A Matter of Opinion

Last week, the AFMTE released a position paper authored by Executive Director Rick Rosen, “Alliance Offers New Vision for National Certification.”

The AFMTE also recently announced that it is partnering with the FSMTB in their initiative to begin approving continuing education.

Both of these have attracted quite a bit of discussion on the various social media sites. And like any discussion, people agree, disagree, and agree to disagree.  I’m glad to say there hasn’t been any mudslinging of the nature that goes on at times in some of these venues. I think these discussions are useful and informative.  They sometimes bring to light a lot of misconceptions that people have about which entity does what, and how they do it.

I encourage everyone to read Rosen’s paper in its entirety, but to make a long story short, it is a plea to the NCBTMB to reorganize, and get out of the continuing education business and the entry-level exam business. The FSMTB has been stating the opinion since their founding 5 years ago that NCBTMB exams are inappropriate for licensing purposes, and encouraging the states to drop those exams and use the MBLEx exclusively. That hasn’t happened.  If the map on the FSMTB is current, 33 member boards are using the MBLEx. If the map on the NCBTMB website is current, 38 states are still accepting their exams, meaning the majority of states are accepting both, and offering their licensees a choice. The AFMTE is also supportive of the Federation’s stance, as is AMTA and ABMP. Still, the facts show that either the 38 states are doing the wrong thing, or else they are exercising their undeniable right to conduct their business the way they want to.

I haven’t been in this profession nearly as long as Rosen or some of the other players here. I became a massage therapist in 1999, and it seems like I joined at a time when everything was just really starting to swirl. I was in the first wave of licensees in North Carolina.  Mr. Rosen actually has license #00001…first person licensed in our state. He has seen and been instrumental in a lot of things happening. I would never try to minimize the contributions he has made to this field. I won’t criticize his career, his integrity, or his belief that he is suggesting something for the good of the profession on the whole.

My criticism is this, and it isn’t directed entirely at him; it’s directed at the concept of any organization trying to mandate to another organization how to run their affairs. We get enough of that from the feds, don’t we?

I believe that the FSMTB and their mission of public protection is a great thing. The member boards come together for the purpose of discussing common problems and looking for workable solutions. Anytime people sit at the table together to try to solve a problem, that’s wonderful to me. I also believe that the AFMTE was started with the noble intent of acting as the voice, advocate, and resource for massage schools and educators. What I don’t believe is that either one of them can unilaterally force the NCBTMB to change their way of conducting business, nor do I think they should have that right.

The FSMTB is developing a model practice act, in addition to developing a CE approval program. They can and do suggest to the member boards that their exam is the appropriate exam, their CE approval (will be) is the appropriate approval, their model practice act (will be) the premier example of an appropriate act, and so forth.  It’s part of the quest to streamline things  in a uniform fashion and promote portability.

However, suggestion is the key word. The member states aren’t bound by any legalities to do what the FSMTB offers in the way of suggestions. If they want to keep the NCBTMB exams, they can. If they want to keep their own practice act, they can. If they want to keep NCBTMB approved providers or continue to approve their own, they can. They all have the right to conduct their business as they see fit within the law.

There is certainly room for improvement, on the practice act front, in particular, when you see all the variance that’s out there between the states. Keith Eric Grant has summarized that. You can access it here.

The bottom line, to me, is that all of these entities, including the NCBTMB, also have the right to conduct their business as they see fit. Unless and until there is a federal law governing massage, the individual entities can continue to do whatever they do however they want to do it. The FSMTB and the AFMTE could spend days pointing out past shortcomings of the NCBTMB, but it wasn’t “the NCBTMB” as an entity that had the shortcomings. It was the human beings running the organization.

