NCBTMB Will No Longer Offer Licensing Exams

At the recent Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) Annual Meeting, it was announced that the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork will no longer be offering or accepting licensure exam applications as of November 1, 2014, and will cease offering licensure exams effective February 1, 2015. These exams used for licensing include the:

  • National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB)
  • National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage (NCETM)
  • The National Exam for State Licensing (NESL) was discontinued when NCBTMB started issuing “Board Certification.”

Moving forward, there will be only one licensing exam in the profession—the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) offered by the FSMTB. NCBTMB will instead focus on voluntary certification programs only. ABMP believes this is a huge and exciting change for the profession, as it decreases confusion and facilitates licensure portability for therapists.

Looking for the best MBLEx exam study tool in the profession? Check out ABMP Exam Coach!

How Does This Affect You? This change does not affect anyone who is already state-licensed. Your state license is mandatory; NCBTMB certification has always been voluntary. If you took one of the above-mentioned exams to qualify for your state license, continue to renew your license and you should not be affected by this change. If you were to move to a different state, most states currently accept passage of either the MBLEx or NCBTMB exams, so it should not be an issue. If you are a student or recent graduate and you have already applied and paid the fee to take one of the exams other than the MBLEx, take the exam as scheduled. The NCBTMB will not be giving refunds, and passing the exam will still allow you to qualify for your massage license. Just make sure you take the exam by the cutoff date—January 31, 2015. If you are a student or recent graduate and you have not applied, paid the fee, or scheduled to take an exam yet, make plans to take the MBLEx instead. There is comprehensive information about the MBLEx at The only state that requires a license but does not accept the MBLEx is Connecticut. ABMP expects Connecticut to adopt an emergency rule to accept the MBLEx as soon as it is possible for them to do so. In the meantime, students and graduates in Connecticut can still take the above-mentioned exams. ABMP has always supported the MBLEx as the only licensing exam for the profession, so we are excited about this announcement. We also support the NCBTMB and their mission to advance the profession through certification and look forward to seeing what the future holds.




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