March 15, 2012: The mission of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) is to define and advance the highest standards in the massage therapy and bodywork profession.

The NCBTMB has analyzed the current landscape of the profession and our role, both past and present, in the advancement of the highest standards of the profession, and determined what we must do to stay true to our mission. It is time for a change; the time is now.

As the NCBTMB originally created a certification to support therapists in achieving excellence—when licensure meant excellence—today we must go beyond basic certification to continue to achieve our mission. We have seen, along with our stakeholders in the profession, deterioration in the standards necessary to uphold quality programs throughout all aspects of the industry. This spans the field from basic education to instances of human trafficking. Our commitment to our mission requires us now to evaluate the quality and delivery of our products and services so they are tools that therapists can access to advance their education, advance their profession, and create new promise for their future.

NCB is, therefore, completely revamping all areas of our operation—certification examination, customer service, outreach, and technology—to ensure that everything we do directly elevates the standards of the profession. We must provide a clear career path so massage therapists have the opportunity to provide their best work where it is vitally needed in a changing world.

To that end NCBTMB announces the following changes:

• Board Certification Credential. Beginning in the first quarter of 2013, NCB will launch a board certification credential. This credential will require passing of the Board Certification exam, 750 hours of education, 250 hours of hands on work experience and passing of a background check. Additional qualifications for this credential will be determined based on feedback from the profession.

• Advancements in Technology. In the summer of 2012, NCB will launch a new career management system—accessed through a new online portal where all interaction with NCB can be accomplished. Applications for all exams, recertification, approved providers, school reviews and payment for all NCB services and products will be accomplished through this new portal. This portal—in conjunction with a new website—will allow for the accomplishment of most professional development activities and will be the source of most critical industry information. Current processes will be streamlined to be accomplished quickly and easily.

• Continuing Education Program. Beginning in the summer of 2012, all continuing education courses will be vetted for approval. Our program was designed based on feedback from the Massage Approved Provider Panel (MAPP). Instructors will be required to submit their qualifications to teach each course. All continuing education for Board Certification and recertification will need to be completed through an NCBTMB Approved Provider, Assigned School or an Accredited College or University. The advancements in technology discussed above will enable implementation of this program. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.

• Online Educational Resource. Effective immediately, we are discontinuing our online practice exam. In the summer of 2012, NCB will launch a new online educational resource offering thousands of questions to help candidates test their knowledge of many specific areas of practice. This online experience can be customized to the students’ particular area of need and will be made available to schools seeking creative online tools to support their students.

• Licensing Exam. The NCETM and NCETMB, currently accepted for licensure in thirty-nine states, will be retained. The exam may now be taken at any time prior to graduation; however, formal notification will be released only upon proof of graduation from a minimum 500-hour massage therapy program. State licensing requirements are dictated by the individual states.

Cumulatively, these improvements to NCB’s slate of offerings will support the career development and professional expertise of therapists interested in maximizing their professional development and capability.