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How do you think that the changes occurring with the Ohio State Medical Board switching to the MBLEx will affect the integrity of our profession? Do you feel that those passing the MBLEx should receive the same limited branch practitioner license that you worked so hard for? Please let me know your thoughts and feelings on this.

Tags: Attention, LMTs, Ohio

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Shannon, I don't know anything about MBLEx. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this. What concerns do you have?

By report, the MBLEx is easier than the NCETM, which after the Ohio Board Exam was a cakewalk. It does not test at the same level of proficiency, and I think that's the point being made here. I would actually like to see the changes in regulation and wonder where one might get a copy.

Having not seen nor taken the MBLEx, (no practice exam, nor  official study guides have come out yet)  I cannot comment on the level of difficulty of this exam compared to the current State Board exam.  I do know, from a "business" perspective, the MBLEx makes more sense to the state, and also to massage schools.  The current exam costs the state quite a bit of money to administer, and also wreaks havoc with massage school curricula and schedules.  One of the advantages of the MBLEx is that a student no longer has to wait for either June or December, they can take the exam at any time after graduation, or after a failure.  I think the impact this exam change will have on level of proficiency of new massage therapists in the state of Ohio remains to be seen.   My ego likes to hang onto the fact that Ohio has/had one of the toughest massage therapy exams in the country...but, then again, that's just ego.   No written exam can assess the true skill level of this profession....the quality of touch.  I may have aced the exam, but if my manual skills are deficient, I will falter as a massage therapist.  Conversely, if I barely pass the exam, but if my treatment sessions knock it out the park, I am golden.  On a side note, has anyone ever asked you, as a professional, what your exam scores were?? They just want to know if you are licensed....not if you passed with a 98%.

 

The Ohio exam is known for it's difficulty, but it also assures that the therapist knows the physiologic effects that they are facilitating while they are working on a client. The profession has started to gain respect again in the medical field. It has been a long and slow process. My concerns lie in the fact that the MBLEx is so much easier, some of those that pass have not been able to pass the state boards! You have 3 attempts to take the MBLEx exam. The information online will tell you there are 2 answers you can immediately rule out, so basically you have a 50/50 chance to get a right answer! The critical thinking aspect is out, which is a crucial component in our field! If after the 3rd attempt at the MBLEx you still do not pass, you are then required to take 75 additional hours of education, and then you can try again! There are schools out there that are on probation for state board pass rates but have a 99% pass rate at nationals! What does that tell you? My biggest fear with this prospective change is that we will end up experiencing a ripple effect that is going to reverse the progress we have made in the medical field to this point. We have all worked long and hard to be able to call ourselves an Ohio licensed massage therapist. It is a title I wear with pride and respect! I hope that it continues to stay that way.          

My three cents:

While I found State Boards quite easy to pass, I agree with members of the Board that the use of Kellogg material, 80 years outdated, was holding Ohio massage students back. This is the man who advocated genital mutilation to cure masturbation and yogurt enemas for pretty much every other problem. While his work was revolutionary at the time, massage therapists need to keep up with the century. Much of what we were being taught in school has not been backed up by research, and was not enabling students to apply their knowledge in other states.

 

The Basic Science portion was rigorous, to be sure. Knowledge required to pass was well in excess of what nursing students were expected to know in order to pass their Boards, and has been compared to the knowledge expected of 2nd year medical students. However, many of the examination questions were of questionable importance to massage therapists. What is the most common site of herniation in the diaphragm? If a client indicates a diaphragmatic hernia on her medical history form, what does it matter how common/uncommon the site is, provided the therapist knows whether it's a contraindication or therapeutic application?

 

The MBLEx has been accepted by many other states, including those with scopes of practice similar to ours. While it is easier for many to pass, the MBLEx serves its purpose of protecting clients from unsafe therapists. Licensing exams were never meant to keep as many people as possible out of the profession in order to protect the careers of the licensed few.

 

I received a 98% in Basic Science and a 97% in Limited Branch on the Ohio State Boards. I'm proud of the knowledge that I gained in school, and the knowledge that I continue to have. But I don't pretend that I'm a better therapist for having studied to those exams rather than another. The ways in which I can apply my knowledge in my business are the true test of my skill. I'm not afraid of newcomers who use some different terminology and focused on slightly different aspects of the human body when they were in school for 750 hours, just like the rest of us.

