The NCBTMB is one and only organization that has a Board Certification for massage therapists in general. There are also certification programs offered by the Lymphology Association of North America, Certification Board for Structural Integration, and one by the Certification Board for Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists for specific specialties.
To become Board Certified, you must meet or exceed the following requirements:
- Graduation from a NCBTMB Assigned School* (500 hours)
- Passing score on the Board Certification Exam
- Pass a criminal background check
- Verification of current massage therapy state license
- Agree to uphold NCBTMB’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics
The cost to apply for Board Certification is $250, plus a $25 background check fee (performed by NCBTMB).
*If you did not graduate from a NCBTMB Assigned School, your school is now closed, or you completed international training, you may instead apply for Board Certification via Portfolio Review.
500 hours of the following courses:
- 125 hours of Anatomy, Physiology,
- • 40 hours of Pathology
- • 200 hours of hands-on, Western-based
- massage therapy lab/clinic
- • 4 hours of Business
- • 6 hours of Ethics
- • 125 hours of massage therapy education that
- completes the program
Unfortunately, this does not separate those who are state licensed from those who are Board Certified and certification has lost it’s significance in the massage profession.
Specialty Certificates have been added by the NCBTMB to try to show that massage therapists have extra training in specific topics. The way these work though, with having certificates from specific schools or programs is that it only promotes the specific schools. I was told that when these were created that they were to be a stepping stone to real Board Certifications but I have not seen that happening yet. The NCBTMB is in financial trouble.
We need true Board Certifications in Clinical Massage for Rehab, Sports Massage Therapy, Oncology Massage, Hospital Based Massage and Pregnancy Massage for starters.
Creating Certification Programs
Defining Features of Quality Certification and Assessment-Based Certificate Programs. Institute for Credentialing Excellence (PDF)
- Certification programs provide an assessment of knowledge, skills or abilities (KSA’s) required for competent performance of a specific role.
- The specific roles are defined in a comprehensive job analysis study. Program content is defined by job incumbents and/or employers through the formal job/practice analysis or role delineation process.
- The KSA’s can be acquired by ANY method or training program.
- Continued competence is required through recertification and regular CE
- A governing body or credentialing organization with representation from relevant stakeholders should oversee the certification program. This body maintains control over all essential decisions related to the certification program. In our profession the credentialing organization for overseeing our one primary certification program is the NCBTMB.
- The certification program provider conducts the program independent of any specific education or training program. Therefore, the certification is NOT linked to a specific class, course or other educational program and the certification assessment is NOT designed to measure specific learning outcomes of any specific class or course. The certification program provider is not the sole provider of any educational programs that may be used to prepare for the certification examination.
- Eligibility requirements may include completion of specific education/training; however, the certification program provider is NOT the sole provider of any education/training that may be required for certification. Nor is the certification program provider responsible for accreditation of educational or training programs or courses of study leading to the certification.
- The purpose of the assessment process is to evaluate mastery of the knowledge, skills, or competencies required for certification. Any generally accepted assessment method may be utilized for this purpose. The assessment takes place after the participant has had the opportunity to acquire the targeted knowledge, skills, or competencies.
- The assessment is conducted in a standardized manner in a secure, proctored environment.
- Successful completion of the assessment is required to receive the certification.
- The certification is time limited (it will lapse at the end of a predetermined period.) To maintain the current credential, the certified individual is required to pursue additional activities such as continued professional development in order to ensure continued competence.
- Individuals who completed the certification program may often designate themselves as certified in “XYZ” or with other types of credentialing designations such as specific letters that appear after their name (such as BCTMB, CPA, or ATC).