The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education, a new independent organization for massage schools and educators, announced it has completed the process of becoming a legal entity and is now a nonprofit corporation. This step will be followed by application to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for status as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt educational organization.
The alliance is also pleased to announce the beginning of its Founding Member Campaign, which will run until Nov. 25. The campaign provides an opportunity to support this historic effort and become one of the pioneers to step forward to help launch this organization and give it a dynamic start. Founding memberships are available for massage schools, teachers and continuing education providers, as well as companies that offer products and services to the education community. Complete details on this exciting opportunity are available on the alliance’s Web site, www.afmte.org. Note that a general membership drive will begin in December.
A six-member leadership team of veteran educators is overseeing the work of building the administrative structure for the alliance, as well as planning for its first annual meeting, which will be held in mid-2010 (details to be announced). Statements of the alliance’s mission and goals were recently finalized:
The Alliance is the voice, advocate and resource for the community of massage therapy schools and educators.
• Strengthen and improve massage education by providing information and educational opportunities to institutions, administrators, teachers and continuing education providers.
• Provide forums for learning, fellowship and mutual support.
• Advocate for the interests of members.
• Serve as the designated representative for massage therapy education in dealing with other stakeholders in the field, as well as organizations and regulatory bodies outside the field.
• Develop standards that guide and inform the effective teaching of massage therapy.
• Promote access to massage therapy education to those who are seeking it, from entry-level training through postgraduate studies.
The leadership team has received a number of questions regarding the position of the alliance in relation to the two major professional associations, Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) and the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). To begin with, it is important to note that most long-established professions have an independent body that represents the educational institutions in that discipline; it’s considered an essential part of the overall structure of a profession. In light of that, the alliance has been established as a free-standing organization. This means the domain of massage therapy education finally has a champion of its own.
For a number of years, both ABMP and AMTA have maintained membership categories for massage schools. From the standpoint of the alliance, it is beneficial for schools to have a relationship with the associations that provide membership opportunities and insurance for their students and graduates. The alliance views this as complementary to the fundamental services and advocacy it will provide its own members–-not as competition. In fact, the leadership team is already in communication with ABMP and AMTA to determine how the alliance may best operate in cooperation with them.
While the formal announcement of the alliance’s launch just occurred Aug. 31, the process that led to this event has been ongoing for several years. There has been considerable dialogue among interested educators about their vision for an optimal education organization. This developmental process has been completely separate from the internal restructuring AMTA recently completed with its Council of Schools.
The focus of the leadership team is clearly on the future of this new endeavor. By strengthening and improving massage education, the alliance will bring great benefit to schools, teachers, students and practitioners, along with everyone in the general public who receives massage therapy.
About the Alliance
The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education will serve the entire education sector, from entry-level training programs through postgraduate studies. It will include three primary membership groups: Schools (for the institutions themselves); Teachers (for instructors in those institutions); and Continuing Education Providers (for those who offer post-graduate training). The organization will be governed by a board of directors elected democratically from within its membership. For more information, e-mail Executive Director Rick Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org.