The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) is an independent, private, nonprofit organization founded in 1992. The mission of NCBTMB is to define and advance the highest standards in the massage therapy and bodywork profession. In support of this mission, NCBTMB serves the profession through Board Certification, Approved Providers, and Assigned Schools.
The Journey to the Board Certification Credential
NCBTMB’s history is inspiring to us, not just because it changed the course of our profession, but because it was—and still is—created and led by massage therapists committed to excellence in their chosen profession.
Highlights of our history all massage therapists should know:
- 1988: AMTA Board members, along with several of our esteemed authors, massage therapists, school owners, and leaders of the profession, began to brainstorm the needs of our profession. At this time, only a handful of states regulated massage therapy—which meant that in several states, someone could dream about becoming a massage therapist and decide the next day to open a business. Despite their good intentions, these therapists did not have the necessary training to help the public heal.
- 1990: The AMTA Board of Directors invited a handful of massage therapy professionals to create a test that would help with reciprocity throughout states. With this test, massage therapists would prove they had graduated from a formalized massage therapy program. Most importantly, the test would be accepted in the few states that regulated massage therapy. Successfully passing this test would show a higher understanding of massage therapy, as well as how to work with the body.
- Mid-1990: Soon after, this same group contacted NOCCA to follow proper certification guidelines—and even hired a Psychometrician to ensure the test would be measured properly. The NCETMB was the first psychometric test for the massage therapy profession.
- 1991: Massage therapy school owners nationwide came together to write and edit test questions.
- 1992: The first test was delivered in 1992 by pen and paper in 40 different locations. Over 5,000 massage therapists took the first test—proof that this test was something worth fighting for.
- Mid-1992: The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork is founded and National Certification credential created. The main purpose of creating this credential was to create reciprocity throughout the United States.
- 2005: State board members from 22 states come together to talk about aligning the profession and creating standard licensure requirements. This organization, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), creates an entry level licensure examination to create reciprocity throughout the country, the MBLEx.
- 2013: NCBTMB introduces the Board Certification credential, the highest voluntary credential in the massage therapy profession.
- 2014: NCBTMB agrees to no longer offer licensing examinations to the public, focusing exclusively on Board Certification, Approved Providers, and Assigned Schools.
About Board Certification
In January 2013, NCBTMB introduced the Board Certification credential. This credential requires that certificants pass the Board Certification exam and complete 750 hours of education, 250 hours of hands-on work experience, pass a background check, commit to oppose human trafficking, and hold a current CPR certificate.
Until 2013, we previously offered National Certification—a credential that was the first of its kind in the massage therapy and bodywork profession. With the introduction of Board Certification, the highest, voluntary credential available, we have begun phasing out National Certification. As of December 31, 2016, all Nationally Certified practitioners will either need to transition to Board Certification or their credential will no longer be valid.
For more information on Board Certification, click here.
For more information about how to transition to Board Certification, click here.
At NCBTMB, our goals are to:
- Elevate the profession by recognizing and encouraging excellence in schools, continuing education, therapist competency and high standards.
- Establish certification as a recognized credential of professional and ethical standards.
- Promote the worth of Board Certification to health, therapeutic massage and bodywork professionals, public policy makers and the general public.
- Assure and maintain the integrity, stability and quality of the Board Certification program.
- Periodically update the program to reflect state-of-the-art practices in therapeutic massage and bodywork.
We are proud to be governed by an NCBTMB Board of Directors—including a public member appointed to represent the interests of consumers. Elected by our Board Certified practitioners, our board members embody the diversity of our industry in their expertise in many modalities.
1333 Burr Ridge Parkway
Burr Ridge, IL 60527
Chair: Bruce Baltz, LMT, BCTMB
Chair-Elect: Teresa M. Matthews, LMT, CPT, BCTMB
Treasurer: Dr. Stuart Watts, D.O.M.
Secretary and CEO: Steve Kirin, BA
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