Delaware currently is one of a very few the states that has a two tier system for massage therapists. In Delaware licensed therapists are required to complete at least 500 hours of education and pass a certification examination. Massage technicians are required to complete 300 hours of education and are not required to take an examination. The Delaware legislature recently tried to eliminate the technician tier. Eliminating the bottom tier would have required all massage therapists to get 500 hours of education. The Governor vetoed the bill (DE HB463 on 2010-08-02).
In many ways I have always thought this was a good idea in theory. For some massage professionals who want more or less education the tier system is a good meeting point. For those who just want to focus on relaxation massage, the technician route may be adequate. For those who want to focus on the physical and therapeutic aspect of massage, the massage therapist license would be ideal. These therapists may have a broader scope of practice (stretching, hydrotherapy, and working with prescriptions or under other health care providers). Obviously I would think the pay would be greater for those who have more education.
However, this tier system can be confusing. Making sure the public knows the difference would require massage therapists and technicians to explain the difference. Also, who is to say who has more experience, a technician with 10 years experience or a therapist with 10 months experience? Does 200 hours really make that big of a gap between massage therapists and technicians. I could see maybe the difference between 100 hours and 1000 hours. Both tiers would require the same commitment to professional massage ethics.
Just a few quick thoughts off the top of my head this morning. What are your thoughts on a tier system?