As the FSMTB is only 5 years old, and the AFMTE less than half that, neither of these organizations have been in business long enough to have been plagued with the personnel problems, inefficiency problems, financial problems and so forth that happened in the past at the NCBTMB. Board members come and go. Executive directors come and go. Priorities of boards and organization come and go. Even organizations come and go. Last week I learned from Dr. Kory Ward-Cook, CEO of the NCCAOM, that there was previously a Federation of State Acupuncture Boards that fell apart.

AMTA and ABMP have their own missions and their leadership has their own opinions. As do we all. And any organization, just like any individual, has the right to run their business as they please, as long as they are not breaking the law. The NCBTMB is not breaking any laws by continuing to conduct their business as they see fit. The other organizations are not breaking any laws by conducting their business as they see fit. They all have that right. You don’t have to like it. I don’t have to like it. One organization doesn’t have to like what the other organization is doing. But until the federal government steps in and says, “you must do this,” they can all do as they dang well please. If any of them don’t do well enough at whatever it is they choose to do, they won’t survive.

Everybody has their own opinion on what’s good (or not good) for this profession, what’s good for licensing, what’s good for certification, what’s good for teacher standards, what’s good for education, what’s good for continuing education. There are just as many opinions on all of that as there are opinions on what kind of massage oil you ought to use.  Everyone is entitled to that. And everyone is entitled to conduct their business the way they choose to, as long as it’s within the law.

The AFMTE posted on LinkedIn that they had posted Rosen’s position paper directly to the NCBTMB. I suggest that if the folks at the NCBTMB are interested in hearing more about it or discussing it that they will get in touch. And if they don’t, then I suggest that the AFMTE, and in fact all organizations, concentrate on being good at what they set out to do for their organization, and leave the NCBTMB to do as their board and their leadership sees fit. Their Board is elected by their certificants, and their ED serves at the pleasure of their board.  They may well thrive and survive by doing things their own way, or they may fail altogether.

Either way, I think the burden to make it or break it is on them, just like the burden that is on all the organizations, and on any of us as practitioners and business people. And any insinuation of the NCBTMB being “uncooperative” is an opinion, not a fact. I can tell you how to run your business, you can decline to take my advice, and I will not refer to you as uncooperative. I will assume that you are exercising your right to conduct your business in the manner that you see fit, whether it suits me or not.

That’s just my opinion.

18 Replies to “A Matter of Opinion”

  1. Laura, I really appreciate you posting this blog and I hope that those who read it, particularly those who lead, belong to or are affected by the actions of all of the organizations you mention here understand the intent behind your post rather than try to offer “clarifications” or “counter-opinions”… if given the opportunity, and a “safe environment,” perhaps the engagement for many of those who have chosen to remain silent will start to increase. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and many of us have been inspired by your willingness to do so. Thank you.

    All across the world we’re witnessing a significant shift….I was listening to a radio show yesterday talking about the killing of Bin Laden, the decreasing influence of Al Quaeda and in particular, the events that have occurred in Egypt and Tunisia. One quote was particularly interesting, and I think pertinent to this situation. “….there’s been a radical change in the Muslim world…the people who are effecting change are no longer using terms like “jihad” but rather terms like “democracy” and “power to the people” and “the leaders of ‘xxx’ no longer make our decisions without considering us first.” They’re not demanding change in support of any particular organization or under the umbrella of any specific course of thought other than demanding that those who are elected to, or are in positions to serve the people, actually serve the people rather than their own agenda or organization. We, the professionals of massage therapy do not want, need, respect or benefit from the division and posturing of any organization. We want the focus to shift back to servant leadership-and we need it to happen…now.

    It’s unfair to put all of the blame on any particular organization–without input from the professionals, schools and external stakeholders, the leaders in the massage organizations will rely on their own judgement and make decisions based on their reality, mission, goals, etc. “Silence” is often considered a vote of approval, rather than recognized as a profession who is apathetic to a situation. For those of you who read the various posts and feel compelled to respond, yet fear the backlash of the ‘word-smiths’ have no fear-use your voice-we’ll be here to support you.

