For Immediate Release Media Contact: Ron Precht
January 26, 2009 847-905-1649

AMTA Announces Support for MBLEx as Massage Licensing Exam

(Evanston, IL) For many years, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has supported an envisioned future of portability of massage practice, fair and consistent licensing in all states, and uniform standards for the profession. AMTA continues to believe acceptance of one exam for state regulation of massage therapy will give a consistent message to legislators and regulators about massage licensing that can best facilitate the achievement of these goals.

Given its development by state regulatory boards and rapidly-growing acceptance by states (15 regulated states already have made a change), AMTA believes the MBLEx exam, developed by the Federation of State massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), is the best choice for a licensing exam that can lead to portability of massage practice.

AMTA also recognizes that thousands of massage therapists have passed massage therapy exams administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB), understanding that passing the exam would or could fulfill regulatory requirements. As states move to the MBLEx for licensing, AMTA will advocate for massage therapists to not be required to take another licensing exam if they have already passed a NCBTMB massage therapy exam or one the state regulatory board considers equivalent. The national certification credential needs to be an important part of any grandfathering process.

In meetings over the past two months, AMTA discussed its views in person with the NCBTMB and the FSMTB. AMTA President M.K. Brennan also restated to them the association’s long-held opinion that national certification is a valuable cornerstone of the massage therapy profession. It is one that can provide a credential to massage therapists who choose to demonstrate that their knowledge, skills and abilities are more advanced than the entry-level requirements needed to practice.

Becoming nationally certified also gives massage therapists in states without regulation a means to assert their professionalism and commitment to continuing professional development. AMTA encourages use of NCBTMB massage therapy exams in states that do not regulate the profession, to protect massage therapists from having to take another exam if their state adopts regulation later. AMTA recognizes that massage therapists in unregulated states should pass the required licensing exam if they intend to practice in a regulated state.

“Our Board of Directors recognizes that the profession is changing rapidly,” said AMTA President M.K. Brennan. “This will be further enlightened as the profession develops and agrees upon a massage therapy body of knowledge. We hope our support for one massage licensing exam will help move the entire profession forward in a unified way.”

AMTA will not be proactive in getting states to change to the MBLEx. As the association pursues its ongoing regulatory goals and the question of a licensing exam is raised, AMTA will support the MBLEx as the preferred massage therapy licensing exam in all states, because it enhances portability.

AMTA did not rush into making its decision. Its view was thoroughly researched and openly discussed with the boards of the NCBTMB and the FSMTB. All issues were examined regarding support for the MBLEx exam, as well as its impact on massage therapists and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. The association acknowledges that the transition period ahead may be challenging, but looks forward to a positive future for the profession and for all massage therapists. AMTA will continue to work to protect the right to practice for all qualified massage therapists.