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How Massage Therapists Can Benefit from Board Certification with the NCBTMB

By Brian Acton

Massage therapists who wish to boost their credentials, unlock new opportunities, or expand their knowledge and training can all stand to benefit from board certification with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB). That’s because board certification is nationally recognized as the highest voluntary massage therapy credential, and gives massage therapists greater legitimacy and recognition, especially in the healthcare industry. What Is Board Certification? Board certification is a voluntary credential - provided through the NCBTMB - that massage therapists can pursue. Upon becoming board certified, therapists can include the credentials “BCTMB” following their name. They’ll also be nationally recognized by the NCBTMB and gain several other perks and benefits. The requirements for board certification are standardized across the country. Requirements include: • Completing 750 hours of education • Completing 250 hours of hands-on professional experience • Passing the BCETMB exam • Passing a criminal background check • Agreeing to uphold NCBTMB’s code of ethics and standards • Agreeing to oppose human trafficking Hours you’ve completed in an NCBTMB-approved school will count toward the education requirements, and you’ll have two years from the date you graduate to complete your work experience requirement. Once all requirements are met, you can become board certified. Board certification is not the same as state licensure, although many massage therapists will sit for their licensure and board certification exams around the same time. Board certification isn’t required to practice, but there are many tangible benefits to getting your certification. What are the Benefits? Board certification isn’t simply an arbitrary credential; it’s nationally recognized and has several benefits: 1. Greater Legitimacy According to the NCBTMB, board certification demonstrates that therapists have gone above and beyond the entry-level requirements needed to operate as a massage therapist. Since board certification has such strict requirements, clients and employers can be confident that certified therapists are committed to lifelong learning and continued growth. 2. Job Opportunities Board certification grants access to opportunities and career paths that may have previously been unavailable. Many employers, especially those in the health care industry, will require board certification for available job opportunities. Some spas and massage practices may also require board certification. Therapists can place the “BCTMB” credential, which stands for “Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork,” after their name to indicate that they’re board certified. 3. Greater Online Visibility Once a therapist becomes certified, they are listed on the NCBTMB’s directory of certified massage therapists. The public can search on the site, using criteria as simple as a zip code, to locate nearby board certified therapists. In this way, board certification can help you connect with new clients. 4. Networking Opportunities Becoming part of the NCBTMB community unlocks online networking opportunities, including social media groups that can help therapists continue their career growth. For example, NCBTMB has a Facebook group for approved providers to post continuing education courses, helping connect board certified therapists with the industry’s top educators. 5. Access to Online Marketplaces The NCBTMB runs an affiliate program with some of the massage industry’s top brands and services. Active members get access to exclusive deals and promotions on products and services that can help their business. There’s also a public online marketplace that reserves exclusive savings and discounts for board certified members. 6. State Licensure Requirements States don’t require board certification for therapists to do business within their borders. However, many states do allow continuing education from NCBTMB approved providers to count toward meeting licensure renewal requirements. 7. Continuing Education Therapists will get the opportunity to connect with continuing education classes, providers, and resources. Continuing education classes help therapists gain experience, encounter different issues in the field, and further their professional development. How to Get Started No matter your current standing as a massage therapist, you can apply your existing education and experience toward board certification with the NCBMTB. Board certification can open up access to new opportunities and resources to massage therapists at all levels. To learn how to get started, visit the NCBTMB website.
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