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Frequently
Asked Questions
  
San Francisco Health Network
Environmental Health

Massage Licenses and Permits: Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. Do I need to obtain a permit to do massage?

Yes.  Anyone who wants to offer massage for compensation or operate a massage establishment is required to obtain a permit through Department of Public Health, Environmental Health (SFDPH-EH).

 

2. What do I need to do to before I apply for a permit?

First, contact San Francisco Planning to ensure:

  • The proposed use of the proposed address is approved and properly zoned
  • Any handicap accessibility issues at the proposed location are addressed.
  •  

    Second, contact the Treasurer & Tax Collector to open a Business Registration Account for either yourself (as a practitioner) or for the establishment.

     

    Third, make an appointment to speak with an inspector at SFDPH-EH at (415) 252-3800.  You can download and complete an application packet beforehand (please refer to #3 for links to the application packet that you are interested in).

     

    3. What kind of permit do I need?

    CAMTC Massage Therapist License from the California Massage Therapy Council is required to work as a massage practitioner in the city and county of San Francisco.

     

    In addition, you will need one of three types of permits issued by SFDPH:

    1. An Establishment Permit: If you want to operate from a single fixed place of business and more than one individual will administer massage for compensation

     

    2. A Sole Practitioner Massage Establishment Permit if you are a licensed Massage Practitioner and you want to provide massage for compensation from a single fixed place of business, and you are the only one who will be operating out of that fixed location.

     

    3. An Outcall Massage Establishment Permit if you do not operate out of a fixed place, and you provide massage for compensation at a location designated by the client

     

    4a. If I have a Sole Practitioner Massage Establishment Permit, do I need another permit if I want to perform outcall services?

    No.  The Sole Practitioner Massage Establishment Permit, allows you to practice at your fixed place as well as at locations of the client's choosing.

     

    4b. If I have a an Outcall Massage Establishment Permit, do I need another permit if I want to start offering massage at a single fixed place?

    Yes.  If you initially have just the Outcall Massage Establishment Permit and want to also operate out of a fixed facility as a Sole Practitioner, you must obtain the Sole Practitioner Massage Establishment Permit before you may offer massage for compensation at the fixed location.

     

    5. Who is exempt from obtaining a permit to operate massage?

    Physicians, surgeons, chiropractors, osteopaths, nurses, or any physical therapists who are duly licensed to practice their respective professions in the State of California; persons working directly under the supervision of, or at the direction of, such licensed persons, working at the same locations, and administering massage services subject to review or oversight by the licensed person.

     

    6. I have a DPH massage practitioner license, do I need to get a CAMTC certificate as well?

    No.  If you have either a DPH massage practitioner license or a CAMTC certificate, you do NOT need to obtain the other.  If you hold both license and certificate, contact this Department and relinquish one or the other; Article 29 does not allow you to be in possession of both.

     

    7. I have a CAMTC certificate, what do I need to do?

    This is dependent on whether you want to operate as your own business or if you want to work for an already established business.:

    1. If you want to open your own Massage Establishment and employ other people who do massage for compensation at your fixed location, you need to open a Business Registration Account for the establishment with the San Francisco Treasurer & Tax Collector.  You also need to obtain a Massage Establishment permit from SFDPH.

     

    2. If you want to work as a sole practitioner you need to open a Business Registration Account for yourself.  You also need to obtain from SFDPH either a Sole Practitioner Permit (if you are going to operate out of a fixed location) or an Outcall Permit (if you are only going to do massage at locations of the client's choice such as their home or office)..

     

    3. If you want to work as an independent contractor at an already permitted massage establishment, you need to open a Business Registration Account for yourself.

     

    4. If you want to be employed by an already permitted massage establishment, you do not need to do anything as long as you have a valid CAMTC certificate.

     

    8. This is all still confusing.  Is there someone who can further help me with questions?

    Yes.  You can contact an inspector at SFDPH-EH at (415) 252-3800 to schedule an appointment; or, you can contact the Office of Small Business to assist with your application and/or questions.