Therapist are regulated state by state. Each state regulates requirements,
credentials, education and accreditation for each massage therapist looking
to become a licensed massage therapist. Below is some resource information
to help you become more familiar with becoming a licensed massage therapist.
Therapist State Requirements:
different states have different regulations around licensed massage therapist.
The same state could also have regulations impacting massage therapy but
not other forms of bodywork. As the regulation of licensed massage therapy
and bodywork changes, you can anticipate the continued evolution of credential
acronyms. Check your current state requirements for licensed massage therapist
as well as other bodyworkers and cross reference it with your massage
The credential acronyms that suffix practitioners names are numerous.
A Massage Therapist (MT) is used to generally refer to massage therapists.
Therapists practicing in states that do not regulate massage may not need
official credentials and use MT to indicate their craft. Registered Massage
Therapist (RMT) is used by therapist that practice in a state that requires
them to register with the health department and pass a written or practical
examination. Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) is used by therapists practicing
in states that require a license. The licenser defines the scope of the
therapists practice. To become a licensed massage therapist a therapist
must prove a level of education and or other requirements. Therapists
can also be certified by either governmental or private agencies. There
are also numerous certification agents in bodywork. The NCE, National
Certification Exam is used by many states to determine applicants competence
on becoming a licensed massage therapist. The NCTMB, National Certification
Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork , is an independent, private,
and nonprofit organization will offered 3 levels of certification by the
end of 2003. NCTMB indicates certification as an entry level massage therapist.
NCTM-A offers a distinction for massage therapists that have shown an
advanced level of knowledge and competence in massage. NCTMB is a more
encompassing certification that covers the larger bodywork scope.
Licensed Massage Therapist Education / Accreditation:
The quality of education in massage therapy and bodywork varies dramatically.
Two massage accrediting agents are COMTA and IMSTAC. Commission on Massage
Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) is an independent accrediting commission
of massage therapy education institutions and programs and is affiliated
with the American Massage Therapy Association . In 2002, COMTA became
the only accrediting licensed massage therapy and bodywork agency recognized
by the US Department of Education. Among other things, this offers Title
IV (federal funding and financial aid) eligibility. A second agency is
the IMSTAC, Integrative Massage and Somatic Therapies Accreditation Council
which is a division of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.