(Fort Pierce, Florida – November 3, 2014) – As a representative of the community of continuing education (CE) providers, and schools that sponsor CE at their institutions, the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) has maintained a position that there needs to be a single national-level approval process for CE providers and courses.
A decision last month by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) to “implement a program that provides reliable, unbiased and appropriate vetting of continuing education providers and the classes offered to the consuming public” is of deep concern to our organization and its members. The Federation’s action completely ignored the largest existing CE approval program in our profession, administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB), and that is utilized in whole or part by 27 state massage regulatory agencies.
Adding another administrative process to the mix will not improve public protection, but it would needlessly increase the cost and burden to CE providers and sponsors who already face redundant requirements with the NCBTMB program and a number of state boards that have their own CE approval programs.
Instead of creating a new and duplicative approval system for CE providers and courses, AFMTE strongly recommends that FSMTB partner with NCBTMB to be able to utilize their well-established Approved CE Provider Program which will better serve the needs of FSMTB and their Member Boards. AFMTE believes consolidation of this key function will be beneficial to all who are involved with the provision, approval, regulation and utilization of continuing education in our profession. A cooperative model, grounded in a legal agreement and with collective oversight of the program, will also resolve the problem of Improper Delegation of Authority that state boards currently have with their use of NCBTMB’s Approved CE Provider Program.
Having consistent standards is one of the hallmarks of a full-fledged profession. Several years ago, the AFMTE endorsed the Massage & Bodywork Therapy Examination (MBLEx) offered by FSMTB as the optimal single-source exam for our field. We encourage the FSMTB and NCBTMB to finalize an agreement whereby NCBTMB will cease to offer its examinations for licensure purposes in favor of the MBLEx.
This is also the opportune time to consolidate state and national CE approval processes as well. AFMTE stands ready to work with both FSMTB and NCBTMB to ensure that a single-source CE approval program is created and administered that meets the needs of all stakeholder groups. We see this as a balanced and mutually-beneficial solution that will advance the profession.