What are NCBTMB’s guidelines for home study courses?

What are NCBTMB’s guidelines for home study courses?

Home study courses are defined as a course that is taken by a participant without direct communication with the instructor. These courses are distributed via website, email or U.S. Mail by the Approved Provider to the participant. Once the participant completes the material, a test must be taken and submitted back to the provider to be graded before the participant may receive a certificate. The Approved Provider must have the grading scale documented to inform participants of the grade that must be earned to pass the course.

CEs given to each participant must match the length of time it takes the average person to complete the course. NCBTMB has created minimal criteria that each home study course must pass before the course can be accepted:

  • The course content must be within NCBTMB’s acceptable content
  • The course content must be more advanced than the core curriculum guidelines
  • The course content must enhance a massage therapist’s level of knowledge
  • The course outline must fully describe the course layout
  • The number of CEs must be clearly defined and each course may not over or understate the amount of CE hours each course is worth
  • 12,000 words read equals 1 CE
  • One hour of video or audio equals 1 CE
    • Providers may give additional CEs for course work completed but the course work must be previously listed
    • Unsupervised practical assignments do not count towards CEs. Only assignments required to be turned in, which can be verified can earn CEs
  • According to several studies, the average reader reads approximately 200 words per minute.
    • Some participants may read faster or slower than the average, but home study courses may not be diluted to overstate the amount of CEs allowed for a home study course completion.
  • Approved Providers that teach courses via email or website must have contact information accessible to a participant in case technical issues arise.
  • Please indicate in the Course Outline section of the application how the course will be offered. (Ex. Content/materials are mailed, content materials are emailed, course is available online.)
  • If the content is available electronically, please upload the content with the “add content” link within the application.
    • If the course is available online, supply the website address, user name and password.
    • If the course is only available via hard-copy, mail contents to the NCBTMB address – Attention Approved Provider Dept. – New Course.
    • Materials submitted to NCBTMB will not be returned.
  • An exam must be completed by each participant with a passing score of 70 percent or higher.
    • Each exam must contain a minimum of 5 multiple-choice, questions, (containing 4 possible choices), per hour of class.
  • Certificates of Achievement are given to participants who complete a home study course

Other Key Requirements:

  • The course content must be within NCBTMB’s stated acceptable content
  • The course content must be more advanced that core curriculum guidelines
  • Learning objectives must be fully described and available to the participant
  • The number of CE hours must be clearly defined and each course may not over or understate the number of CE hours each course is worth
  • Homework does not count for CEs, and must be submitted separately as a home study course

If a Provider is using material created by other sources, he/she must follow these guidelines:

  • When creating a home study course, NCBTMB will accept no more than 30% of the material from a cited source (this includes videos)
  • Providers may use more than 30% as reference material, but the additional material may not be counted in the word count or video time
  • If a provider is using a text book, each participant must be provided a text book by the Approved Provider
  • Providers must properly cite all material that is taken from another source

Testing criteria for home study courses:

  • All home study courses must include a written exam, participants must pass, with a grade of 70% or higher, prior to receiving their certificate of achievement
  • Exams must include 5 multiple choice questions for each hour of the home study
  • 2 minutes per exam question will be accepted within the CE hours allotted for the course
  • Exam questions must be fact based to assess the participants retention of material in the home study course

Approved Providers may also work with an instructional designer to determine CE hours. Instructional designer must provide documentation of assignment of CE hours. Contact NCBTMB staff for additional information at ce@ncbtmb.org or call 1-800-296-0664.