FSMTB / NCBTMB Agreement FAQ

NCBTMB Will No Longer Provide Licensure Examinations as of November 1st, 2014

For some time, there has been much confusion between licensure and certification. Licensure is a mandatory, entry level credential that allows a massage therapist to practice legally within his/her state. Board Certification is a voluntary, higher level credential that extends beyond the basic requirements to show a deeper commitment to both the profession and the public—including more education, hands-on experience, and a background check.

NCBTMB began actively collaborating with many profession-leading organizations earlier this year in an effort to put a stop to this confusion. On Friday, October 3, 2014, NCBTMB and FSMTB signed a collaborative agreement, marking the beginning of what we believe will provide greater licensure portability for massage therapists. This agreement states that:

  • As of November 1, 2014, NCBTMB will no longer offer its NCETM and NCETMB licensure exams to the public. 
  • NCBTMB does support FSMTB's MBLEx examination as the country’s entry level licensure examination. 
  • Applications for the NCETM and NCETMB examinations will be accepted until October 31, 2014. 
  • Applicants will have 90-days from the day they register to schedule and sit for an exam.

Moving forward, NCBTMB will now exclusively focus on its founding mission to “define and advance the highest standards in the massage therapy and bodywork profession” through Board Certification, its Assigned School Code program and an advancing Approved Provider program.

Because we understand this agreement means something different for each of you, we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions below. Please reference these questions as they pertain to you. If your question is not answered, please call us at 1-800-296-0664 or email info@ncbtmb.org.

CURRENT/PAST CERTIFICANTS & EXAM REGISTRANTS

  1. I am Nationally or Board Certified. Does this change affect me?
    No, our joint agreement with FSMTB will mainly affect new graduates looking to become licensed. New graduates will have to take the MBLEx as one of their licensure requirements in any state that requires this test as one of their licensure requirements.

    If you are Nationally or Board Certified, you have committed to a higher achievement beyond mandatory, entry level licensure. Licensure and certification are not the same thing. Board Certification is the highest voluntary credential attainable in the massage therapy and bodywork profession. Licensure is an entry level credential that is mandatory in most states. For more information on Board Certification, please click here.

  2. I’m studying to take the MBLEx. What does this mean for me?
    You are not affected by this change. Please continue with your registration for the MBLEx examination to satisfy your state licensure requirements.
     
  3. If I passed the NCTMB exam and were to move to another state who accepts and have accepted the NCTMB exam for licensure, will NCTMB be able to verify that I did, in fact, take the test and passed to the state?
    Yes. NCBTMB will be happy to send score reports to any state that previously accepted NCBTMB exams and/or exam scores. If you have previously taken an NCBTMB exam to meet state licensure requirements, you are welcome to log on to the NCBTMB website using your username and password to request a score report to be sent to a specific state. If you do not have a username and password, please email info@ncbtmb.org.
     
  4. Do we still have to renew our licensure? Or is this simply saying that new grads don’t have to take the NCBTMB test?
    Please check with the state boards in any state you wish to practice and follow the applicable state requirements for licensure renewal. This is entirely separate from NCBTMB.

    New graduates will have to take the MBLEx as one of their licensure requirements in any state that requires this test as one of their licensure requirements. Anyone who wishes to take the Board Certification exam, and meets the minimal requirements for Board Certification, may of course become Board Certified in the future. Board Certification is the highest voluntary credential attainable in the massage therapy and bodywork profession.

    Regardless if you are studying for the MBLEx or the Board Certification exam, NCBTMB does offer an Online Practice Exam—a study tool that will prepare you for an entry level licensing examination, as well as the highest voluntary credential, Board Certification. To learn more about the Online Practice Exam, click here.

  5. I take my exam on November 10th. What does this mean for my licensing?
    Please proceed as normal. Since you registered prior to the October 31st deadline, you will not be affected by this change. All of us at NCBTMB wish you good luck!

    If you are interested in a study tool for your NCBTMB licensure examination, or the Board Certification exam in the future, our Online Practice Exam is available. Level 1 questions will prepare you for an entry level licensing examination and Level 2 questions will prepare you for the Board Certification exam. Plus, since you are already registered for an NCBTMB exam, you are eligible for a special discount. For more information, please click here.

  6. Does this joint collaboration mean people who already passed the MBLEx are going to part of the NCBTMB? Or do we have to take another test or application?
    No. Please note that NCBTMB and FSMTB are two separate entities. NCBTMB is a certification board and works to define and elevate the profession. FSMTB is comprised of state boards appointees to better protect the consumer.

    If you desire the highest voluntary credential in the massage therapy and bodywork profession, and meet our minimal Board Certification requirements, we welcome you to take the Board Certification exam and become Board Certified with NCBTMB. If you are interested in taking the exam, NCBTMB’s Online Practice Exam is also available to you. Level 1 questions will prepare you for an entry level licensing exam, while Level 2 questions will best prepare you for the Board Certification exam. This is the only study tool created by NCBTMB for the NCBTMB Board Certification exam.

