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Has anyone else heard about the DOE discountinuing funding for an associate degree in massage therapy? How do you feel about this? I'm all for CMT/LMT's with more education, but maybe they have the right idea....

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I haven't heard this, But it might not be a bad thing, I don't think that MTs need an associates degree to practice safely

I heard something similar from a friend, but it had to do with vocational programs in general. 


There are many programs out there, from trucking, to esthetics, to massage therapy that many do not feel they should be funded by taxpayers in light of the current deficits, but I have not heard that it has actually happened. 


I do know that WIA (workforce investment) grants are no longer available for massage therapy, at least in Chicago.

They have mandated that in states where certification or licensure is tied to clock hours in the program that the program must be in clock hour format. This is for any vocational education which, like MT, is licensed at the state level.


It might only take 500 hrs to make someone a safe practitioner, but how much does it take to give a student an education to make them a fully effective practitioner? I think these are distinct issues and that the associate's level addresses this. Additionally, there's an issue to tease apart about whether just being safe is enough to make us a profession rather than a trade. I'd rather think of MT as a profession, and for that I think we need more than 500 hours and passing a basic level examination.

Karen, thank you for the info. 


I am curious, why do you think that Associates degrees address the need to be made a fully efective practitioner?  I have not seen any metrics to that effect, and I was just reading an article in Massage Therapy Canada where the issues discussed mirrored what the 500-hour graduates face here.  On what do you base your opinion?


If we agree that 500 hours is what it takes to make a safe practitioner and that the responsibility of the state is to protect the public, shouldn't then the state only require what ensures the safety of the public and leave it up to the student to pursue more hours if they want to?

Thank you for your comments everyone. I guess the bigger question here is "What are the limits to our profession and how far can we really go?"

As a school who has offered an AS, I can honestly say the feedback from the community has been astounding. We have more job offers than we have graduates. The feedback has consistently been that our students are more knowledgeable and more condifent. Now, I'm not saying that because I feel our instructors are the best or we are superior to others, I simply feel that if you have more time, you can teach more. Additionally, the more time a student has to "practice", the more confident a therapist they will be when the enter the field. So traditionally, I have been a big proponent of an AS program.

However, maybe the NCBTMB has the correct educational model. For their advanced practitioner certification, a therapist will graduate from a traditional 500 hr program, work for a few years to gain experience, take some CE courses and then take an advance test. Could this be the wave of the future? Is this the model we should all follow?

As we have gained much credibility and advancement of our profession over the years, how much farther can we go? Can we really be credible in the medical fields with only 500 hours of education? Just as every other profession has say an LPN, ASN, BSN, RN and Nurse Practitioner; can we follow in these footsteps, or are their limits to what we can do?

Just a little food for thought...Have a great week everyone and thanks again for the input!


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