FAQs

How to Become A CE Provider

What is an NCBTMB Board Approved Continuing Education Provider?

An NCBTMB Board Approved Continuing Education Provider, commonly referred to simply as an Approved Provider, is a continuing education instructor who has exhibited quality instruction of the highest standards throughout the massage therapy and bodywork profession.

Board Certificants are must recertify every two years, and are required to earn 24 credits from an NCBTMB Approved Provider within that two-year period—meaning the highest quality massage therapists and bodyworkers will be seeking out your classes to further improve their knowledge and skills.

What are the requirements to become an Approved Provider?

Once you master a particular modality or subject, the next progressive step is to become an NCBTMB Approved CE Provider. You must have full knowledge of the course you wish to teach and also have the necessary documentation created before teaching the course, including:

  • Course description,
  • Learning outcomes, and
  • Syllabus/outcome of course.

Additionally, you must demonstrate that you meet NCBTMB's AP Instructor Qualifications:

  • Holds a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or a substantially equivalent accrediting body of a foreign sovereign state, with a major in a subject directly related to the content of the program to be offered; OR
  • Has completed at least five years of professional experience in the practice of massage therapy; OR
  • Has a minimum of two years teaching experience; OR
  • Has completed a NCBTMB approved teacher training program in the area of interest; OR
  • Has completed at least 100 hours of non-entry level education in the subject matter to be offered and has a minimum of two years of professional experience in the subject

Before submitting an application to NCBTMB for approval, you must have taught the course at least one time within the last year to a group of five or more participants. You must provide the participants with an evaluation requesting feedback on the course, instruction, and material. You may retrieve an evaluation form here.

Learning Outcomes: Learning outcomes are broader goals that describe what a student will digest, perform, state, describe, etc. upon completing a portion or all of the course. Learning objectives are building blocks of learning outcomes. There are usually multiple learning objectives per each learning outcome. NCBTMB requires one learning objective per hour. Both learning outcomes and learning objectives should be written using descriptive wording (i.e. Student will: list, define, verify, explain, state, perform, compare, recognize, identify, assess, evaluate or demonstrate).

Please also note that, as an Approved CE Provider, each course must be submitted, reviewed, and approved prior to offering NCBTMB continuing education hours.

Click here for a full breakdown of NCBTMB's AP Program Structure and Rules.

How much does it cost to become an Approved Provider?

All Approved Providers are valid for three years from the date NCBTMB approves your application. Costs for first-time applicants, as well as renewal applicants, are the same:

  • $225 for individuals for a three-year period
  • $450 for organizations or conference/tradeshow providers for a three-year period
  • $25 per new class submitted*
  • Additional $50 per renewal charge associated with Approved Providers that want to be sponsored by NCBTMB to teach New York LMTs**

*Please note that each course must be submitted, reviewed, and approved prior to offering NCBTMB continuing education hours. Additionally, instructors teaching under Organization status accounts must first be submitted to and approved by NCBTMB prior to teaching and issuing CEs.

** NY will only accept CEs from a CE Provider that NY approves or that is sponsored by an entity that has been approved by the NY Board. NCBTMB is a New York approved Sponsor and will pass this sponsorship to its Approved Providers.

As a first-time applicant to become an Approved Provider, what do I need to know?

Each account created on the NCBTMB website must have only one function. This means that if you are currently Nationally or Board Certified, you must create a new and separate account as an Approved Provider. You can do this by visiting the NCBTMB homepage, and clicking "Register" at the top of the page.