    There are promising areas as well–there are several volunteer leaders in AMTA, FSMTB, NCBTMB, AFMTE; staff leaders in AMTA, ABMP, NCBTMB, FSMTB; external stakeholders such as Massage Today, Massage Warehouse, Massage Envy, Performance Health and the group who lead the World Massage Conference and American Massage Conference that are working very hard on behalf of our profession. They’re not only doing ‘the right things’ but doing ‘things right.’ There is a difference. I’m sure the same is true for the AFMTE as well.

    One very important distinction (in my opinion) is that the external stakeholders appear to be more focused on supporting the therapists, the schools and the future of the profession than those who are specifically organized to solely support them. I say this not to be critical of any particular organization-but rather as an observation. I’ve yet to hear Massage Today, Massage Envy, Massage Warehouse, Performance Health, WMC or AMC being critical of our massage organizations-or taking any specific positions with regard to their actions.

    You may be thinking that these external professionals should be providing “customer service” to people who buy from them, or spend advertising dollars with their publication….but aren’t ALL organizations obligated to provide customer support and service? Those external organizations are comprised of human beings with thoughts and opinions–and I’m sure they have them. But rather than using their budgets and voices to bash others–even their direct competitors, they appear to be funneling their resources into their customers. These “externals” are becoming more and more “internals” because they’re supplying solutions to our problems. They make doing our work easier and enjoyable without the negativity. They’re listening to their consumer base and they’re responding with products and services that we professionals are more than willing to pay for….AND we’re tweeting, sharing their information in our social networks and basically advertising and promoting those “externals” while paying for the relationship. What a concept.

    Sandy Fritz posted a comment on the AFMTE Linked In site in response to the AFMTE position. I believe that there are some very important messages there and I hope that each of you will take the time to read and respond. I’ve used Sandy’s textbooks as a school owner, and I’ve had quite a lot of respect for her over the years as an educator. What I read in her response to the position gave me a new respect for her–as a leader.

    I’m not sure what will change as a result of this conversation with regard to how our organizations interact with each other. I’m not sure if the organizations will actually “hear” what is being said rather than trying to continue to explain “why” or “what” they’re doing in hopes that the more times we hear it, the more supportive we will become… what I am sure of is that massage therapists, massage schools and massage clients need organizations – for profit or not – to provide us with tools to practice our craft; transparent information to make sound decisions; to increase our areas of opportunity; to keep our interests at the forefront of every conversation, deliberation, motion and action that they consider and to talk to us, rather than at us or about each other.

    Of course the conversations will likely continue…and so long as all of them understand that the rank-and-file massage therapists out here could really give a damn about what one thinks about the other, and that what we do care about is what you think of us…..then by all means, enjoy reading each others words.

  2. First reply is in response to Brian Goodwin Loncor’s libel. I do not and never have supported using massage as a front for prostitution. Since October 2009, I have in fact donated my time and efforts as a member of the board of directors of the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) toward ensuring that massage therapy is not used as a front for prostitution within California.

    Along with David Palmer and the local AMTA chapter, I did support, some years back, a San Francisco ordinance that moved the regulation of massage in San Francisco from under the police department to under the authority of the health department. That was an ordinance that Mr. Goodwin was opposed to. He has since chosen to characterize all who supported it as supporting prostitution. Such is not the case. David Palmer, generally recognized as the “father” of chair massage, developed a website on the San Francisco Ordinance.

  3. Now, back to Laura’s actual content. My opinion is that there are sufficient legal questions in areas of anti-trust and use of funds for advocacy that it is unwise for states to require use of the NCB exams as the sole means of gaining licensure. States have none delegatable immunity from anti-trust and it is the states that have been granted the rights and responsibilities to regulate. It is, for these reasons, even more dubious to require certification by the NCB, since this takes the role of setting prerequisites away from state oversight and control. For more on this, see the FTC’s Report of the State Action Task Force (pdf).

