General Exam FAQ

A: National Certification was retired as of January 1, 2013 for new  applicants. The current National Certification credential will be maintained through December 31, 2016 (the end of the recertification period for those achieving the credential on December 31, 2012).
A: Both the Board Certification credential (for those gaining the credential through recertification of a valid and current National Certification and meeting the new requirements) and the Board Certification exam are currently available.
A: To achieve the Board Certification designation, practitioners must:  
  • Pass the Board Certification exam (The exam may be taken twice within a six-month period, with a 45-day wait between sittings.)
  • Complete a minimum of 750 hours of education
    • Hours from your completed massage therapy program
    • Continuing Education taken from an NCBTMB Approved Provider
    • ANY courses taken from ANY accredited college or university
  • Complete 250 hours of professional hands-on experience over no less than six months from graduation
  • Pass a thorough national background check
  • Obtain a current CPR certification
  • Affirm their commitment to the NCBTMB Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics
  • Commit to opposing Human Trafficking

*** The Board Certification Credential does not accept transcripts or allow education from a school whose NCBTMB assigned school code was not in good standing with NCBTMB as of January 01, 2013.

*** NCBTMB reserves the right to deny, revoke or suspend a school’s NCBTMB Assigned School Code if that school is not meeting current NCBTMB standards and requirements.  These actions may affect an applicant’s ability to meet the educational requirements of Board Certification. 

A: We surveyed education programs across the nation to determine what constituted a modern, higher level of knowledge, skills and abilities. All aspects of the profession of massage therapy have developed and increased over time, with the exception of the average number of required hours of education. 750 hours represents a fair compromise between state requirements and the highest level of education currently found in the massage educational environment in the United States. As standards increase over time, we will revisit the level of competency required for Board Certification.
A:  Documented, professional work experience in the field of massage therapy. 25 hours of community service may be credited toward this requirement. Work experience may be submitted in the form of a letter from an employer, date books or a letter describing past work experience.
A: Most therapists develop their own technique and it is difficult to fairly evaluate techniques. Requiring 250 hours of work experience, in addition to the 750 hours of education, enables therapists to become comfortable giving massages and developing their own technique.
A: NCBTMB selected a group of massage therapists and other professionals with different levels of experience from across the country.  In addition to massage therapists, representatives from the educational, professional and regulatory arenas were also included. This gave a seasoned but fresh approach to the Job Task Analysis. Getting this breadth of input ensures the quality of the JTA and the exam. The JTA is validated by many massage therapists from around the country.  For more information read the Massage Therapists Job Analysis Study
A: Yes. You will need to show that you meet the eligibility criteria. Our staff will be happy to help you with transitioning to the new credential.
A: With the new NCBTMB Career Management System, registering for an exam, keeping your information up-to-date or accomplishing most interactions with NCBTMB is easier than ever.  All new candidates must first register at the top of the NCBTMB home page and complete their personal information. Once this is complete and the program type has been chosen within the personal information page, each candidate may go to "Complete a Form" and choose the application desired. If you already have a file with NCBTMB and you want to apply for a seperate program you must register again and complete the application for the seperate program.
If you currently have a file and you want to update your records, please email and request a user name and password.


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