Massage Therapy: The difference between Licensed, Registered, Certified, Nationally Certified, and Board Certified

Being Board Certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) is truly an honor. I am so pleased to announce that my National Certification (NCTMB) has been transitioned upward into a Board Certification in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (BCTMB)! This means I have mastered and exceeded the core requirements of being a Massage & Bodywork Therapist. Read on to learn more!

The difference between Licensed, Registered, Certified, Nationally Certified, and Board Certified

Now many of you may be wondering what the difference is between Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), Certified Massage Therapist (CMT), Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCTMB) and Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (BCTMB). Let me break it down for you!

LMT, RMT, and CMT are State licenses that Massage Therapists are required to possess to legally practice massage in their respective States, usually requiring a minimum of 500 hours of training and no continuing education. Every state has a different name for this license and different regulations so check with your State Occupational Department for more information. For example, the State of Colorado refers to licensed therapists as Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) while the State of California refers to theirs as Certified Massage Therapists (CMT). Both therapists are allowed to practice in their respective state with their respective title.

National Certification (NCTMB) and Board Certification (BCTMB) on the other hand are voluntary designations and show a Massage & Bodywork Therapist’s commitment to be an excellent, skilled, knowledgeable provider of the highest quality services in their area. Key differences are that National Certification requires a minimum of 500 hours of training (equivalent to most state licensing requirements) while Board Certification requires CPR certification and a minimum of 750 hours of training; both require continuing education.

NCTMB is being replaced with BCTMB

Recently the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) decided to transition from National Certification to Board Certification; meaning the National Certification title NCTMB is being phased out and replaced with the Board Certification title BCTMB. This creates a strong network of highly trained therapists that are easily identified within the community as experienced providers of massage & bodywork therapy.

What shall I call myself?

I myself am a Colorado Registered Massage Therapist (RMT, but prefer to use LMT, I love the way Licensed Massage Therapist sounds!) and am Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (BCTMB). I also hold Professional Massage Therapy & Master Bodyworker degrees from Utah College of Massage Therapy, Certifications in Reiki, Professional Membership to the National Association of Complimentary & Alternative Medicines, and am in the process of completing Certified Clinical Master Aromatherapist school!

More Information

If you have more questions about licensing for Massage & Bodywork Therapists please check with your State Occupational Department or ask your Therapist for more information. For more information on National Certification and Board Certification please visit www.ncbtmb.org

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About Mariah

Owner of Gaia Essentia Ltd., Master Bodyworker, Certified Reiki Practitioner, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Clinical Master Aromatherapist in-training, Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, and Professional Member of the National Association of Complimentary and Alternative Medicines. Loves meditation, yoga, bicycling, photography, and dancing.
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