Of the 50 states in America, 38 recognize Licensed Massage Therapists. These therapists are required to have a strong grasp of anatomy, kinesiology, and physiology. Further, they are to have a strong understanding of professional standards (particularly ethics). Finally, they are to understand the theory and techniques behind massage therapy (foot massage, deep tissue massage, chair massage, kneading, compression, vibration, etc.)
As of January 1, 2013, licensed massage therapists were given the ability to achieve a higher, more rigorous and prestigious credential for their profession.
The credential is that of a “Board Certification”. Many healthcare professions (Physician MD, Nurse, Dentist, Podiatrist, etc.) offer such a title, and it indicates that the practitioner in question has achieved a higher level of training and true mastery of their practice.
This marks an important step in the massage therapy profession, as it adds a further requirement for excellence in the field, and rejuvenates a system of standards that has been untouched for nearly twenty years.
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Body Work (NCBTMB) made the decision to raise the standards due to “a deterioration of standards necessary to uphold quality programs” (1). The Board recognizes that many licensed massage therapists practice under the most stringent rules, but that a lack of update in quality of standards has led to some natural deterioration over time.
The solution: RAISE THE STANDARDS, and make getting board certified both an update in standards and a testament to a particular practitioner’s dedication to their practice and field.
The NCBTMB states, “Therapists achieving this credential will have the proper foundation to better serve their clients and demonstrate a commitment to raising the standards of the profession that have remained stagnant for the past 20 years” (1).
This credential will serve to be the highest in the field of massage therapy, and will be very likely to become the new standard to both practitioners and patients. This is why licensed massage therapists want to achieve this credential as soon as possible. It will serve to better both the practice of massage therapy and integrative medicine, and the patients that receive the care.
Further, patients will eventually seek those who are board certified over those who are not, and this increase in credential will soon become the new standard for licensed massage therapists.
Here are the benefits of Board Certification as per the NCBTMB (1):
- Represents the highest standard in the field
- Communicates a commitment to safe, ethical practice
- Provides a competitive edge
- Gains visibility and credibility
- Increases employment opportunities within/between states
- Reassures clients and employers that you are committed to excellence in your professional development and conduct
- Includes a listing in NCBTMB’s Find a Practitioner resource
- Will be highly promoted and publicized—at the individual and collective levels—by NCBTMB
- Reinforces and underscores practitioners as healthcare providers on par with other professionals requiring certification
- Requirements for this credential were established by practitioners within the field to uphold a high standard of excellence.
You may ask yourself, “How do I gain the board certification credential as a Licensed Massage Therapist.
Well the steps are simple and right in front of you. Listed below are the requirements for board certification as per the NCBTMB (1):
- Pass the Board Certification exam (The exam may be taken twice within a six-month period, with a 45-day wait between sittings.)
- Complete a minimum of 750 hours of education (includes the core program and subsequently completed continuing education)
- Complete 250 hours of professional hands-on experience over no less than six months from graduation
- Pass a thorough national background check
- Obtain a current CPR certification
- Affirm their commitment to the NCBTMB Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics
- Commit to opposing Human Trafficking
Organizations like the Integrative Medicine & Holistic Health Association are looking for the cream of the crop integrative practitioners from around the country. Board certified licensed massage therapists are exactly what the association needs, as they have proven to be exemplary in their practice. If you are a massage therapist, follow the free membership link below to learn more about how to receive patients who are in pain and need massage