Massage Therapy Certification Breakdown

Below is information about the two different certification tests offered by the NCBTMB organization. You will have to take the NCETM or NCETMB to become certified in most states.

NCETM

In order to become licensed to perform therapeutic massage services, individuals must pass the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork has developed this exam in order to standardize the status and credibility of the profession, and to ensure that high standards of practice are maintained.

The NCETM exam contains material from the following content areas:

  • general knowledge of body systems (14%)
  • detailed knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology (26%)
  • pathology (14%)
  • therapeutic massage assessment (16%)
  • therapeutic massage application (24%)
  • professional standards, ethics, business and legal practices (6%)

The test is composed of multiple-choice questions, with four possible answers. In order to take this exam, a candidate must have received 500 hours of supervised instruction and graduated from an accredited school.

The NCETM exam is taken on a computer, and unofficial exam results are immediately available to the candidate after completion. The score will be a verdict of pass or fail; in the event of a failing score, the candidate will receive a diagnostic report so that he or she will know where improvement is needed. This test is administered by Thomson Prometric throughout the year at locations around the country; prospective test-takers can register at the Prometric website.

NCETMB

In order to become licensed to perform therapeutic massage and bodywork services, individuals must pass the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork has developed this exam in order to standardize the status and credibility of the profession, and to ensure that high standards of practice are maintained.

The NCETMB exam contains material from the following content areas:

  • general knowledge of body systems (16%)
  • detailed knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology (26%)
  • pathology (12%)
  • therapeutic massage assessment (18%)
  • therapeutic massage application (22%)
  • professional standards, ethics, business and legal practices (6%)

In order to take this exam, a candidate must have received 500 hours of supervised instruction and graduated from an accredited school. The NCETMB exam is taken on a computer, and unofficial exam results are immediately available to the candidate after completion. The score will be a verdict of pass or fail; in the event of a failing score, the candidate will receive a diagnostic report so that he or she will know where improvement is needed. This test is administered by Thomson Prometric throughout the year at locations around the country; prospective test-takers can register at the Prometric website.


Click Here for NCBTMB Practice Test

by Enoch Morrison | Last Updated: January 9, 2019