    However, as long as the state boards and regulatory agencies, via the FSMTB, provide the MBLEx, use of the NCB exams, including any funds the NCB so gains and uses for advocacy, would be a voluntary option to license candidates. Therefore, as long as the individual states feel that the NCB exams sufficiently meet their needs for licensing, I don’t see any inherent problem. An exam can be sufficient for purposes of licensing even though all of its content is not necessary for licensing.

  4. “sufficient legal questions”
    This is an excellent link from Keith Eric Grant. Please take the time to read it.

    Laura, I really appreciate that you have written about all this. It is very complicated and I hope that this discussion is a “change point”. Thank you!

    Good encouragement Angie ;-> It’s the conversation that I’m after. Your words are appreciated.

    We can’t be a “profession” until we work all this out together. Don’t get mad, get thinking/acting/discussing. We have so much to offer.

    Currently we are a health related occupation. We’ll become a profession only when the pieces are lined up and reflect other established “professions”. And I’m not just talking about healthcare, all professions have certain features. Let’s got for it!

    Sandy and I have talked about all this and I think her main point is that NCAP is THE replacement for NCETMB, NCETM, NESL. NCAP would be the base/foundation from which to grow the SPECIALTY CERTIFICATIONS. I agree with this in principle AND I still have qualms about the name, the requirements/standards/qualifications, and many other issues.

    There is much to be explained by NCB. Outside of the magazine promotions I don’t have a real picture of this thing other then it will be voluntary and will impress some other healthcare providers. The marketing of the NCAP in the magazines is very fluffy in my opinion.

    It seems like a reach to say the NCAP will NOW be the highest standard when the NESL, NCE’s (both of them) are already “marketed” as the highest standard. How will be the current certificants be viewed? The lower tier?

    Maybe “Advanced Practice” should be explored in detail. What is it? Who qualifies?
    Can someone define “Advanced Practice” for me? This is where we were failed in the NCETM unveiling so many years ago.

    For those who don’t remember. The NCETMB (single test) became the NCETM (massage only) and NCETMB (massage and bodywork). No one at NCBTMB could ever define “bodywork” as compared to “massage” (can they now?). It’s not obvious to me that “ADVANCED GENERAL PRACTICE” has been defined yet. I hope it will be defined. I want it to be defined before we launch the rocket not after (or ever). Maybe this is where the conversation can go. Sandy? NCB members? What is the difference between the NCETM and NCAP? Why should I take the NCAP?

    Thanks for your participation in the discussion. Many are reading but not posting. Please post, your energy is needed. We have a “long row to hoe”.

    I hope Mother’s day was great for your Mom. I had brunch with mine and then drove to G’vile to have dinner with my mother-in-law. It was a great day.
    If you are a MOM, Happy Mother’s Day! P>

