NCBTMB Revamping Approved Provider Program

Alexa Zaledonis, the new Chair of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, is starting off her term with a bang. In a joint statement issued today with Paul Lindamood, Executive Director, Zaledonis states that the NCBTMB is about to undertake a major initiative to improve the CE Approved Provider program. The statement acknowledges that this evolution is necessitated by the fact that there are now over 1700 providers, and that what worked in the beginning is not necessarily going to serve the purpose in the future. The folks at the NCBTMB are aware that times are changing, and it’s time for a Spring cleaning.

The statement says in part:

We also anticipate a move toward comprehensive course-by-course review and auditing of all AP offerings. NCBTMB has reviewed the processes in place, as well as the needs of the profession, and the conclusions suggest:

  • a review of course content against a more robust set of criteria for every class is imminent
  • the requirement for a specific set of teaching qualifications is compelling
  • a stratified system of course designations is fast approaching to differentiate entry-level and advanced CE

In the old paradigm, once an instructor was approved as a provider, additional classes could be added to the list of offerings without the individual class being vetted for content. Unfortunately, some people have taken advantage of that to bend the rules.

According to the Approved Provider Reference Guide, appropriate continuing education is meant to go beyond what is expected of an entry-level therapist who has 500 hours of education.

Inappropriate content includes, but is not limited to, classes that are about diagnosing clinical conditions, implementing allopathic medical or surgical procedures, physically invasive procedures such as ear candling or colonics, techniques that incorporate osteopathic/chiropractic procedures such as ballistic thrusting and joint manipulations, procedures that require additional licensure or certification such as physical therapy, Pilates instructor training, personal training, etc.; any class that is about how to prescribe herbs, nutritional supplements, and/or pharmaceuticals; any class about how to perform hypnosis, aesthetic facials, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or acupuncture, and any class that is about psychological counseling, or psychic, clairvoyance, telepathic, astrology, religious or spiritual practices. There is also a prohibition of any class that is based on a product that the student is expected to buy, which some providers have also ignored.

The NCBTMB has sent out letters inviting participation on a Massage Approved Provider Panel to the leadership of the professional membership organizations, regulatory boards, providers, certificants, and leaders of the profession. I think this is a great initiative, and since it’s meant to improve the CE/AP program that serves almost every state, I certainly hope that politics are put aside here for the greater good of the profession. It’s the right thing to do.

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