Other important information for first-time applicants:

  • The Approved Provider Application fee to both apply and renew is $225 (Individuals) and $450 (Organizations and Conference/Tradeshow Providers) for a three-year period.
  • Each separate course submission for an Individual or Organization Approved Provider is $25.
    • Multiple courses that contain information about the same modality, working with different areas of the body are considered the same course.
    • Courses that are taught for different amounts of CEs due to teaching for different venues are considered one course.
  • The application is equipped to list a primary course and the different courses that may be segmented out of the primary course.
  • Organizations that hold a conference or tradeshow with four or more instructors must submit $100 for the review of the conference or tradeshow.
  • All organizations that only hold conferences or tradeshows will submit $100 for the review of the instructors and courses being taught for the conference/tradeshow.
  • Instructors teaching under Organization status accounts must first be submitted to and approved by NCBTMB prior to teaching and issuing CEs.

Important information regarding new course submissions:

  • Each separate course submission for an Individual or Organization Approved Provider is $25.
    • Each course must be submitted, reviewed, and approved prior to offering NCBTMB continuing education hours.
  • There will be an additional $50 per three-year renewal charge associated with Approved Providers that want to be sponsored by NCBTMB to teach New York LMTs.
    • NY will only accept CEs from a CE Provider that NY approves or that is sponsored by an entity that has been approved by the NY Board. NCBTMB is a New York approved Sponsor and will pass this sponsorship to its Approved Providers.
How do I apply to become an Approved Provider?

To apply to become an NCBTMB Approved Provider, it is first important to understand if you will be applying as an individual, organization, or as part of a tradeshow/conference.

  • Individual

    An individual is defined as one instructor teaching courses. This instructor can have help (assistants) in the classroom and administrative help but is the only person that teaches under the Approved Provider Individual status.

  • Organization

    An organization is defined as two or more instructors that work under one entity. An organization must have a primary contact person that oversees the entire Approved Provider Organization, its instructors, courses, certificates, rules and procedures and all other aspects of the organization. Instructors teaching under Organization status accounts must first be submitted to and approved by NCBTMB prior to teaching and issuing CEs.

  • Conference/Tradeshow

    An organization holding a conference with four or more instructors may complete the Conference/Tradeshow portion of the Interim Course Submission form, rather than submitting each course for the conference. The provider will submit the marketing information for the course and list which instructors are currently NCBTMB Approved Providers and which are non-NCBTMB Approved Provider. Once this is complete, have each non-Approved Provider submit his/her qualification to teach, along with the courses that each teaches on the Instructor Qualifications form.

ALL: Follow the steps listed below to apply to become an Approved Provider:

  • Go to www.NCBTMB.org and at the top of the page click “Register.”
  • Create a profile and click “Submit.”
  • You will receive an account authorization email. Copy the code found in the email, click the link within the email and paste the code into the box.
  • Create a username and password.
  • Verify all of your personal information.
  • Click the “Verify” button at the bottom of the page.
  • Click “Complete a Form” on the left hand side of the page.
  • Click on “Approved Provider Initial Application.”
  • Complete all of the information and click “Submit.”

For any additional questions on becoming an NCBTMB Approved Provider, or on the application process, please call 1-800-296-0664 or email ce@ncbtmb.org.

For additional assistance on the Approved Provider Application, please visit For any additional questions on becoming an NCBTMB Approved Provider, or on the application process, please call 1-800-296-0664 or email ce@ncbtmb.org.

What is the NCBTMB Approved Provider Program?

Continuing education is a vital part of certification programs designed to credential professionals across the United States—and Board Certification is no different. Over a decade ago, NCBTMB established its Approved Provider (AP) program to serve as a key component of its massage therapy and bodywork credential. The principal intent of the AP program was to ensure that certificants had access to reliable, credible, high-quality continuing education throughout their careers. By obtaining continuing education (CE), a practitioner demonstrates a personal and public commitment to enhance continued competence in the massage and/or bodywork profession, which is why it continues to play such a critical role in NCBTMB’s certification program.

NCBTMB recognizes its obligation to continue serving the profession by encouraging the personal and professional development of practitioners across the country. As the massage and bodywork professions mature, continuing education must also evolve. With this in mind, NCBTMB has reassessed the national AP/CE program and the evolutionary role it must play as massage continues to advance.