  5. Advanced is easy
    The massage community is sometimes isolated and lacks information about is currently being used by other professions for many of the same struggles we are sorting through now. Pete on Laura Allen’s blog asked me about the nature of advanced assessment. Following is one method of determining the stages of learning and well as the stages of experience. Blooms Taxonomy has been used since the 1950’s. A few years ago respected colleague Whitney Lowe was present information about Blooms. Advanced or as the position statements description – generalized measurement beyond licensure is a general progress of formal, education, self learning and experience. It all begins at entry level or foundational education. So while not perfect the MTBOK is certainly more than close enough to define this foundation. The educational process in entry level education follows a circular path through the first three levels of Blooms. For 26 years, I have taught entry level education at my school and for 17 years provided an environment for advanced level education which interestingly I call Advanced practitioner. I also write textbooks for entry level and advance level education. In my classes and in those textbooks the student and the instructional support staff should see a progression in the ability understand and use the information. Entry level is really hard and overwhelming. There is a ton of language, skills and learning and thinking skills to learn. I believe the profession does not support a strong enough foundation in our current approach to entry level education. I sincerely hope that we continue to move forward to build our foundation on rock instead of the sand we are currently on. This being said, ntry level education begins with remembering, then circling back and understanding what was necessary to remember and circling forward to actually use or apply what is understood. This is not a linear process but more like a spiral. At the point of applying in the taxonomy and if the entry level foundational education persisted with teaching and reinforcing critical thinking ( which is really hard, messy and frustration for students and teachers) the entry level graduate is prepared to move to self teaching and integrating additional formal education. Advance begins with applying but being more mature in the application by analyzing , individualizing and justifying. The Justifying and explaining moves to evaluating not only the relevance of information the professional actions and decisions. Advanced is not about learning more stuff. It is about owning the foundation. My definition of an advanced practitioner is an individual that can function appropriately in an outcome based therapeutic setting using what every skills to serve a complex client in a unique and helpful way. This is evaluated in assessment such as the NCAP through the use of case scenarios where based on the information presented the question is answered by using foundational information- ie anatomy, physiology, pathology. Physiological mechanisms of massage benefits, cultural literacy, research literacy critical thinking and finally clinical reasoning to choose the best option offered. Unlike entry level testing these answers cannot be found in textbooks. The facts offered to make the decisions are the decision requires the manipulation of multiple factors and that is what makes someone advanced. This is not a new concept and speaking for myself only but with an active part in the development of the NCAP this is how I see the direction of the certification.
    The concept of advanced assessment is not new for NCB. I have sat on committees for years working on figuring this out.

    Blooms Taxonomy.

    The six levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, from lowest to highest, are: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
    Remembering: can the student recall or remember the information? define, duplicate, list, memorize, recall, repeat, reproduce state
    Understanding: can the student explain ideas or concepts? classify, describe, discuss, explain, identify, locate, recognize, report, select, translate, paraphrase
    Applying: can the student use the information in a new way? choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write.
    Analyzing: can the student distinguish between the different parts? appraise, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.
    Evaluating: can the student justify a stand or decision? appraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, evaluate
    Creating: can the student create new product or point of view? assemble, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, write.
    Michael Pohl’s Website about Bloom’s Taxonomy

  6. I can think of two different models of “advanced”. The first is the Dreyfus model of progression from novice to expert, summarized here and here. Patricia Benner et al. have used this extensively in the book Expertise in Nursing Practice; a book I highly recommend. There is also the original report that Stuart and Hubert Dreyfus wrote for the Air Force.

    The second model, and I think one highly tied to health care credibility, is competence management, what the practitioner is trained for and expected to be competent in following licensure, “advanced” certification, or specialty certification. One aspect of this is the use of a practitioner competence profile and the finer-grain tracking of achieved competencies being developed for health care by the Medbiquitous consortium. Read the “about us” page and the scopes of the various working groups, including competencies, learning objects, professional profiles. Currently, licensure guarantees little in the way of common outcome competencies (or knowledge, skills, and abilities). The MTBOK has fallen well short of resolving this failure.

  7. First, I would like to thank all of you for sharing your thoughts and comments. I am proud to serve a profession that feels so passionately about the work that it does.

    NCBTMB has read AFMTE’s position paper and it is clear that a great deal of thought went into the document. It reminded me, however, that people sometimes forget our mission is to “define and advance the highest standards in the massage therapy and bodywork profession.” One way we do that is through our exam programs, which have provided the profession and those who regulate it with psychometrically sound means of testing for entry-level competency for 19 years… and will continue to do so.

    But there are many other ways that NCB strives to advance – and protect – the profession. There is the school compliance initiative, which helps to fight prostitution and human trafficking in the massage community. The ethics program, which investigates and sanctions practitioners who do not uphold NCB’s strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. The advanced practice credential, which is being developed by volunteer subject matter experts, with direction provided by the profession.

