National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB) is certification offered by National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). The objective of this exam is credentialing of massage and bodywork professionals for safe and standardized practice.
The applicants are considered eligible if they are able to satisfy anyone of the following conditions: -
- Education: – The applicant must have gone through a formal 500 hours training in therapeutic massage and bodywork from a school recognized by NCBTMB. This program must include 300 hours of theoretical instructions and 200 hours of hand on practice. The program must contain 200 hours of instructions on bodywork assessment, application and theory; 40 hours of instructions on pathology; 125 hours of instruction on body systems; 10 hours on business and ethics (including 6 hours on ethics); and 125 hours on a specialized field complementing the training program.
- Portfolio Review- In case, the applicant has completed a massage training from outside United States or the program attended by applicant is not recognized by NCBTMB, he/she can submit his/her portfolio. NCBTMB judges whether the training taken by candidate is equivalent to its accredited formal 500 hours massage and bodywork training.
- NESL option: – Those applicants, who have not gone through any training program or not graduated yet, can choose National Examination for State Licensing (NESL) option. By this option, the applicant can take NCETMB test on a condition that, within two years period from passing this exam, he/she will a) satisfy 500 hours requirement, b) complete his/her graduation, and c) follow codes of ethics set by NCBTMB.
NCETMB exam is breakdown into following content areas: -
General knowledge of body systems (16% of test): – Skeletal system, Urinary system, Gastrointestinal system, Nervous system, Lymphatic system, Integumentary system, Muscular system, Endocrine system, Respiratory system, Cardiovascular system, Energetic system, Reproductive system, medical terminology.
Knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology (19% of test): – Anatomical position, Muscle attachments, Anatomical terminology, Individual muscles/ muscle groups, Tendons, Muscle fibre direction, Joint structure, Connective tissue, Bursae, Primary and extraordinary meridians, Ligaments, Dermatomes, Mind-body connections, Response of body to stress, Relaxation response, Basic principles of nutrition, Reciprocal inhibition, Actions of individual muscles, Joint movement, Types of muscle contraction, Movement patterns, Postural alignment, Proprioception.
Pathology (13% of test): – Terminology, symptoms and signs of disease, Etiology of disease, Effects of life stages, Modes of contagious disease transmission, Psychological and emotional states, Factors that aggravate disease, Indications and cautions, Effects of physical and emotional abuse and trauma, physiological healing process, Aspects of terminal illness, Principles of chronic versus acute conditions, Drug interaction with massage and bodywork, Approaches used in Asian medicine, Approaches used in western medicine.
Therapeutic massage and bodywork assessment (18% of test): – Assessment methods, Assessment areas, Range of motion, Posture analysis, Effects of gravity, Somatic holding pattern, Ergonomic factors, integration of assessment findings, Proprioception.
Therapeutic massage and bodywork application (22% of test): – Techniques and strokes (gliding, vibration, compression, shaking, rocking, friction, percussion, kneading), Stretching (active, passive, resistive), Effects and benefits of bodywork and massage, Mind body principles, Principles of holistic practice, Client draping, Positional support techniques, Stress management and relaxation techniques, Hydrotherapy application, Use of massage and bodywork tools, Self care activities for the client to maintain health, Joint movement techniques, Gauging pressure as appropriate, Static touch/holding, Standard precautions, Practitioner body mechanics, CPR/First aid.
Professional standards, Ethics, Business and Legal practices (12% of test): – Client interviewing techniques, Legal entities, Professional boundaries, Communication with other health professionals, Verbal and nonverbal communication skills, When to refer clients, Legal and ethical parameters of scope of practice, NCBTMB Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, Planning strategies for single and multiple sessions, Principles of confidentiality, Basic business and accounting practices, Client record keeping practices, Professional affiliations, Liability insurance requirements, State and local credentialing requirements.
This exam is in objective format consisting of 160 multiple choice items. It is administered on computers at authorized test centers of Pearson. The exam has to be completed in 2 hours and 40 minutes.
The result of this test is indicated as “Pass” or “Fail”. The result is reported to candidates just after exam is completed and sent to NCBTMB by Pearson in 2 days. It takes 2 to 3 weeks from exam passing date, to receive the certificate. The unsuccessful candidates can re-apply for this exam within 3 months period. The certification remains valid for 4 years period.
The candidates can apply for NCETMB exam online or by submitting a paper application. They have to schedule a test appointment with Pearson after being approved to take the exam.
The examination fee of NCETMB is $225 and fee on NESL option is $175.