Massage Certification ExamsTo practice massage therapy most states require a practicing massage therapist to be certified. Even if your state does not require certification, you will find it worthwhile to invest time and effort in massage certification first. There are three major exams for massage therapists in the US, and each has distinctive emphases.
3 Major Massage Certification Exams
NCETMThe NCETM exam is the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage. It contains 160 questions derived from a study of massage therapists every five years. For this reason, the test is always fairly current with the most recent massage techniques and law. The test is dividend in the following categories:
- 25 questions on body systems
- 42 questions on anatomy, physiology or Kinesiology
- 18 questions on pathology
- 30 questions on massage assessment
- 35 questions on massage and body work application
- 10 questions on business, ethics, and legal requirements
NCETMBThe NCETMB exam is almost identical to the NCETM, except that it is concerned with bodywork in addition to massage therapy. The categories of questions are the same, with a few extra questions on body systems and therapeutic massage assessment.
MBLExAnother certification option is the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination or MBLEx. The exam has 125 multiple choice questions and must be completed in 2.5 hours. The exam is broken down as follows:
- 20 questions on client assessment and treatment plans
- 20 questions on the benefits and results of techniques
- 15 questions on pathology
- 5 questions on massage history
- 15 questions on ethics and laws
- 11 questions on professional practice
- 12 questions on kinesiology
- 16 questions on anatomy.
Massage Exam PreparationThere are many different courses designed to prepare you for these tests, most of which are available online. Some of these are quite helpful, and it is a good idea to invest in at least one.
Recommended Massage Exam PreparationThe best preparation is through massage therapy classes and practical experience. If you know your subject well and understand the reasons for what you do, these exams should not be a challenge.
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Which States Accept Which Exams?The majority of states accept either MBLEx or NCETMB certification. The states that require a specific exam all use the NCETMB except for Arkansas (MBLEx). A good number of states also require a specific state exam and graduation from an accredited school. A few states have no requirements at all, but this is likely to change as the industry continues to grow.
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