Approved Providers: From the Early Years to our Envisioned Future
October 31, 2013
I am going to start this with a quote, paraphrasing by Mother Teresa:
"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle.
I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."
Over the last few days, there has been some talk about NCBTMB losing sight of its mission of defining and advancing the highest standards, of being the pioneering and premier organization in certification and education and a key stakeholder for our profession. It hurt…… especially because it went to the foundation of being the best therapeutic massage and bodywork entity that enabled thousands of today’s professionals to be licensed practitioners and/or continuing education providers for our profession. Perhaps it is a wake-up call…….So as a new chair; I take a step back to see what we came from and what we can be.
Education is any training or class that one takes to learn a competency or a set of skills. Continuing Education is taken to improve one's job skills. Many professions require that members of their profession continue learning new and changing skills to retain their credentials. Licensing bodies in a number of fields require continuing education requirements for members who hold licenses to practice within a particular profession. These requirements are intended to encourage professionals to expand their foundations of knowledge and stay up-to-date on new developments.
NCBTMB was not only a pioneer but a trail blazer in this endeavor.
The Early Years
The mission of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) was/is to define and advance the highest standards in the massage therapy and bodywork profession. To accomplish this, the National Certification Board (NCB) developed the National Certification credential, which evolved into Board Certification and also implemented continuing education standards through our Approved Provider (AP) program.
To The Present Day
As the profession evolved over the years, so too did the AP program, including a greater range of content that massage therapists utilize in their practices. In the beginning of the approval process, instructors were required to submit qualifications and information on all courses that were submitted. As the number of applications submitted increased dramatically, the time required to approve CE Providers and their courses increased to 6 months from submission through approval.
NCB realized that this approval process prevented instructors from delivering CE hours to participants in a timely manner and refined the AP program using guidelines from The American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Although individual professions may have different standards, the most widely accepted standard was developed by ANSI. Using these standards, NCBTMB was able to decrease its approval time and grow its AP program.
For the Future
Earlier this month, NCBTMB refined its AP program as of October 1, 2013 which now incorporates the review of courses and also Approved Providers. We seek a new qualifying committee to ensure consistency of quality and relevance to the developing needs of the profession as well as supporting licensing requirements. As we move forward with this program, NCB will require a “Think Tank” of our strongest educators throughout the country. Together, they will be tasked with redefining acceptable CE content.
The process, performed properly, has the potential to refine the current AP program into something that our entire community of Licensed Massage Therapists, Certified Massage Therapists, Schools, States and Approved Providers can agree on and use nationally. NCBTMB will collaborate with any/all allied organizations and stakeholders to develop a mechanism to monitor the approved providers as well as the course content and material.
The massage therapy and bodywork profession must come together to find a way to determine what continuing education content standards look like for Licensure Renewal and Board Certification. Only when this is accomplished will we be able define the highest standards in this profession. We feel that we at NCB have an excellent foundation, infrastructure and process for the future of continuing education, but we need the support from the profession. Let not our experiences of the past drive our perceptions of the future. Let it definitely not feed our skepticism; let it inspire us to change, transform and morph to the next best step. Think not what NCBTMB should have, could have done. Think what you would do to make it attain the glory it deserves and that you have been part of for the last two decades.
Call to Action:
NCBTMB is inviting Subject Matter Experts to define and refine acceptable continuing education content and modalities. We would like to reach out and embrace the thoughts of our peer organizations and request their participation with this project. We welcome discussions from everyone in our industry concerning the NCBTMB, APCE program. We welcome the experienced and the committed educators to a radically better education system for massage professionals. Let us take stock of the reform movement, education politics and much else.
I end with another quote from Sir Winston Churchill
"Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts."
Courageous educators contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your interest and be a part of the solution.
This blog was written by:
Dr. Leena Guptha