The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education has completed Phase 1 of its National Teacher Education Standards Project, and is pleased to announce the publication of the Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers. This document – the first of its kind in the massage therapy field – describes the foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) needed for teachers to produce successful and consistent outcomes with adult learners in a variety of educational settings.

These comprehensive standards apply to the work of teachers across the entire continuum of massage therapy education, from entry-level training programs to post-graduate studies. They also apply to teachers throughout the arc of their professional careers.

In December 2010, the Alliance launched the National Teacher Education Standards Project (TESP) as part of its long-term commitment to strengthen and improve the quality of massage therapy education. This endeavor is both timely and essential because the majority of instructors in this field have not received formal training in the theory and methodology of teaching. As well, there are few jurisdictions that uphold competency standards for massage therapy teachers.

The Core Competencies will provide guidance to classroom teachers, continuing education providers, schools, national accrediting commissions, state regulatory agencies and other organizations in the massage therapy field.

The National Teacher Education Standards Project (TESP) will be carried out through a series of five phases: With Phase 1 now finished, the Alliance moves into Phases 2 and 3, which involve the creation of a model teacher training curriculum and the identification and development of training resources. To ensure that teachers have achieved the competencies, a voluntary certification program will be established as Phase 4. The final step will involve working with school accreditors and regulators to incorporate these teacher education standards. Overall, it’s estimated the TESP will take 5-10 years.

The Alliance’s Professional Standards Committee was responsible for the development of this document. A diverse group of experienced teachers, CE providers and massage school directors researched existing teacher standards throughout the realms of public education and specialized professional education. The committee incorporated some of these well-researched templates, adding to them the unique nature and attributes of massage therapy education. Throughout the process, important feedback on working drafts was obtained from attendees at the Alliance’s 2011 and 2012 Annual Conferences, as well as through public comment periods. The finished product is a true community effort.

According to Alliance President Pete Whitridge, LMT, “The establishment of the Core Competencies is a landmark achievement in the massage therapy field. Now that these standards are in place, we are shifting our focus to the practical tasks of implementation. In the months and years to come, the Alliance will provide resources to assist individuals and institutions in the process of meeting these standards, for the ultimate benefit of students and clients of massage therapy.”

In ongoing support of this project, the Alliance will focus on the theme of “Creating a Culture of Teaching Excellence” for it’s 2013 Annual Conference. This event will be held July 18-20 in St. Charles, Missouri, and will feature workshops and discussion forums about the process of implementing teacher standards. The Alliance looks forward to the input of all who attend this conference, as these voices and perspectives shape the future of massage therapy education.

About the Alliance

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education is the independent voice, advocate and resource for the community of massage therapy 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 www.afmte.org.

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