National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM) is a certification offered by National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). It is a credential developed for massage practitioners in United States.
There are three pathways by which a candidate can be eligible to take the test-
- Education: – The applicant must have completed 500 hours of therapeutic massage training from a school recognized by NCBTMB. This training program must contain at least 300 hours of theoretical instructions (class room or distant education) and 200 hours of hands on practice. The program must have 200 hours of instructions on bodywork assessment, application and theory; at least 125 hours of instruction on body systems; 40 hours on pathology; 10 hours on business and ethics (including 6 hours on ethics); and 125 hours on a specialized area complementing the training program.
- Portfolio review: – If the applicant has attended a training program outside United States or not attended a formal training program, he/she has to submit a portfolio. Then, NCBTMB judges whether the training acquired by the applicant is equivalent to 500 hours formal training or not.
- NESL option: – The applicants can choose National Examination for State Licensing (NESL) option if he/she has not gone through any training program or not graduated yet. By this option, the applicant can take the test on a condition that within two years period from passing this exam, he/she will a) fulfill 500 hours requirement, b) complete his/her graduation, and c) follow codes of ethics set by NCBTMB.
The content covered in this exam is divided into following six sections: -
General Knowledge of Body Systems: – Integumentary system, Muscular system, Endocrine system, Reproductive system, Urinary system, Skeletal system, Nervous system, Gastrointestinal system, Cardiovascular system, Respiratory system, Lymphatic system, Medical terminology.
Knowledge of Anatomy, Physiology, and Kinesiology: – Anatomical position and terminology, muscle attachments, Muscle fiber direction, Muscle groups, Connective tissue, Tendons, Bursae, Joint structure, Ligaments, Dermatomes, Basic nutrition, Relaxation response, Response of the body to stress, Mind body connection, Reciprocal inhibition, Types of muscle contraction, Postural alignment, Movement patterns, Proprioception, Actions of individual muscles, Actions of muscle group, joint movements.
Pathology: – Etiology of disease, Terminology, signs and symptoms of disease, Effects of physical and emotional abuse and trauma, Effects of life stages, Modes of contagious disease transmission, Psychological and emotional states, Physiological healing process, Factors that aggravate disease, Principles of acute vs. chronic conditions, Indications and cautions, Aspects of serious illness, Drug interaction with bodywork and massage, Approaches used in western medicine by other health professionals.
Therapeutic Massage Assessment: – Assessment methods (palpatory, visual, energetic, auditory, intuitive, olfactory), Assessment areas, Somatic holding patterns, Effects of gravity, Assessing range of motion, Posture analysis, Proprioception, Ergonomic factors, Integration of assessment findings.
Therapeutic Massage Application: – Effect and benefits of massage, Mind body principles, Principles of holistic approach, Client draping, Positional support techniques, Stress management, Relation techniques, Hydrotherapy application, Use of massage tools, Self care activities, Static touch and holding, Joint movement techniques, Techniques/strokes, gauging pressure as appropriate, Stretching, Practitioner body mechanics, First aid, standard precautions.
Professional Standards, Business, Ethics, and Legal Practice: – Professional boundaries, Methods for effective communication, Client interviewing techniques, Verbal and nonverbal communication skills, Principles of confidentiality, Codes of ethics and practice standards, Legal and ethical parameters of scope of practice, Client record keeping practices, Planning strategies, Basic business and accounting practices, Professional affiliations, Liability insurance requirements, State and local credentialing requirements, Legal entities.
There are 160 multiple choice questions in this test. A time of 2 hours and 40 minutes is given to complete the exam. NCETM is administered as a computer based test.
The result of this exam is a “Pass” or “Fail”. The result is reported to examinees immediately after the test. The results are transferred to NCBTMB from Pearson within 48 hours. The certificates to successful candidates are available in 2 to 3 weeks from exam passing date. The certificate remains valid for 4 years period.
The candidates can apply for this exam through a paper application or online. Once found eligible by NCBTMB, they have to schedule a test appointment with Pearson. The failed candidates can reapply for the exam within 3 months of previous testing.
The exam fee of NCETM is $225. The exam fee for NESL option is $175.