 

I'd like to see more pressure on massage schools to improve their curricula, rather than worrying over the content of licensing exams. The 55% pass rate has been scandalous, as is the lack of requirement to include comprehensive coursework in the fundamentals of business management, research literacy, or communication skills. Maybe this switch will help instructors feel free to focus more on educating top-notch therapists, rather than simply top-notch exam-passers.

 

Kat

I think the main concern here is the integrity of the industry, not how many people can get a 70% pass rate on the MBLEX, that is written to an 8th grade reading level. I feel it's another case of testing to the lowest common denominator, and as a professional in the industry, always on the look out for talented Therapists, this sounds like it will cause nothing more than a flooding of the industry with uneducated Therapists that hold a state medical board license. After reading sample questions from the MBLEX, it does raise a big concern as to the safety of the public, considering someone with NO medical training could pass with a 70% just with common sense alone. Public safety may not be an issue for those who primary practice swedish, or relaxation massage, but those who provide relief to cancer patients, people in recovery from major surgeries/ injuries, addressing soft tissue obstructions through myofascial, trigger point, positional release, and stretching.....yes! I would seriously be concerned. Ego has nothing to do with it.

It also raises the questions as to why no one has been notified of these changes, except massage Instructors and students. I searched for board meeting minutes regarding the switch.....to no avail...odd!

However, I do agree with giving Kellogg the boot. Contemporary and more up to date information needs to be in place, that is applicable and relevant to today's health concerns and client's wellfare. But if you think the only difference between med board exam licensed, and MBLEX exam licensed "professionals" is going to be "terminology and focusing on slightly different aspects of the human body" I feel you are sadly mistaken. 50% of current State Med Board exam is A&P. 13% A&P for the MBLEX. You tell me...... I do not feel, even with what is considered a 2nd year med education of A&P, that I am overeducated for the industry.

I do agree that we have all worked extremely hard to get massage therapy recognized as a forrunner in the medical field.
Switching to an easier test, and pass rate of 5% lower..............this is a step in the wrong direction, and it is lowering the standards.

And can we address the effect of flooding the market with "licensed" therapists, that do not have the understanding of A&P. If I was an individual who had never had massage before, and I went to someone who did not have the understanding of what my bodywork goals were or how to address them properly. I may try another Therapist, and if I got the same service there...... I would consider myself out the $ I've spent, and chalk up massage as a waste. Sure! Flood the market with that kind of service, and see what it does to your massage business in the future.

Shannon,


Have you taken the MBLEx? I'm curious to know, as I plan to take it myself early next year (have to write it into my budget).

 

The market is already flooded with therapists, many of whom crammed for their A&P and don't really "know" their physiology in any strong sense. I've worked with some of these, so I know they are there. What I really think is that going to the MBLEx is going to increase the number of dropouts from the field within the first two years. Sure the pass rate will increase; sure there will be less knowledgeable newly licensed therapists out there. I'd point out, though, that when I practiced in Ohio, I never had to drop my prices or otherwise respond to "competition", as my smarts, my hands and my clientele did the talking for me.

 

And frankly--I think we need a two-year degree, minimum, to practice if we want ALL grads to be able to be successful. I don't think even 1000 hours is sufficient.

 

YMMV.

 

 

Shannon Harkless said:

The Ohio exam is known for it's difficulty, but it also assures that the therapist knows the physiologic effects that they are facilitating while they are working on a client. The profession has started to gain respect again in the medical field. It has been a long and slow process. My concerns lie in the fact that the MBLEx is so much easier, some of those that pass have not been able to pass the state boards! You have 3 attempts to take the MBLEx exam. The information online will tell you there are 2 answers you can immediately rule out, so basically you have a 50/50 chance to get a right answer! The critical thinking aspect is out, which is a crucial component in our field! If after the 3rd attempt at the MBLEx you still do not pass, you are then required to take 75 additional hours of education, and then you can try again! There are schools out there that are on probation for state board pass rates but have a 99% pass rate at nationals! What does that tell you? My biggest fear with this prospective change is that we will end up experiencing a ripple effect that is going to reverse the progress we have made in the medical field to this point. We have all worked long and hard to be able to call ourselves an Ohio licensed massage therapist. It is a title I wear with pride and respect! I hope that it continues to stay that way.          