NCBTMB recognizes the critical need to ensure relevant and credible continuing education. The profession must define, differentiate and identify the educational level of the wide variety of modalities and subjects that practitioners study. Mature, advanced massage therapists desire access to accomplished instructors teaching appropriately advanced material. Conversely, recent graduates may need basic classes to refine newly acquired skills.

What is the purpose of the Approved Provider Program?

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) administers a certification program, Board Certification, accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Continuing education is a vital part of certification programs designed to credential professionals across the United States. Over a decade ago, the NCBTMB established its Approved Provider (AP) program to serve as a key component of its massage therapy and bodywork credential. The principal intent of the AP program was to ensure that certificants had access to reliable, credible, high-quality continuing education throughout their careers. By obtaining continuing education (CE), a practitioner demonstrates a personal and public commitment to enhance continued competence in the massage and/or bodywork profession, which is why it continues to play such a critical role in NCBTMB’s certification program.

NCBTMB recognizes its obligation to continue serving the profession by encouraging the personal and professional development of practitioners across the country. As the massage and bodywork professions mature, continuing education must also evolve. With this in mind, NCBTMB has reassessed the national AP/CE program and the evolutionary role it must play as massage continues to advance.

As in all aspects within the health and wellness continuum, nothing stays constant. What worked for massage therapy over a decade ago when the national CE program was emerging will no longer serve the profession today as we continue to advance into the future. More than ever, members of the public and healthcare professionals alike seek options - new ideas and answers to the age old question of how to better improve quality of life. For our profession to play a part, it must step up to the plate and evolve as well.

NCBTMB recognizes the critical need to ensure relevant and credible continuing education. The profession must define, differentiate and identify the educational level of the wide variety of modalities and subjects that practitioners study. Mature, advanced massage therapists desire access to accomplished instructors teaching appropriately advanced material. Conversely, recent graduates may need basic classes to refine newly acquired skills.

What are the objectives of the Approved Provider Program?

The primary objectives of the Approved Provider Program are to:

  • Fulfill the roles, requirements and needs of Board Certification pursuant to its mission and purpose,
  • Be a model that state boards, peer organizations, continuing education providers, certificants, schools, can acknowledge, support and when applicable, emulate,
  • Utilize the knowledge of our educational leaders throughout the profession in concert to reflect the needs of the industry at large, and
  • Further the knowledge of our massage therapists throughout the country.
What is the Approved Provider Code of Conduct?

The NCBTMB Approved Provider Code of Conduct is as follows:

As an applicant for approval, I/our organization agree(s) to:

  • Provide accurate information to the NCBTMB in all transactions to the best of our knowledge.
  • Assure that course credits are awarded only to certificants who successfully complete the course according to the published requirements.
  • Conduct the operations and programs in an ethical manner that respects the rights and worth of the clients we serve.
  • Use and display the provider statement and logo according to the NCBTMB requirements.
  • Furnish requested information, work cooperatively with the NCBTMB and pay fees in a timely manner.
  • Accept that the NCBTMB audits courses for purposes of compliance with the criteria.
  • After due review and comment period, abide by any revisions of the criteria or inform the NCBTMB of any intention to withdraw providership.
  • Maintain compliance with the NCBTMB’s Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and policies and procedures.
  • Adhere to the NCBTMB criteria/standards or relinquish the NCBTMB approval status after due process.
  • Report to the NCBTMB within thirty (30) days any major organizational or program change that impacts the operation of the administrative unit on which provider approval is based.
What does the future of the Approved Provider Program look like?

This program will continue to evolve with the profession. Within the Holistic realm, there are many different modalities accepted for CE that are within the massage therapist’s scope of practice. NCBTMB does accept a wide variety of categories and will work with professionals, other peer organizations and state boards to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the profession.

Continuous upgrades of this program will be implemented as needed in the future. NCBTMB will be considering new processes that will help therapists and the profession grow.

What is the purpose of Continuing Education?

