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Massage Therapy Continuing Education

Massage Therapy Continuing Education

Massage Therapy Continuing Education Explained

Massage therapy continuing education programs are necessary in order to maintain standards among practitioners of therapeutic body massage, but some therapists are required to participate in a number of courses to renew their licenses. Therapists who take part in these programs earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to fulfill licensing requirements.

Whether or not a massage therapist must participate in a continuing education (CE) program depends on the state where they practice. Some states may leave licensing and CE requirements up to the city or county licensing board. One CEU is equal to 10 'contact hours;' a CE 'contact hour' is considered 50 minutes of educational time.


The requirements for massage continuing therapy education credits also depend on whether or not the therapist is certified through a particular organization. The well-established National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) has certain CE requires that all NCBTMB certified therapists must meet.

The NCBTMB requires every massage therapist to achieve 50 contact hours from an accredited massage therapy program along with a minimum of 200 hours of work experience within a four year period. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has similar requirements; certified members must maintain 48 hours within a four year period.

The NCBTMB divides its approved programs into two classifications. Category A credits are offered by NCBTMB approved providers. This can include conferences, seminars, classes, workshops and home study, and must constitute at least 50 percent of the therapist's required CE hours. Category B credits are given by providers who are recognized by the NCBTMB, but not formally accredited as programs. This can include any teaching or published work by the therapist. The AMA also uses the NCBTMB accreditation system.

Some good resources for massage therapy continuing education programs:

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) is the nationally recognized certifying board. They supply a large amount of pertinent information for massage therapists at www.ncbtmb.com.

The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) represents 'more than 51,000 massage therapists in 27 countries' and their website at www.amtamassage.org provides everything from certification to public education.

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals is another certifying membership organization that provides information on accredited massage therapy programs and schools. Find them at www.abmp.com.