and work of massage therapists; 
  • Two front facing photographs, passport size, taken within 90 days of the application date;
  • A copy of the State of Virginia Certification to practice as a Massage Therapist (note that a State Massage Therapist License is prerequisite for an Arlington County license). To obtain the State Application for Certification, including Virginia State Board of Nursing Regulations governing certification of massage therapists, contact the Arlington County Environmental Health offices at the address above.
  • FBI Record Check- Fingerprints may be obtained from the Arlington County Sheriff's Department, 1425 North Courthouse Road, 9th Floor, between the hours of 1:30 p.m.—3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Fee for fingerprints is $10 for first card; $5 for each additional card. If you have any questions regarding the fingerprint process, please contact the department at (703) 228-4460. Please note that the FBI record check can take 12 weeks or longer to process.

According to Arl Now, the county is considering abandoning these requirements (which were initially adopted in order to weed out prostitution outfits), and allowing anyone who damn well pleases to open up a massage shop: 

The County Board is expected to vote in October on a request to advertise an ordinance change that would no longer require massage therapists to obtain a permit from the county's health department. Instead, local massage therapists will only have to be certified by the state.

"The whole field of massage has evolved and changed incredibly in the past couple of decades, such that there are a lot of very legitimate medical practitioners out there using massage for all kinds of health reasons," Deputy County Manager Marsha Allgeier told ARLnow.com. "In a way, it's kind of an archaic law that we're getting rid of… the old way of looking at massage therapists really does have to change."

"If there are illegal activities going on — that is, prostitution — that it needs to be treated as a police matter," Allgeier said. "That's the way to deal with the illegal activity that's going on, not by requiring all massage professionals to go through an unnecessary… bureaucratic licensure process."

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  1. Sounds like Arlington County might get a happy ending after all.

  2. In other news, Harris Township, Centre County, PA, is busily trying to run real chicken ranches out of business. Or, rather, at least ensure you have 10+ acres and agricultural zoning.

  3. But, but…without occupational licensing, how will I be able to keep charging my clients $350 an hour for talking on the phone?

  4. This is the kind of stuff Libertarian political types should be pushing as hard as possible. Ridding this country of local anti-freedom laws.

    Local. Local. Local.

    Stop with the “let’s legalize all drugs nationwide” stuff for now.

    Stick to local stuff like this and the entire edifice of CRUSHING PROGRESSIVISM (CP) will dissipate quicker than a fresh supply of botox in Nan Pelosi’s medicine trough.

    1. One little problem: Have you read the requirements, still in effect, for the still-required state certif’n? Mainly:

      a minimum of 500 hours of training from a massage therapy program, certified or approved by the State Council of Higher Education; or an agency in another state, the District of Columbia or a United States territory that approves educational programs

  5. What do they mean by FBI record check and fingerprints? Does this mean that prospective massage therapists must be fingerprinted? With their fingerprint records entered into a database?

    I thought that fingerprinting was for criminal suspects.

    1. LOL…new here?

    2. They will be matched with prints lifted off a vice cop’s dick.

  6. Time to apply that same line of thought to concealed carry (and just about everything else the government requires a license to do). Don’t make the good guys jump though a bunch of hoops in hopes of stopping the bad guys.

    Just let the cops go after the bad guys…that’s their job.

  7. I practiced state and local tax law for a few years here in VA and I can say that Arlington County is one of the most heavy-handed, onerous and bureaucratically stifling when it comes to imposing taxes and responding to applications for correction of erroneous assessments. Essentially, it seems the Arlington commissioner of the revenue thinks it’s his (or her) job to fuck the taxpayer as much and as often as possible.

    My favorite case was one in which Arlington claimed my client owed the county nearly $400,000 in business, profession and occupational license (BPOL) tax. It’s a bit of a complicated issue, but the company had been in business only a bit more than a year.

    I found a provision in the Arlington County code that expressly stated that no business could be assessed more than $40,000 tax during its first year in business in the county. I filed an appeal and pointed out to the county that its own tax code prevented them from collecting the assessed taxes.

    They were not pleased.

    My client was, though – I saved them something like $350,000.

    It took a lot of filing appeals and going back and forth with the county, though, before they finally had to acknowledge that what they were trying to do would have violated their own code.

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