    NCB understands it is critical to solicit input from the profession on major initiatives and issues. Most recently, we did this by inviting thought leaders from across the country to participate in the Massage Approved Provider Panel – including representatives from ABMP, AMTA, COMTA, FSMTB and NCCAOM, as well as state board members, approved providers, school administrators and certificants.

    As a group, these individuals came together in a spirit of unity with the goal of helping redefine the national AP/CE program to benefit the profession. We are pleased to say the meeting was a great success. We will be incorporating the collaborative efforts into the new model of this program and look forward to sharing it with you in the near future.

    Similarly, the advanced practice exam (NCAP) reflects input from across the massage community. The needs assessment survey showed that an advanced credential should not focus on specific modalities or practice settings, but should represent mastery of a higher level of knowledge and skills. The next step for NCB is the development of specialty certifications.

    Nothing is more important to the profession than free and open dialogue – on these issues and all others. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me directly at plindamood@ncbtmb.org or Chair Alexa Zaledonis at azaledonis@ncbtmb.org.

    Paul Lindamood

  8. Keith- Thanks for posting about model to measure the concept of advanced practice. The Dreyfus model lines up well with Blooms taxonomy and lends itself to competency measurement using a rubric or similar assessment process.. The MTBOK document was not meant to go as far as development of competencies, learning objects and so forth but in a wonderful role for the Alliance and what will be a major contribution to the profession has a committee working on this.

  9. Yes, Keith I too enjoyed the links. They were very informative. We’re having a conference call about the MTBOK line-by-line review tomorrow with Stan Dawson, Becky Blessing, Sandy and myself. Hopefully we can give constructive feedback about MTBOK so we can have another great discussion! Want to talk about Government Relations after that? I’m going to bed early tonight… I promise. P>

  10. Sandy Fritz • The older I get the more I realize that like Cherie ongoing reevaluation of focus and intent is an important part of being a leader. As leaders we need to work together for the future of this profession, learn from the past and hopefully keep our own personal agendas in check. Like Laura has said many times we are humans and not perfect but that,s OK if we can agree to work together and when necessary say- whoa- hey lets take a better look at that. We need a profession wide strategic plan as Emmanuel Bistas suggested and professionally facilitated meeting of the organization and experts in the field. Joes comments about how our profession is bless with 2 membership organizations, two tests and so forth make it confusing. Well at least there is choice and all I would ask is some cooperation with the various meeting schedules at least trying to overlap to help those trying to be involved but may not have the time or finances to travel all over the country to a bunch of meetings. Wow, how wonderful it would be to have one meeting with all represented– oh well back to reality but not before I at least mention the Massage Therapy Foundation which is wonderful.. Angela Palmier talked about the problem with choosing sides and as Joseph Muscolino I was hoping that the AFMTE would be different and not take “sides.” There is so much for the AFMTE to do that involves sorting out and untangling educational issues there is no time nor a reason to do this. Thanks Stan for recalling the vision of the Alliance and indicate that the Alliance board may need to re-examine our vision and re-focus. I read Paul Lindamood, CEO of the NCBTMB, response on Laura” blog and saw the comment about the current certification exam as an ongoing option being offered. It was a little prickly “Testing for entry-level competency for 19 years… and will continue to do so” . If we are going to work together we need to watch the innuendo. I suggest that the NCB again post on their website the whole history of the NCAP and provide more information about the intentions of the exam to clear up confusion. Again as Laura said on her blog one person or group does not need to fail for another to succeed, And ya got to appreciate Keith Eric Grant.

  11. I absolutely do appreciate Keith Eric Grant! And the rest of the folks who are talking about this and the other issues facing us. We can’t live in a vacuum and we can’t ever solve anything by refusing to sit down at the table together and discuss solutions, or by refusing to hear the other person’s opinion and respecting their right to have it.

    As I reported in my previous blog on the NCB’s MAAP meeting, it was suggested there that ALL the organizations come together for a meeting. As long as the atmosphere pervades that “you can’t come to our meeting” and “we won’t come to your meeting,” how can we expect anything other than disharmony and confusion to reign?

