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MTAA Substantial Equivalency

MTAA Substantial Equivalency

The MTAA Substantial Equivalency (SE) process is intended for therapists who have been trained outside of Canada or have trained in a less than 2,200-hour program prior to this being the requirement from all associations in Alberta. The Substantial Equivalency process is not intended to be a secondary option to completing a 2,200 hour Massage Therapy program.

MTAA SE is a path to obtain Active membership with our association for those individuals who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Have completed formal education in Massage Therapy outside of Canada.
  • Have completed a Massage Therapy program in Canada that is not MTAA-approved.
  • Have completed formal education in Canada that is less than 2200 hours.


The purpose of MTAA SE is to ensure that all applicants demonstrate their ability to provide safe, and ethical treatment while adhering to MTAA’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. To view these and other MTAA governing documents, please CLICK HERE. 

It is important to note that applying for membership via MTAA SE does not guarantee eligibility for Active membership. It is to determine if you are substantially equivalent to our current entry-level standards for membership. This is a detailed 2 step process, and all requirements must be met before an applicant is deemed eligible to apply for MTAA Active membership.

There are 3 possible outcomes for those individuals who choose to apply for MTAA SE:

  1. The applicant is successful in all parts of this MTAA SE process. These individuals are then eligible to apply for MTAA Active membership. The applicant must pay all fees and meet any other requirements outlined for MTAA Active membership.
  2. The applicant achieves the 75% overall average but does not meet the 65% minimum test scores in all areas. In these cases, the Membership Committee may allow an applicant to meet the requirements by completing additional training. This is considered on a case-by-case basis. The applicant is responsible for all fees for any additional training that may be required. The additional training must be completed by the deadline provided at that time.
  3. The applicant is unsuccessful in this process. Applicants who are unsuccessful are advised to complete an MTAA Approved Massage Therapy program in Alberta.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there fees to apply for MTAA SE?

Yes, there are fees for the MTAA SE process. It is important to know that all fees are non-refundable.

*Please be advised that fees are subject to change without notice.

What level of training is needed to apply for MTAA Substantial Equivalency?

We receive applications from individuals who have trained around the world. Each applicant must have documentation of their formal education in Massage Therapy as well as other requirements as outlined in the application. Please review the application for all details.

Important: All information must be translated by a licensed professional translator if the applicant’s documentation is not currently in English. The applicant is required to pay for all translation fees.

What happens if I submit my application and pay the fee for Step 1 but am unsuccessful in moving to Step 2?

Applicants who are unsuccessful in meeting the requirements for any step in this process will not be refunded their fees. The MTAA will recommend that these individuals attend an MTAA Approved Massage Therapy Program to become eligible for MTAA Active membership.

To view our currently approved programs in Alberta, please CLICK HERE. 

What happens if I complete both steps, but do not meet the minimum testing scores required?

The MTAA requires that applicants meet the minimum testing scores as follows:

  • Minimum testing scores must be a total overall average of 75% or higher to be successful.
  • Applicants who earn an overall average of 75% must prove their understanding of the subject matter by earning no less than 65% in any given test category.

Where will testing take place and is there a deadline to complete my tests?

Applicants who are eligible to move to the testing part of this process will have the choice of completing their testing in either Edmonton or Calgary. The applicant is responsible for all costs for travel and accommodations if they do not reside in either of these cities.


If your initial application has been approved, you have 90 days from your application approval date to complete both the hands-on practical as well as the written exams. The examinations take approximately 2 full business days to complete.

What happens if I booked my testing dates and then need to reschedule?

Applicants who wish to reschedule exams must submit their request with at least 30 days’ advanced notice to the initial examination date booked. Changes in exam dates are limited to the availability of the third party’s testing schedule. Applicants are subject to the rescheduling fee of $75 plus GST when making these requests. The examination date must still be within the 90-day timeframe as stated above.

What should I submit first?


The first step is to download the MTAA SE Application and the MTAA Self-Assessment. The application, the self-assessment, and all documentation must be submitted at the same time. All information must be sent by emailing

We do not accept physical copies of the documentation mailed to the MTAA office. All information must be provided in digital format and sent by email. We do not accept unscheduled appointments at our office to review your application details.
If you have any questions about the MTAA Substantial Equivalency process, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Please click the links below to access the MTAA SE Application and Self-Assessment:

MTAA Substantial Equivalency Information Package & Application

MTAA Substantial Equivalency Self-Assessment