FORT PIERCE, Fla. — As a representative of the community of continuing education (CE) providers and schools that sponsor CE at their institutions, the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) has maintained a position that there needs to be a single, national-level approval process for CE providers and courses.

A decision last month by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) to “implement a program that provides reliable, unbiased and appropriate vetting of continuing education providers and the classes offered to the consuming public” is of deep concern to AFMTE and its members. The Federation’s action completely ignored the largest existing CE approval program in the profession, administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB), which is used in whole or in part by 27 state massage regulatory agencies.

It is the opinion of AFMTE that adding another administrative process to the mix will not improve public protection; it would needlessly increase the cost and burden to CE providers and sponsors who already face redundant requirements with the NCBTMB program and a number of state boards that have their own CE approval programs.

Instead of creating a new and duplicative approval system for CE providers and courses, AFMTE strongly recommends that FSMTB partner with NCBTMB to utilize their well-established Approved CE Provider Program, which will better serve the needs of FSMTB and their Member Boards. AFMTE believes consolidation of this key function will be beneficial to all who are involved with the provision, approval, regulation and utilization of continuing education in the profession. A cooperative model, grounded in a legal agreement and with collective oversight of the program, will also resolve the problem of Improper Delegation of Authority that state boards currently have with their use of NCBTMB’s Approved CE Provider Program.

Having consistent standards is one of the hallmarks of a full-fledged profession. Several years ago, the AFMTE endorsed the Massage & Bodywork Therapy Examination (MBLEx) offered by FSMTB as the optimal single-source exam for our field. We encourage the FSMTB and NCBTMB to finalize an agreement whereby NCBTMB will cease to offer its examinations for licensure purposes in favor of the MBLEx.

AFMTE also believes this is the opportune time to consolidate state and national CE approval processes, as well. AFMTE stands ready to work with both FSMTB and NCBTMB to ensure that a single-source CE approval program is created and administered that meets the needs of all stakeholder groups. The organization sees this as a balanced and mutually-beneficial solution that will advance the profession.

About AFMTE

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education is an independent voice, advocate and resource for the community of massage therapy and bodywork schools and educators. It serves the entire education sector—from entry-level training programs through post-graduate studies. The Alliance may be contacted at 1232 Bonefish Court, Fort Pierce, FL 34949. The phone number is 855-236-8331, the general office email address is admin@afmte.org, and the website is http://www.afmte.org.

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