NCBTMB Statement Regarding Importance of Assigned School Code Program

Burr Ridge, Ill. (July 16, 2015)  As the year progresses, NCBTMB remains highly engaged with state massage regulatory boards. Recently, it has come to our attention that the meaning behind our Assigned School Code Program may have become blurred. Specifically, we are aware of the recent questions surrounding how our program relates to the activities of state boards and, ultimately, the profession at large.

Simply stated, the NCBTMB Assigned School Code Program was, is, and always will be a component of our higher, voluntary certification programs. Eligibility for our previous National Certification credential, as well as our current Board Certification credential, is largely based on the achievement of a designated level of education—forming a clear distinction between the process of certification (our focus) and the process of licensure (your agency’s responsibility).

We have always believed that it is important to protect the legitimacy of massage education. As a result, NCBTMB developed a set of criteria for massage schools to achieve NCBTMB Assigned School status. This criteria empowers us to verify an institution’s operational status, as well as:

  • Authenticate that schools are operating legally pursuant to its state’s legal requirements,
  • Confirm that schools’ curricula meet NCBTMB’s minimum 500-hour curriculum requirements,
  • Confirm that school instructors meet applicable requirements for qualifications in its jurisdiction,
  • Provide an Assigned School Code which is required to sit for the BCETMB exam,
  • Help to protect the profession from instances of falsification, illegitimacy, and illegal activity, and
  • Empower a school to become ITEC Registered to offer international and specialty certifications.

To be designated an NCBTMB Assigned School and obtain an Assigned School Code, a school must pass a review by our staff, as well as meet our minimum 500-hour curriculum requirements, including:

  • 125 hours of instruction in the body’s systems and anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology,
  • 200 hours of in-class, on-campus, 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), and
  • 125 hours of instruction in an area or related field that theoretically completes the massage program of study.

In contrast, individual state boards exist to administer regulatory programs for mandatory licensure. Often, state agencies grant operational authority to educational institutions. Except with respect to obtaining an Assigned School Code, NCBTMB is not a national school approval agency, and does not control or dictate a state’s laws or rules. Furthermore, we do not seek to have state boards require NCBTMB’s Assigned School Code as a requirement for licensure or approval of educational institutions.

Our goal is simply to work in partnership with state boards to ensure that your needs and requirements are met, as well as to continue to protect and empower all current and future massage therapists with a clear path to certification.

As always, we welcome any questions or comments at 1-800-296-0664 or


Leena S. Guptha, Chair of the NCBTMB Board of Directors

Steven P. Kirin, Chief Executive Officer, NCBTMB