massage and bodywork professionals

a community of practitioners

What is Everyone thinking about everyone thinking about the new advanced certification ?

I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on the new advanced certification and what you would like and to see , as far as its content .

Views: 88

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

ITA. Well said, Ms. Tackett.

Faye Scott Tackett said:
I am not for it as another test. I believe advanced certification should be left with the CEU providers. What the National could do is set a certain number ofr hours of study in a field of study the MT chooses to pursue that qualifies you for an advanced certification. There is no way a single test could test you on the many focuses of massage.therapy and the complementary therapies reflected in our field.
Thanks! Faye Tackett MA, NCTMB

1.  Our field has yet to develop a generally (or legally) accepted (by practitioners, clients, the general public, regulators, M.D.s etc):

a.  Scope of Practice.

b.  Definitions for basic principles, practices/techniques and protocols.

c.  Basic skill set of physical techniques and/or use of aids/tools.

d.  Methodology for assessing session outcomes.

e.  Etc.


2.  Therefore, my opinion is that regardless who "certifies" instructors, both CE and Advanced CEs should only be taught by people who have at least 5 and preferably 10 years of successful experience serving the public (paying clients) by performing what they purport to be more accurately, efficiently and effectively ways to provide clients with a desired/planned session outcome. 

I think the idea of advanced certification sounds great, but I think the concept of CEU's & becoming specialists in whatever area we are drawn to is more logical.  Just on the basis, every education is different & every person is different.  I personally think I would feel much more.... accomplished & professional being able to say "I am a specialist in..." rather then, "I have advanced certification".  But, that is also a personal standing. 

I sincerely doubt that it actually does any of the stated benefits except "Enables you to independently test and measure your skills against a national standard".

How can Advanced Certification benefit you?
  • Improves your earning potential
  • Provides more opportunities in conventional, integrative and clinical healthcare settings
  • Identifies you as a leader in the massage and bodywork profession
  • Increases your marketability
  • Enhances your credibility
  • Provides you greater job mobility
  • Enables you to independently test and measure your skills against a national standard
  • Distinguishes you from your peers
  • Creates a feeling of personal satisfaction and achievement
  • Prepares you for many career opportunities
  • Demonstrates your dedication to the profession
  • Encourages ongoing professional development
  • Confirms your commitment to NCBTMB’s Standards of Conduct and Code of Ethics

I am sure it will transform the profession. But most of the benefits are still due to performance not test scores. At least for now.

I sincerely doubt that it actually does any of the stated benefits except "Enables you to independently test and measure your skills against a national standard"

I think you are correct about these alleged benefits, but I would also take issue with the one you have selected. Sure you can measure yourself against another in your ability to take tests which is a skill, but not one relevant to performing massage. A good result on a computer-based test (CBT) speaks to your ability to complete CBT's well. If you wanted to have a test of your skills it would be a competency standard based practical exam.

So perhaps that would be better phrased this way:

"Enables you to independently test and measure your test taking skills against a national standard"

What good for the practice of massage is implementing an advanced national standard that is based on the ability to pass written tests?  

Academics might care because it increases their incomes and employers might care because it limits their legal liability, but unless someone can prove that those who have these credentials safely produce significantly better client outcomes in the commercial world (distinctly different from what is reported or found in "pilot" study research studies)  it seems questionable that practitioners will ever recoup the cost of acquiring this additional certification.

I had hoped we would take a path where we have Specialty Certifications based previous discussions and impressions. (over 20 years of watching this). That would allow for instance, folks who are Sports Massage "Specialists" to have input/comment/offer expertise on the competencies for performing the various types of athletic based massage therapy.  

The Polarity Association already has standards, Structural Integration, on and on.  Within professions trades people specialize, why couldn't we have gone down that road instead of a generic "Advanced" Certification.  Advanced of what?  

Nurses, doctors, athletic trainers, yoga teachers, coaches all have a specialty and they can get "certified/approved/recognized" by their industry boards.  For instance, don't you go to a "board certified" maxillofacial surgeon?  A PT certified in "pelvic stabilization"? or a Yoga Alliance certified 200 or 500 hours teacher?  


We can do this, eventually.  People are struggling with personal and economic issues.  Let's use resources wisely, the NCTMB could have used its previous wealth on these issues many years ago.  It was also supposed to support the research arm of the profession. Where is the cash for the Foundation?  Used for something else?  Like what...?


Maybe it is time to pursue a "goal" instead of flaying around using money and resources for another "test".  I want the NCBTMB to be relevant to me and my professional goals.  I am teacher in a massage school, a CE provider "approved" by the NCBTMB, I have an active private practice.  If I take this test how will it help me?  I'll have another piece of paper "on the wall"??  Give me specialty certifications that are relevant, represent real standards and competencies.  

