Being a massage therapist professional for a number of years in Nevada, I have seen many changes that have affected the direction of our profession, our passion, and ultimately affect the way the public perceives massage therapy.
Last year, the AMTA began its Consumer Awareness Program (CAP) which has been wildly successful, for both the public and members. Check out some of the video, member stories, and news stories that have come out of this well-planned, multi-year project. Your dollars are at work in promoting massage and its benefits to large gatherings of people, like at races and social events of magnitude around the U.S.
This is one way that our organization makes well-known the benefits of regular massage.
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) has done the same types of promotion over the years – through a short-lived “certified spa” program (where, when all the LMTs on staff were Nationally-certified, the spa is listed and promoted as an NCBTMB-approved spa/employer), member self-promotion with materials supplied by the NCBTMB (article copy for publication, use of logos, website resource for the public, Find A Certified Massage Therapist listing service, etc), and support of a credential that has long-established the competency and possibly proficiency of a certified practitioner.
As of January 1st, 2013, things again have changed for NCTM/Bs.
Just when you were getting used to the title… Since the establishment, in 2005, of a competency exam for licensing purposes by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) – the MBLEx – the NCBTMB has revamped their program. Now, the NCBTMB also has a [rebranded] competency exam for licensing (formerly, the National Certification Exam (NCE)), now called the NCBTMB Licensing Exam. These two tests by two different organizations are considered (by at least 39 states) to be the standard test to which the states’ Applicants [for licensure] must pass. Nevada is one of those states where either test is accepted for license application.
Polaroid: Nevada [the Nevada State Board of Massage Therapists (NSBMT)] never required that an Applicant or Licensee “be” Nationally-certified…and still does not – just to pass the NCBTMB’s entry level exam (and, now, the MBLEx is an added, optional exam accepted). When a professional massage therapist is Nationally-certified, it is a credential separate from “being” competent. National certification is a professional’s commitment to a standard that exceeds basic competency. In the past, that Nationally-certified standard included (mainly): 500 hours of classroom education, an earned number of Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) every 4-year renewal period and an agreement to a Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics outlined by the NCBTMB (to which all Certificants agree to uphold).
Instagram: Today, under the newly-termed “Board-certified” title that Certificants are using that have already renewed with the new requirements, the additional requirements will include: 750 (total) hours (minimum) of classroom education (was “500-hour core massage program” prior), 250 hours of professional hands-on experience, CPR certification of the NCBTMB Certificant, national background check (every application/renewal), agreement to an anti-Human Trafficking statement. These new requirements apply to new applicants AND any currently-Nationally-certified massage therapist that wishes to renew their NCBTMB certification.
With that said (and “new” way of doing things at the NCBTMB having hit the ground running), the AMTA-Nevada Chapter supports our members who are and will be NCBTMB Board-certified. We continue to, as an AMTA Chapter, be a source for NCBTMB-approved course credits. We also have a great relationship with some staff members at the NCBTMB – while we encourage Nationally-certified chapter members to contact the NCBTMB directly for individual assistance (specific, case-by-case), we will certainly do our best to answer your questions and send you in the right direction, when you find a challenge.
New Requirements, New Friends We are in the process of allying, in Southern Nevada, with a couple of offices that offer CPR programs – back in my day, class was “all day” and cost a little more than the current programs. The programs we’re working with (one of which is an American Heart Association CPR training/certification course) are designed for concise and complete education and cost less, time-wise and dollar-wise, and are very promising to utilize as a source for your Board-certification and any other purposes. If you are in the Northern Nevada and know of a program that may fulfill the NCBTMB’s Board-certified requirement of “CPR certified”, please let us know! We’d like to start informing all our members about the potential relationship, making things easier for every member.
Should I renew? This is really a question based on your perceived value in the NCBTMB. I renew to stay active in my profession. I also volunteer for the NCBTMB as an exam Item Reviewer – there are plenty of ways to “be” in the profession, with whichever organization you find value. The NCBTMB has been there for us as a profession, through thick and thin, and they are changing with our profession to make it the best for everyone: practitioners and public alike. For as long as I have been a massage therapist, the integrity of the NCBTMB has always been noble, their Standards and Codes of high regard when adhered to, and I appreciate the distinction that the credential brings to my profession and what I love doing most for my clients: massage therapy. I believe that without the organizations that are represented by the mere numbers of professionals who populate them, the organization loses identity and the ability to be accessible by the public, news outlets, allied professionals, and the regulatory bodies that also strive to seek the right model or advice on how to apply laws for the safety of the public we all serve.
The diligence of “claiming a profession” and being professional exists, in my opinion, in the members of professional associations like the AMTA, and certificants of a program that strives to create “better” massage therapists at every turn. If the organizations are left unmanned, from where will credibility and efficacy come?
My word alone is not enough for today’s massage therapy client and massage therapy market – the clients are toooooo educated now 😉
The AMTA Nevada Chapter is here to support your decisions: to renew, to apply, to be active in your profession.
Our newsletter is coming out soon with information about our Annual Member Meeting and Convention – stay tuned for some excellent ways to distinguish yourself as a professional with continuing education courses (NCBTMB-approved!), effective networking opportunities, and…FOOD!
AMTA-NV Chapter President