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November 28, 2008

New Licensing Exam

I found an article that North Carolina is adopting a new state licensing exam that can be used along side or instead of the National Certification Exam. Maybe some of you already know about this, and, if so, then I'm a bit behind the times. There is a new licensing board called the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) that was established in 2005 from a former alliance of the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).

The mission of the Federation is to support its Member Boards in their work to ensure that the practice of massage therapy is provided to the public in a safe and effective manner.

Interestingly, it wasn't long after this that the National Certification of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCTMB) revamped their entry level exam to test massage therapy alone, created another exam to certify bodyworkers, and had a third "advanced" exam, much like the original, that tested both.

So what is going on here? Was the revamp of NCTMB's exam a reaction to the formation of FSMTB? Is NCTMB seen as a tool of the AMTA that moved the bodywork community to formulate another national licensing exam? Is it ethical for an alliance that springs from a professional association to create a national licensure exam? What was wrong with NCTMB's exam that they felt the need to create a new exam with the intent to "protect the public?"

According to the FSMTB website, formation of the Federation addresses the following issues:
* the need for consistent scopes of practice and entry level standards across the country
* the need for a valid and reliable licensing exam that would be accepted by all jurisdictions
* the need for a common database with licensing and disciplinary information and the ability to store critical documents

The concerns of most significance were the need for the provision of a valid and reliable licensing exam and the desire to bring commonality in licensing requirements to assist with reciprocity and professional mobility.

Sigh. Call me naive, but why can't we all just get along? The continued fracturing of the profession into different camps only serves to weaken the industry as a whole and slow our forward advancement into a level of professionalism that other health care professionals expect. Not only that is confuses the very people who we seek to protect: our clients.

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Posted by linda at November 28, 2008 8:57 AM

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