I feel the standards in place to take the medical board exam should continue or be elevated. Does it need updated? YES. Do LMT's need to be on the committee and assisting in what is on the exam? YES. Do they need to lower the testing or expectations of upcoming students? NO.

 

I worked darn hard to be a Licensed Massage Therapist here in Ohio. There needs to be a seperation of those that bust their buns to pass school and the boards! If someone wants to just offer massage here the state has already made it easy for them to do that. For example my former coworker who is an esthetitian - she was able to take a one day class on giving a relaxation massage.....then she offered massage to her clients. And at the same rate I was charging. Seems fair, right?

 

I wonder how many of those sitting on the committee making decisions for us have had a therapeutic massage? Why are we lumped together with the beauty field? Being governed by the medical board needs to mean something and lowering standards due to money or lack of knowledge should not be happening. We have those standards in place to bring the field credibility. We lose that if we lower them or they are blurred.

 

How are other fields (like PTAs, RNs) tested? Is there an option of having the medical board test handled by a testing authority, where we do have options to take it more than 2 times a yr like the nationals?

 

 

When I caught wind of the MBLEx, my disappointment in the Ohio Medical Board's decision was immediate, and continues to aggrivate me. We are limited practitioners of Medicine. The Ohio Medical Board has licensed Massage Therapists for what is rapidly approaching 100years. I am incredibly proud of my licensure, and thank all my instructors for infusing me with knowledge & passing their level of dedication and pride in being a massage therapist in the State of Ohio.

I monitor various forums, and the one thing that sticks with me, is the incessant whining by impatient students who have sat or will sit for their Ohio licensure. This is NOT a strictly aesthetic profession, nor should it be. We practice a limited branch of medicine, and should expect the State Medical Board to hold the individuals that qualify to sit for their licensure up for scrutiny, my administering an exam that most accurately

Just to clarify:   New Ohio massage therapists will still be licensed by the Ohio State Medical Board.  

The student must first pass the MBLEx, and complete all education and licensure requirements as set by the medical board (which have not changed). Then, they apply for licensure from the Board.  While the student will know immediately upon finishing the MBLEx whether or not they have passed that exam,  they still must wait on their licensure from the Medical Board before practicing as a Licensed Massage Therapist.

So the process now looks like this:

1. Complete all education requirements (which have not changed)

2. Take and pass MBLEx

3. Apply for limited branch of medicine licensure from Ohio State Medical Board

4. Fulfill all licensure requirements (which have not changed)

5. Be granted or denied limited branch of medicine licensure

6. If granted licensure, student may now call themselves a Licensed Massage Therapist and begin charging for their services.

IMO, the biggest massage issue in the state of Ohio is not which exam we are taking, but the way the massage law itself  is written---there should be no distinction between "relaxation" and "therapeutic" massage.  As has been mentioned several times by other respondents on this board, the practitioner's  A&P knowledge is extremely important to the safety of the client, whether the client is receiving "relaxation" or "therapeutic" massage. ALL massage should be considered therapeutic, therefore, all practitioners should be licensed. 

I looked over the changes, and I was shocked that there is only one test, and only 25% of that test is A&P, I feel this should be a much larger portion of the test in order to work in a medical profession, governed by a medical board. I was very happy that obtaining a license in Ohio meant being governed by the medical board. I know people in other states that don't get very much respect in their LMT career because they are seen as a cosmetologist and people in the medical field don't feel they should be able to work in the medical setting. Massage is a huge complimentary practice for many medical professions, and it has taken a long time for the medical world to accept that. I feel that this test is going to take away a lot of that credit by taking out the separate A&P section and not having a large concentration on the medical applications of massage. That is just my opinion after looking over one of the sites that offers practice exams for this test and outlined the format of the new test. The State Medical Board website doesn't really go over the test very much from what I could see.

what about the new sales tax? do you agree

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