The End of an ERA
National Certification is No More
on December 31, 2016

Staff article posted February 21, 2015

National Certification will go by the way side on December 31, 2016 and the National Certification Examination for State Licensure is already gone.  How many of you are really sad to see it go?  We all must agree that it caused a significant amount of confusion.  Will the new Board Certification achieve its GOAL?

The last application to use the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork licensing exam was accepted on November 1, 2014.  The National Board has reached an agreement with the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards and will no longer offer any examinations for State Licensure as a Massage Therapist.  They will instead focus on their mission to improve the quality of continuing education and promote advanced certification.

While the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards will continue to provide an entry level state licensure exam known as the MBLEx.  The FSMTB will continue its mission to set professional standards and meet the licensure requirements of the United States by providing a uniform examination procedure for State Massage Therapy Boards.  The NCBTMB will continue its mission to set the standard for advancing the skill sets of Licensed Massage Therapists by providing a Board Certification and overseeing the quality of CE courses and continuing education providers. 

A Massage Professional with advanced training and skills can now provide proof of their educational achievements with a new examination and credential which will be  referred to as BOARD CERTIFIED.  It is too early on the path of Board Certification to predict weather they will remain a leader in the field.

The National Boards decision to focus on advanced training and continuing education is an important step for the massage industry.  It is vital to remain a strong united community as the licensed massage therapist takes their first uncertain steps as health care practitioners under the new Obama Care Laws. Strong continuing education programs are crucial for every massage therapist practicing in any state in the US.

The diversity and breadth of the massage therapy community is a bit unusual as licensed professionals go.   Many LMT's can stand toe to toe with any physical or structural physiotherapist.  On the other hand a licensed massage professional can choose to be a leader within the enormous beauty & fitness industries.  Some massage professional's choice to straddle the thin line between the two. 

The trend toward state legislation designed to reduce human trafficking and prostitution, at times seems to have struck a blow to the integrity and value of massage therapists as health care professionals.  They require every trained and licensed massage therapist to prove that they are legitimate professionals in our local communities, while doing very little to effectively reduce the number of business set up for elicit and illegal activity.

Organized distribution of massage services is here to stay with national chains competing for the relatively small group of individuals that have ever received a massage. The upside of corporate advertising is an increased in overall awareness of the benefits of massage.  The down side of this corporate form of takeover is that it has reduced the average income of many licensed massage therapists.

The enormous influx of immigrants to our shores has brought a new kind of massage establishment to our larger cities.  The Asian & Russian influenced massage business focused at elicit activity have been around for decades.  Today they are breaking into a more ethical broad based massage Salon, focused on offering Foot Reflexology to the masses. 

The key component that is important to understand as a Massage Professional in the United States is that many of these businesses opening up across America are utilizing individuals who have not been trained or licensed to practice massage here in the US.   They are often very good at providing Foot Reflexology and Acupressure massage at price points that are well below our National Massage Chains and impossible to compete with for the solo or small independent Massage Establishment.

Although National Certification may have gone, hopes that Board Certification is here to stay.  It is vital that our community stay a connected and strong force for the health and wellbeing of our nation.  It is our moral and ethical obligation to stay informed about the changing landscape of State Legislation regarding Massage Therapy and to be active leaders within our local communities. 

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