Today in the United States relative to the massage and bodywork profession, a 500 hour (or more) core curriculum of entry level education is delivered to teach basic anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and pathologies of the body’s systems. It also incorporates entry-level bodywork, stress management, business, ethics and other types of modalities to gain students’ interests about the holistic realm. Upon demonstrated mastery of this information, along with hands on skills, an entry level massage therapist is judged to be competent to safely administer one to one hour and a half of full body massage.

This is simply the beginning of a therapist’s professional journey, a journey that must include some component of continued learning in both the educational and clinical (hands on) realms. In other words, an entry-level practitioner must do more to learn, retain and operationalize the necessary skills to maintain continued growth, awareness and professional competency, in addition to remaining vital and competitive within the profession.

Continuing education is one of the generally accepted methods which professionals and regulatory agencies use to ensure a therapist refines and builds on entry-level skills. It also is a means by which the larger health care and consumer communities can be assured that therapists maintain psychological, educational and professional high intentions in areas of ethical and operational excellence.

The purpose of continuing education is, more specifically, to:

  • detour the development of bad habits
  • acquire knowledge of more advanced modalities
  • learn effective new techniques
  • increase Practitioners’ awareness of other holistic modalities
  • continue to increase basic, intermediate and advanced skills
  • develop successful business/marketing methods and tools
  • refine massage therapists’/bodyworkers’ ethical behavior and standards of practice with clientele
  • discourage burnout due to repetitive bodywork
  • increase massage therapists’/ bodyworkers’ knowledge of medical and holistic practices, psychology, science and massage therapy
  • assist therapists, through additional knowledge and strengthened techniques, in remaining competitive within the marketplace

How to Renew my CE Provider Status

How do I renew my Approved Provider status?

All Approved Providers are valid for a three-year period. Once your three-year period is up, you will need to resubmit the same documents, and follow the same protocol, as you did when you first applied.

As a reminder, follow the steps listed below to reapply to become an Approved Provider:

  • Login to the NCBTMB website using your username and password at www.ncbtmbbeta.org
  • Once logged in, click “Complete a Form.”
  • Click the “Approved Provider Renewal Provider Application.”
  • Complete the application and “Submit.”
  • Enter your payment information and click “Submit Payment.”
  • Wait for the next screen and click “Confirm Payment.”
  • Once you confirm payment, your application is automatically placed in the review process.

You may follow your application progress from the home screen in your account. Please keep in mind that all applications are processed in the order in which they are received. This process takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the number of applications we receive daily. Do not worry about the expiration date--we will extend it out during the review process.

How much does it cost to apply for or to renew my Approved Provider status?

All Approved Providers are valid for three-years from the date NCBTMB approves your application. Costs for first-time applicants, as well as renewal applicants, are the same:

  • $225 for individuals for a three-year period
  • $450 for organizations or conference/tradeshow providers for a three-year period
  • $25 per new class submitted*
  • Additional $50 per renewal charge associated with Approved Providers that want to be sponsored by NCBTMB to teach New York LMTs**

*Please note that each course must be submitted, reviewed, and approved prior to offering NCBTMB continuing education hours. Additionally, instructors teaching under Organization status accounts must first be submitted to and approved by NCBTMB prior to teaching and issuing CEs.

** NY will only accept CEs from a CE Provider that NY approves or that is sponsored by an entity that has been approved by the NY Board. NCBTMB is a New York approved Sponsor and will pass this sponsorship to its Approved Providers.

Who do I contact at NCBTMB if I have questions about renewing my Approved Provider status?

For any additional questions on renewing your NCBTMB Approved Provider status, or on the renewal application process, please call 1-800-296-0664 or email ce@ncbtmb.org.

Acceptable CE Course Guidelines

What are the administrative requirements for Approved Providers?

To download the Approved Provider administrative requirements, please click here.

For a full breakdown of the Approved Provider Structure, Roles, and Instructor Qualifications, click here.