    The MTBOK started out with support and input from all the organizations and the opportunity for the troops to comment. It has been picked apart and criticized to death! Where is any applause for the volunteers who worked on it? As I’ve stated previously, I personally took the opportunity that was offered to make many comments on it and I feel pretty certain that most of the people commenting here did the same. I didn’t think it was perfect and agree that it still isn’t, but it did start out with everyone being offered the opportunity to participate.

    The NCBTMB conducted a JTA survey http://www.ncbtmb.org/pdf/Advanced_Practice_JTA_Survey_Results.pdf prior to starting this advanced certification process. Almost 10,000 therapists participated. Let us not forget to pay attention to what the working massage therapists had to say about it. The history of the project is talked about in the document, which was prepared by Pearson Vue.

  12. I will make one more post and then retire back to writing. I am very glad to read all these comments and wonderful opinions, and I am glad that there is a forum for this interchange. I agree with many things that many people have said, and disagree with a few. I will largely say that aside from believing that one aspect of an advanced exam could and should be advanced “knowledge,” I do agree that to the extent it is feasible to test for higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, it should be a hallmark of the NCAP. Otherwise, you can pretty much take everything Sandy has said and put my name next to it.

    I responded with my concern about the criticism about the NCB because I have been involved with the NCB in the past, both on the exam committee and on the CE committee. I have seen that they are exhaustingly thorough about soliciting input from the community in venues such as the JTA. In fact, I feel they overdo it, but from listening to some of the comments here, perhaps not. I fully realize that the NCB has shot themselves in the foot many many times over the years, but I can also say that the vast majority of what they try to do is honorable and serves the profession very well, and served the profession very well. Much of licensure that is in existence today is due to their efforts. Now, we are at a different place and are separating certification from licensure. I support this. AND, being a realist, I realize that without the exam for initial licensure, the NCB will quickly lose so much revenue that they might not be in existence to be able to create advanced certification exams. It is for this reason that I have wanted them to move MORE quickly. The NCB has been debating what defines “advanced” for a good 5-10 years already. I know that we will never ALL agree, but I hope that the entire community steps in to support what they do. Yes, they should be as transparent with their process as possible, just as I would want every organization to be transparent. But I hope we support this endeavor.


  13. It is important that you chimed in Joe. I also like to work behind the scenes and like you and many others do much more of that than most realize. However sometimes it is important to take a public position like those that have been active in this and other discussions. I find it really a kick that we are using Laura’s blog as the platform. Thanks Laura. Linked in is covering it as well. I also feel the same as Laura about the MTBOK. I think the stewards and Chip Hines did a fantastic job. Keven Pierce continues to explain the process. I have read through that document so many times I think I have it memorized. It only really needs a bit a tweaking in spite of all the criticism. Instead of the critical response lets get on with the tweaking and appreciate the dedicated effort of those that dedicated their time. The Alliance is actually and appropriately doing that so good for them.

  14. As a NY State Licensed Massage Therapist, I long ago stopped renewing my NCBTMB credentials. I considered the initial test to be laughably easy as compared to the NY State Licensing Test. Even my school’s (Swedish Institute) finals were more difficult.
    In NY there is real value to having the NCBTMB credentials for entry level massage testing.

    If they were to consider awarding very advanced level certification, I would be interested.

    Be Well,
    Denise W

  15. Will any advanced practitioner certification bring more money to the massage therapist or only the organization? Or, is it the individual massage specialties that bring the level of revenue. Without curriculum changes the same old job avenues will prevail and at lessor pay with the massage franchises. Too many conflicts in the field. Is it a trade? A profession? A health care profession? The more that massage textbooks have hit the market the less emphasize on skill importance and massage therapists only make money when manually working.

  16. A powerful share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If potential, as you turn into expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is extremely useful for me. Big thumb up for this blog put up!

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