These are my opinions, not the official position of the schools I work with, the groups I work with, nor the opinion of my wife and weiner dog.  





The following might enliven the discussion:  "A new study from Princeton University shows that expensive college degrees are not necessarily worth the lofty price tags in the long run when you take into account one's natural ability.

Laurence Kotlikoff, professor of economics at Boston University agrees that an expensive education just isn't worth it -- much to his chagrin of course because tuition and fees at Boston University totalled $39,314 for 2010-11.

With unemployment still about 9 percent, on average, for college graduates under the age of 25, and total student-loan debt now topping that of credit card debt in this country, he tells Aaron in the accompanying clip, "If you think of education as solely a monetary investment, if we are not thinking about all the other benefits from education like learning things, and getting to hang out with me, and also just becoming a more cultured person, then we have to look at this very carefully."

So, what does college tuition and room and board cost today?

Well, tuition is the most expensive it has have ever been, rising roughly 5.6 percent per year beyond the rate of inflation, reports the College Board.

In-state tuition and fees at a public four-year university were on average $7,605 for the 2010-11 term. When you tack on room and board, the total average cost jumps to $16,140.

Tuition and fees at a private four-year college were on average $27,293 for the same term. And, the total average cost with room and board amounted to $36,993.

That's a lot of dough -- especially when you multiply it by four years.  It's for that same reason James Altucher, founder of Formula Capital, made his case to Tech Ticker last year that kids should forget the degree altogether.  (See: Rethinking College as Student-Loan Burdens Rise)

Kotlikoff has been doing a bit of his own research on the matter as president of Economic Security Planning Inc. He's developed software that according to the website can "tell you if a job change, a housing move, a retirement account contribution, and a host of other financial decisions will raise or lower your living standard."

Kotlikoff's research aligns with Altucher's credo.  He has found that more often than not, people can have a better lifetime standard of living by choosing NOT to get an advanced degree. And, he says that people can be better off financially by not obtaining an undergraduate degree at all.

Professor Kotlikoff makes his case by comparing the livelihoods of plumbers and doctors.  Yes, doctors have a bigger salary.  But, doctors have to endure nearly a decade of expensive education before making any real salary, after which the doctor is hit by a very high progressive tax rate.  Because of all the costs the doctor incurs, the taxes and the lost wages, he says, "plumbers make more, and have almost the same spending power over their lifetime as general practitioners."

The high cost of tuition — and in turn high burden of student debt — is a key part to Kotlikoff's findings.

"[This] is a debt a kid cannot discharge through bankruptcy," he explains. "We have a lot of kids who are borrowing a lot of money that they can't discharge through bankruptcy who are ending up basically in debtors prison for the rest of their life because they potentially made the wrong choice when it came to education."

If parents are paying, Kotlikoff says, all bets are off.  But, for those considering college, who have to pay for all the costs alone, his advice is to think not once, not twice, but three times over about the financial burden of future student-loan debt."

Thats my comment to a somewhat related article on this site.


I recently took the national certification exam through the NCBTMB in January.  Honestly, I'm mixed about this advanced certification.  On paper, it sounds great, but I have to agree with some of the thoughts expressed here -- there are some great MT's who just do not like to take tests.  Period.  (Me being one of them, actually.)  


In fact, I hate tests.  It's so time consuming to study, the stress of wondering if you are going to pass ... and most of all, these exams are not cheap.  But, I decided to take the exam because the state I work in is Pennsylvania (and they finally passed legislation last fall).  In order to obtain a license, they require you to be nationally certified, or have worked a certain amount of years to be "grandfathered" in.  I did not meet their "grandfathering" requirement, so the test was my only option.  Working as a massage therapist is my passion, so I couldn't imagine retiring from it with only 3 years into my career. I also may or may not be relocating in the next year to another state, so I want to be in the position to have all the requirements met to obtain a state license in another state.


On the other hand, I do also believe it adds some creditability to the profession.  It is voluntary, and by passing it, it shows the world you want to be the most knowledgeable therapist you can be.  Do I think it's THE gold standard?  No.  I think it's somewhere in the middle.  The test is part of it, but I think the others are your experiences and taking CEU's.  I also think your foundation in massage school is crucial.  If you had great teachers who challenged you, made you think, and taught you well, then that alone is its weight in gold.  I was very fortunate to have a great teacher in school.  


Looking back on the whole experience, it was unnverving and time consuming, but I am so glad I rose up and met the challenge. I was so happy when I found out I passed the exam!!! Just some thoughts.  Feel free to chime in.  I love all the discussions on here! 

Reply to Discussion


© 2018   Created by Lara Evans Bracciante.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service