How to become Board Certified
To become Board Certified, you must meet or exceed the following requirements:
- Graduation from a NCBTMB Assigned School*
- Passing score on the Board Certification Exam
- Pass a criminal background check
- Verification of current massage therapy state license
- Agree to uphold NCBTMB’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics
The cost to apply for Board Certification is $250, plus a $25 background check fee (performed by NCBTMB).
*If you did not graduate from a NCBTMB Assigned School, your school is now closed, or you completed international training, you may instead apply for Board Certification via Portfolio Review. Download the Portfolio Review Handbook here.
**If submitting a transcript with transfer credits, the original transcript where credits were transferred from must be submitted as well.
The cost to become Board Certified is $250. An additional $25 will be required to process your criminal background check (performed by NCBTMB).
Apply for Board Certification entirely online with these simple steps:
- Login to the NCBTMB website with your username and password
- If this is your first time taking an NCBTMB exam, please create an account by clicking “Register” at the top of the NCBTMB homepage
- If you do not remember your username and password, please click “Forgot Password” or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Once logged in, click “Initial Applications” from the Quick Links menu
- Click the “Board Certification Application”
- Complete all necessary information, submit, and complete background check.
That’s it! Contact us at email@example.com or by calling 1-800-296-0664 with any questions.
Is portfolio review available if I don’t have a massage school diploma or other formal massage therapy training?
Yes! NCBTMB’s Portfolio Review process allows applicants like you to demonstrate you have the educational equivalent to the standard eligibility requirements.
To begin, please login or register at the top of the NCBTMB website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You must successfully pass the NCBTMB Board Certification Exam, as well as meet the requirements, to become Board Certified.
Also, it’s important to check with your state, or any state you wish to practice in, to verify the appropriate state requirements.
All Assigned Schools who meet NCBTMB’s requirements have a code they can provide to their students, otherwise known as an Assigned School Code. You will need your Assigned School Code in order to register and sit for the Board Certification exam. If you do not know this code, please contact your school’s administration.
NCBTMB will only accept transcripts with transfer credits from NCBTMB Assigned Schools. Credits listed from schools that are not currently approved by NCBTMB, or have been denied or revoked, will not be accepted by NCBTMB for any of its tests or programs.
When accepting transfer credits, the school must ensure that all courses being transferred are completely covered in the courses that are excused by the school. Transferring hours of education without verifying content will not be accepted.
A student may attempt to transfer credits from a school that is not approved by NCBTMB; however, when applying for Board Certification, the candidate will have to submit the Portfolio Review Application. NCBTMB will review all education taken.
How to renew my Board Certification
You can renew your Board Certification entirely online with these simple steps:
- Login to your account at www.ncbtmb.org
- Click “Renewal” from the Quick Links menu
- Complete the Board Certification Renewal Form.
- Complete background check.
- Renewal Application Fee: $85
- Background Check Fee: $25
It costs $85 to renew your Board Certification every two years. There is an additional $25 background check fee (performed by NCBTMB).
NCBTMB Board Certified Massage Therapists are required to seek out and participate in additional continuing education courses to further advance practitioner skills and competencies, strengthen business skills, enhance modality knowledge and professional ethics, and develop a greater depth of advanced knowledge in order to demonstrate higher standards and skills than entry-level, state licensed massage therapists.
It has come to the attention of NCBTMB that several Board Certificants are currently taking more advanced courses. Advanced courses and modalities are important to our profession to further elevate practitioners’ knowledge in science, business, and other realms—but may not necessarily be practiced legally without a trained professional present.
NCBTMB stands firm that all massage therapists—certified or not—may NOT practice beyond their legal Scope of Practice (as defined by each state/legislation). It is important to note, however, that NCBTMB does encourage massage therapists to further educate themselves in other professions to better understand how to communicate and collaborate with other medical professionals to provide the best possible care for clients. Any massage therapist who wishes to practice other modalities outside of the Massage Therapy Scope of Practice (as defined by each state/legislation) must first attend and successfully graduate from that program.
To learn more about what NCBTMB will accept regarding advanced science courses, please click here.
Board Certification is the highest voluntary credential to ensure all of us, as a profession, live up to the same mission. Certification is well known and accepted throughout different medical professions—massage therapy is no different. In fact, Board Certification is now a requirement to work in many health care settings, as well as some high-end spas, across the country.
As a Board Certified massage therapist, you prove to other medical professionals (and the public!) that you have obtained higher credentials and are more than just an entry-level massage therapist. Credentials matter. You matter!
To renew your Board Certification, please login to the NCBTMB website using your username and password. If you do not remember your username and password, please email email@example.com.
