I just learned that I have successfully jumped through all the hoops on my way to becoming board certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork.
Board certification is a voluntary credential that means:
- I took an exam and became nationally certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork.
- I have received over 750 hours of approved massage and bodywork training.
- I have over 250 hours of work experience in massage and bodywork.
- I passed a national background check.
- I maintain CPR certification.
- I agree to uphold standards of practice and a code of ethics.
- I oppose human trafficking.
Other professions that offer board certification, considered a stamp of excellence above and beyond the minimum entry requirements in a field, include other health-related professions such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and psychologists.
Given that some states have zero requirements for people to practice massage therapy professionally (while others require 1,000 hours of training), and also that “massage” still means massage parlors and happy endings in some corners of our world, this is a way to raise the standards and signify a degree of competence.
I got started on this path by choosing to take the NCETMB exam instead of the MBLEx when I was finishing massage school. In Texas and in most states at that time, massage therapy students had to pass either of those tests to get their licenses. The MBLEx was considered easier and was cheaper. Passing the NCETMB exam, which included bodywork questions, resulted in my becoming nationally certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork.
Now the NCETMB is no longer considered an entry-level exam, leaving only the MBLEx in most states. Massage therapists who pass the totally voluntary NCETMB exam and meet the other requirements become board certified. I transitioned from national to board certification by meeting the other requirements, since I’d passed the exam previously.
Actually, although I’ve achieved this, in many ways I’m still a relative beginner. There are many massage therapists who have more training and experience, who may have taken another exam to get licensed (or none), who have full, successful practices based solely on their skills and word of mouth.
The hands-on work means a lot. A credential is just a piece of paper with words on it. Providing massage and bodywork is my bread and butter, my livelihood, my service to the world, my 10,000-hours endeavor. With experience, my hands and mind make more and more connections between your body and anatomy pictures, between what teachers and books have said and what I experience with you on the table, between this place in your body and that place in your body, and between your being, my being, and those mysterious healing energies.
There is simply no end to the learning, which keeps me fascinated and on my toes.
If you’re in Austin, I invite you to check out my website and see if there is a service I offer that you’d like to experience. Then book an appointment online, and I will meet you at my studio to explore how massage and bodywork can amplify your well-being.
MaryAnn Reynolds, MS, LMT, BCTMB