Please note that all certificates must list CLASS TYLE (i.e. live, home study or live webinar).

What are the Continuing Education Course Criteria?

Continuing education courses must exceed a basic 500-hour core program. Continuing education courses that contain core curriculum content will not be accepted. The criterion by which the NCBTMB determines a course to be continuing education in scope is that it covers material not usually taught in the core 500-hour curriculum. However, it is understood that reviewing information that may have been taught in core curriculum may be necessary to move forward within the course. This is acceptable as long as the primary portion of the course is of a more advanced nature.

500-hours administered by NCBTMB break down as follows:

  • 125 hours of instruction in the body’s systems and anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology
  • 200 hours of in-class, supervised hands-on instruction in massage and bodywork assessment, theory, and application instruction
  • 40 hours of pathology
  • 10 hours of business and ethics instruction (a minimum of 6 hours in ethics)
  • 125 hours of instruction in an area or related field that theoretically completes your massage program of study

Continuing education courses must expand and enhance the knowledge base of NCBTMB participants by addressing not only soft tissue manipulation, energy fields, body movement, and business practices, but also acknowledge and demonstrate a holistic approach to the care of the client and self with the ethical use of adjunct therapies and modalities that impact and support a level of wellness of the body, mind, and spirit

Acceptable course content includes but is not limited to:

  • Applications of massage and bodywork therapy for specific needs, conditions, or client populations
  • Anatomy, physiology and kinesiology
  • Research literacy
  • Client assessment protocols, skills for client record keeping, strategies for interfacing with other health care providers
  • Use of external agents such as water, heat, cold, or topicals 
  • Body-centered or somatic psychology, psychophysiology, interpersonal skills – which may include communication skills, boundary functions, phenomena of transference, counter-transference and projection
  • Standards of practice, professional ethics or state laws
  • Strategies for the marketing of massage and bodywork therapy practices
  • Theory or practice of ergonomic science as applied to therapist or client
  • Hygiene, methods of infectious disease control, organization and management of the treatment environment
  • The use of massage therapy tools and their specific needs (tools may not be sold during class time and the instructor must be able to supply students with the tools during class)
  • Working with the muscles within the oral cavity for specific treatments, i.e. working on the masseter muscle in conjunction with TMJ Disorder
  • Self-care courses concentrating on nutrition and/or diet only, but only as it enhances the learner’s knowledge about the practice of massage therapy
  • Perform yoga/yoga teacher training programs (acceptable for therapist’s self-care only)
  • Active strengthening/physical training  (acceptable for therapist’s self-care only)
  • Advanced science courses that contain content which goes beyond the massage therapist’s scope of practice (as defined by state and/or local legislation), and that is instructive in understanding different systems of the body or human behavior more in depth. Click here for more information
  • Energy work that includes “'the application of professional therapeutic touch.”

NCBTMB only accepts 4 CEs per renewal period in self-care.

Does NCBTMB accept advanced science courses?

NCBTMB will accept continuing education hours from Approved Providers for advanced science courses that contain content which goes beyond the Massage Therapy Scope of Practice but may be conducive to understanding different systems of the body or human behavior more in depth.

Participation and continuing education hours awarded for completion of the above mentioned course are strictly for the advanced development and understanding in interdisciplinary practices. Massage therapists are only allowed to practice within their professional Scope of Practice, and any skills learned in this course are for further development purposes and should not be practiced professionally.

Massage therapists who wish to take these courses may with the understanding that the information was approved by NCBTMB to strengthen the therapist’s knowledge of human science. Massage therapists caught practicing advanced modalities or advising clients in practices that are outside of the massage therapy scope of practice can lose their Board Certification and massage therapy license.

To practice the information learned within advanced science courses, a massage therapist must take additional education and earn a degree in the subject matter.

Approved Providers teaching these courses shall divulge this information to any and all massage therapists taking their courses.

To learn more about NCBTMB and advanced science courses, please click here.