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SFHC Article 29

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Massage Licensing FAQ

2013 SF Massage Report (pdf)

Massage Legislation

Information about:

Massage Practitioner License

Permit for your establishment

Outcall Massage Permit

Approved Schools

Program Contact

Phone: (415) 252-3800
Fax: (415) 252-3894

Please Note:

Fees are non-refundable

Bounced check fees are $50.00

We Do Not Accept Cash

Police Background check expires after three (3) months

You are responsible for paying your yearly license fee.

If you have a change of address or wish to cancel your permit, you need to inform us in writing at:
DPH - Environmental Health.
Massage License Program,
1390 Market Street, Suite 210,
San Francisco, CA 94102
You must also notify the Tax Collector.

Massage Practitioner License Requirements


All massage practitioners are required to obtain a license from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, except if you already possess a CAMTC issued license or if you are a licensed healthcare provider you are not required to also apply for a San Francisco Department of Public health Practitioners license. To obtain a practitioner license, follow the steps outlined below. Application fee and service charge amounts may be found in the Fee Schedule.


Step 1. Application Process

Bring the following to the Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section.

  1. Completed Massage Practitioner Application (pdf)
  2. Photo ID: driver's license, identification card, passport or government ID card. Applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
  3. Original diploma(s) from a California massage school, certified by the Department of Consumer Affairs and approved by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC).
  4. Proof of 500 hours of instruction. Proof of hours must be on the diploma or appropriate official school issued transcript

    SFDPH will only accept diploma and proof of instruction hours from a California school approved by the CAMTC

  5. Application fee payable to San Francisco Department of Public Health. Non-refundable, check or money order ONLY. Bounced check fees are $50.00.


Step 2. Complete Background Check (Livescan)

Submit an official referral form for background check (pdf) to San Francisco Police Department.

  1. Service Charge fee (non-refundable, check or money order ONLY) payable to San Francisco Police Department.
  2. There are no appointments. Expect a waiting time of one or more hours at SFPD. Arrive early.
  3. SFPD sends completed background check results to SFDPH approximately 4-6 weeks from the time you submit your request.
  4. Background check expires after three (3) months.


Step 3. Massage Practitioner Exam/Photo ID/License Fee

You will be notified and scheduled to take the massage practitioner exam only when your file is complete, i.e. our office has all necessary documents including diploma, transcripts and results of the background check.

The Exam Day Process takes approximately 1-2 hours to complete.

You must show up to take the massage exam on the date/time specified on your confirmation letter. If you are unable to make your specified exam date, you must notify us immediately at 415-252-3800

  1. Bring a photo ID (driver's license, passport, or ID card)
  2. No drop-ins. No waiting list for exam. Arrive early. If you are more than 10 minutes late, you will be required to reschedule for the next available examination.
  3. You are allotted one hour to complete the exam.
  4. You will receive the result of your exam on the same day.


The minimum score to passing the exam is 70%.

You will be billed by the San Francisco Tax Collector approximately 10 days after passing the exam.

If you fail your exam you will need to schedule for the next available exam.


Massage Program Exemptions:

The following businesses may provide Massage services without obtaining a Massage Business permit:

  1. Businesses providing Massage services performed solely by physicians, surgeons, chiropractors, osteopaths, nurses or any physical therapists who are duly licensed to practice their respective professions in the State of California and persons working directly under the supervision of or at the direction of such licensed persons, working at the same location as the licensed person, and administering massage services subject to review or oversight by the licensed person.
  2. Businesses providing Massage services performed solely by barbers or cosmetologists who are duly licensed under the laws of the State of California, while engaging in practices within the scope of their licenses, and limited to the massaging of the neck, face, scalp, hands or feet of the clients.
  3. Hospitals, nursing homes, mental health facilities, or any other health facilities duly licensed by the State of California, providing Massage services performed solely by their employees acting within the scope of their employment.