Florida will require that new massage therapists pass the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) as an entry-level competence exam, marking a switch from the state’s current use of the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB), the MBLEx’s creators announced May 2.

According to a statement from the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), Florida will adopt the MBLEx on Aug. 1 and use it exclusively as of May 1, 2009.

The MBLEx was introduced Oct. 1, 2007, with eight states adopting it by late October (massagemag.com/eightstates). This week Florida joined Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and West Virginia to become the 16th State to recognize the MBLEx.  
Founded in 2005, the FSMTB developed the MBLEx to provide a reliable exam under control of state regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing massage and bodywork practice, rather than having examinations administered by a third-party organization, such as the NCETMB’s National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork or the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, whose exam some states accept. The Federation quickly grew after its founding and now has 28 states as members, nearly three-quarters of states that regulate the profession.

“Exclusive use of the MBLEx is the sound approach to protecting the public and giving the profession a uniform credential that would be recognized anywhere in the United States,” said FSMTB President Patty Glenn, L.M.T. “This could never happen with the existing certification process because some states are either prohibited by law or reluctant to delegate to an outside organization.”