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—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.
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.
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.
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 (as defined by each state/legislation). 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.