NCBTMB reviews all approved CE provider courses. This helps to ensure that the CE courses MTs take will be within NCBTMB’s acceptable content. Additionally, CE providers must supply their educational and practical background as well as their teaching experience. It is also necessary for each instructor to hold a practice pilot course for at least 5 individuals, or had prior formal teaching experience. These processes will also help to procure a highly qualified educator and overall better educational experience.
A large percentage of states have NCBTMB written in their CE rules for renewal of licenses. Massage Therapists like to move around between states, and each state has different educational hourly requirements. So, the NCBTMB approved CE courses may also be applied towards those hourly requirements, if your foundational education needs to be bolstered to obtain licensure in another state.
Since many states do require the CE courses to be NCBTMB approved, many MTs rely on the NCBTMB website course listings to find their Approved CE Provider courses. It also ensures that any course you complete with an NCBTMB AP will be accepted towards your Board Certification Renewal.
Lastly, all NCBTMB Approved CE Providers agree to uphold the NCBTMB Approved CE Provider Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. When spending your time, money, and energy to invest in your professional development, it is wise to make that investment with someone who is also committed to go through, and maintain the processes which establish their credibility as a professional educator.
With the introduction of Board Certification in 2013, NCBTMB revised its renewal cycle to every 2 years due, in large part, to feedback from Certificants and continuous research. As research leads the way to change within the massage therapy and bodywork profession, the Board felt two years was an appropriate timeframe to ensure Certificants remain up-to-date on the latest techniques, sciences, and advances in the profession. Such a change also meant a more cost-effective price point for Certificants, as well as a more realistic, attainable number of required CEs.
When submitting CE courses toward your Board Renewal, keep in mind the following:
- All courses must be completed within your eligible two-year Renewal period
- CE cannot be used multiple times within or across renewal periods and cannot be carried over. (If you renew late, your CE must be dated after your late renewal approval date)
- All courses must be through an NCBTMB Approved Provider or accredited college or university
- The course itself must be approved by NCBTMB (the AP being approved is not enough; check with your AP to ensure the course is also approved)
- You have the correct AP Number and/or Name to enter on your Application
If you are unsure of your eligible two-year Renewal period, or have any questions on a course, contact us.
Tools for Board Certification
To request a Duplicate Certificate, you must first login to your NCBTMB account at ncbtmb.org.
Once logged in:
- Click Additional Forms (from “Quick Links” menu on left)
- Complete the Duplicate Certificate Request Form
- Fill out the appropriate information
- Click Submit
There is a $15 fee per Duplicate Certificate requested.
Once you are Board Certified, please use the credential BCTMB after your name on all business cards, websites, social media accounts, etc.
It is important to know that if your certification expires, you are no longer eligible to use the BCTMB credential (Board Certification renewal is every 2 years, for renewal requirements, click here.)
While NCBTMB actively promotes Board Certification and those who attain it, we strongly encourage you to speak directly with your clients about the definition and the importance of Board Certification. Not only will it help to strengthen the relationships you have with your clients, but also confirms to your clients that they are receiving the safest, most advanced, and ethical care available.
If you need assistance in educating your clients, we invite you to download our user-friendly Consumer Guide by clicking here.
Together, the more we educate the general public about the value of Board Certification, the further we will together elevate the entire massage therapy and bodywork profession. Credentials matter. Let’s give them some meaning.
NCBTMB is proud to partner with two esteemed universities to award college credits with proof of current Board Certification—Siena Heights University and HACC. Both of these educational institutions have assessed the Board Certification credential and agreed to award 30 or more college credits towards the respective degrees offered at their premier institutions.
EARN YOUR BACHELOR OF APPLIED SCIENCE DEGREE IN MASSAGE THERAPY
Exclusively for Board Certificants, Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI awards 30+ college credits toward the 120 total credits required to achieve this degree. Courses available on campus and online. BAS Degree candidates ordinarily have 60 credits before beginning with Siena Heights.
EARN YOUR ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN HEALTH SCIENCE
Exclusively designed for actively credentialed or licensed health care professionals currently working in their fields, HACC in Harrisburg, PA awards current Board Certificants 30 college credits toward the total 61 credits required to achieve this degree. Courses available on campus or online.
Yes. Our Candidate Handbook contains all the information you need to know about NCBTMB, certification, the Board Certification exam, costs, how to register for your exam, how to retrieve exam score information, and much more.
Per the NCBTMB Standards of Practice (which all BCTMBs agree to uphold upon application and renewal), it states as follows:
Standard III(d): Securely retain client files for a minimum period of four (4) years from the termination of the therapeutic relationship; and
Standard III(e): Dispose of client files in a secure manner.
- Login to your account at www.ncbtmb.org
- Click on “Score Report Request” from the Quick Links menu
- Fill out all required information
- Make Payment
- Click Submit
The fee per Score Report is $25. Please note that not all states will accept the score report if not sent directly from NCBTMB.