I am sure many massage therapists got this email last week:
Dear massage professional,
As a massage practitioner, you know what an important role continuing education (CE) plays in both personal and professional development. It is also required by many states for licensure renewal and by NCBTMB for recertification – and in the future, for the advanced practice credential as well.
Ever since the release of the MBLEx, the NCBTMB has been trying to find its new niche. And in my opinion, it is struggling to do so. I am not fond of their decision to release the advanced practitioner credential. It seems like another set of letters that most of the public will not understand and another way for the NCBTMB to make up for the money they are losing.
At one point I know the NCBTMB organization filled a much needed space in the massage field. It gave practitioners a way to distinguish themselves before their state had massage licensing. The NCBTMB also helped states approve CEUS and test new licensees. Now most states have a licensing board and practitioners do not need the NCTMB credential like before. Do massage practitioners really need the “NCTMB” label like they used to? And with success of the FSTMB’s MBLEx, the NCE is no longer the exam of choice.
This leads me to ask the question: Will the NCBTMB be around in 10-15 years?
If not, how does this affect me as a practitioner and CEU provider?
As a practitioner, the NCTMB credential is no longer relevant in my practice other than it helped me get my Iowa license. I was just 21 when my parents drove me to Illinois to take the NCETMB. Iowa required the NCETMB for licensure, but they were not going to have a testing site that year- grrr. I passed and was proud of the new set of letters behind my name. I put “NCTMB” on all my business cards, gift certificates, and brochures.
I quickly noticed that NCTMB credential was not what my clients cared about. I no longer include it on any of my marketing materials. And likely will let this credential go when it is up for renewal.
As a CEU provider, I am confident in my courses and that they are relevant, professional, and within the scope of practice of massage therapy and surpass the NCBTMB’s standards. This change they are suggesting could remove some of the more questionable CEU’s and CEU providers which is good for the profession. Then NCBTMB could also decide to make the application and renewal process more tedious than it already is. Why is the NCBTMB changing their game? To make my life more difficult? No. Maybe because they may see the rise of state boards taking over another one of their jobs ~ approving CEU providers. Right now most states approve any CEU courses as long as they are approved by the NCBTMB. However, more and more states, like Maryland (my past blog), are discussing the job of approving their own CEUS, a job they once gave the NCBTMB. I believe we will see more and more states,like Maryland, take control over approving CEUS. They do not want courses in energy work, animal massage, and other CEUS outside the traditional scope of massage therapy automatically approved for CEUS under the NCBTMB.
I feel in the future with more states taking control, this credential too will become less relevant. How soon? I do not know.
What do you think about the changes to the NCBTMB? Do you like where they are going? What do they need to do next?
Ivy Hultquist, LMT, NCTMB 😉
Next week: Mandatory Massage CEU’s ~ Who wins here?
I think that the NCTMB served a really great purpose back in the day. It was used as a licensing exam and provided some additional credentials in states that don’t require licensing. But it has outlived it’s purpose. It is becoming irrelevant. But it was really important at one time. It is not necessarily the fault of the organization.
Update… As of April 2013, the NCBTMB does not answer the phone, or return calls.
I placed at least 5 messages at their office with no return call.
There is SO MUCH confusion with this NCBTMB phasing out, and a National Board Certification going into place… what is this? What an unprofessional mess! I can not get clarification if I need to take MORE ethics, or if my ethics from 2008 still hold up. I am a little bit disappointed in the NCBTMB to say the least. )-:
The question you ask, “Will it be around in 15 years?”
My reply, “I certainly hope not.”
The statement from their letter, “For over a decade, NCBTMB’s Approved Provider (AP) program has helped practitioners identify competent CE instructors” certainly has not been my experience.
I have been a practitioner since 1996 and feel that the national organizations have in no way helped me identify competent instructors. As a matter of fact when I see ncbtmb behind a practitioners name I wonder, “Is this another crack pot or another person fooled by their marketing?”
It sounds good that the ncbtmb test covers “General Knowledge of the Body Systems” yet, general knowledge of the body systems includes, “Energetic systems (e.g., chakras; channel [meridians]; primary and extraordinary channels) ” I have yet to have even one client come in asking me to address their “Energetic Body System”.
In the Anatomy and Physiology section of the test is listed “primary and extraordinary meridians. In all seriousness I ask, “Is this some kind of joke?” I am glad I was taught anatomy and physiology from a college professor.
Pathology section lists “Effects of life stages (e.g., childhood; adolescence; geriatric) ” and “Approaches used in Asian medicine by other health professionals “as test material. Give those a google search will ya.
I’m not implying that any of the above mentioned references are not good information to have but it certainly does not reflect anything I find useful in my daily practice.
Thanks for the opportunity to comment,
Thank you for your comment! I am working up another blog about the NCETMB this week. Did you read Laura Allen’s blog a few weeks ago? It was really good. She also commented it was time for them to step away from the entry level exam.