  7. How does this benefit massage therapists? Will all the states have the same exam?
    Ultimately, this change unifies entry level testing for all massage therapists—and puts it in the lap of one organization—while further separating and, most importantly, defining the difference between mandatory, entry level state licensure and the highest voluntary credential in the massage therapy and bodywork profession, Board Certification. This will better help our profession to mirror other medical professions and, in doing so, both elevates and strengthens our esteemed profession as a whole.
     
  8. How will this affect continuing education requirements?
    Continuing Education will always be a part of NCBTMB’s Board Certification. In fact, one of the requirements of Board Certification is that massage therapists continuously educate and elevate themselves through education—as is true for other medical professions, especially health care.
     
  9. I took the NCETMB when there was no MBLEx. I am currently Board Certified. Should I decide to move to another state in the next couple of years, do I have to take the MBLEx?
    If you move to a state that previously accepted NCBTMB exams as one of their state licensure requirements, you are welcome to log on to the NCBTMB website using your username and password to request a score report to be sent to that state. If you do not yet have a username and password, please email info@ncbtmb.org.
     
  10. If I was previously licensed through an NCBTMB exam, does this mean I lose my credentials?
    No, and in fact, NCBTMB is working towards strengthening the Board Certification credential in the future.
     
  11. What does this mean for those of us who have been out of practice for a while and are considering re-entering practice? If my certification has lapsed, do I need to start from scratch & take an exam?
    If your certification is expired, you will be required to take the Board Certification exam in order to become Board Certified. If you are looking for more information on your specific state’s licensure requirements, please contact your state board to find out next steps.
     
  12. Connecticut does not accept the MBLEX exam. As of Nov. 1st, what options do CT massage school grads have?
    At this time, NCBTMB is working closely with the state board of CT to ensure its graduates are taken care of and are awarded the same smooth transition.
     
  13. If someone was either licensed through NCB, had National Certification, or were Board Certified, can they use that for the states that require NCB?
    Yes. If the state previously accepted the NCB test that you have taken and passes, we can send your score report to that state for licensure requirements. Please log on to the NCBTMB website using your username and password to request a score report to be sent to your desired state. If you do not yet have a username and password, please email info@ncbtmb.org.
     
  14. If I fail the exam I already have scheduled for some time in November, how do I do a retake?
    To best prepare yourself for your upcoming exam, we encourage you to consider the NCBTMB Online Practice Exam. Level 1 questions available through this exam will best prepare you for any entry level licensure exam. Level 2 questions will best prepare you for the Board Certification exam, if you so choose to become Board Certified in the future.

    No one will be able to sign up for a new exam or retest after November 1st, 2014. The only exception is that we will be accepting payments for students that have already created accounts from schools in CT.
     

  15. Will the practice exam still be available?
    Yes. The NCBTMB Online Practice Exam was exclusively designed to better prepare students and therapists for an entry level licensure examination, as well as the Board Certification exam. Level 1 questions will prepare you for an entry level licensure exam, whereas Level 2 questions will better prepare you for the Board Certification exam. This is the only study tool created by NCBTMB for the NCBTMB Board Certification exam. 

SCHOOLS

  1. My students are set to graduate in February. Will they still need to take any of these tests for proper licensing purposes?
    Yes. Through October 31st, 2014, students are welcome to register to take any NCBTMB licensure examinations. Upon registration, students will be allotted a 90-day window to schedule and sit for their examination—through January 31st, 2015. After January 31st, 2015, all students will be required to take the MBLEx.
     
  2. When is the last possible date my students can register to take an NCBTMB licensure exam?
    The absolute last date to register for either of NCBTMB’s licensure examinations is Friday, October 31st, 2014.
     
  3. How long will my students have to take an NCBTMB licensure exam from when they register?
    As long as students register for an NCBTMB licensure exam prior to October 31, 2014, they will be allotted a 90-day window to then schedule and sit for their exam.
     
  4. For schools or students who have purchased the Online Practice Exam but might not make the Nov 1st deadline, can they still use the Online Practice Exam to study for the MBLEx?

    Yes. The Online Practice Exam will still be helpful, as it was created to better prepare students for an entry level licensure examination, as well as the Board Certification exam. Level 1 questions will help students prepare for entry level licensure exams, and Level 2 questions will better prepare them for the Board Certification exam. By using the NCBTMB Online Practice Exam now, your students will have the upper hand whenever they do desire to take the Board Certification exam in the future with access to the study questions now. This is the only study tool created by NCBTMB for the NCBTMB Board Certification exam.

APPROVED PROVIDERS

  1. I am applying to become a CE provider.  Are things changing now that you & FSTMB have reached an agreement? 

    No, Continuing Education and our Approved Provider Program are not affected by this change. We are still accepting (and welcome) Approved Provider applications as we progress as planned with our evolving AP Program. For more information on our AP Program, click here.

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