Board Certification FAQs

How to Become Board Certified

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    What are the Board Certification requirements?

    To become Board Certified, you must meet or exceed the following requirements: If you are practicing in a licensed state:

    • Verification of current massage therapy state license
    • Passing score on the Board Certification Exam
    • Pass a criminal background check
    • Agree to uphold NCBTMB’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics

    If you are practicing in a state without state licensure:

    • Graduation from a NCBTMB Assigned School*
    • Passing score on the Board Certification Exam
    • Pass a criminal background check
    • Agree to uphold NCBTMB’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics

    The cost to apply for Board Certification is $275 *If you did not graduate from a NCBTMB Assigned School, your school is now closed, or you completed international training, you may instead apply for Board Certification via Portfolio Review.  Please access the Board Certification Handbook here. **If submitting a transcript with transfer credits, the original transcript where credits were transferred from must be submitted as well.

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    How much does it cost to become Board Certified?

    The cost to become Board Certified is $275.

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    How do I apply to take the Board Certification exam?

    Apply for Board Certification entirely online with these simple steps:

    • Create an account
    • In the “Certification” section on your home page, click the “Apply Now” button in the section for the “Board Certification in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCTMB)”
    • You will then be taken through the application wizard.
    • For more information, click here for the candidate handbook and application checklist.

    Note: Documents are required to be uploaded to this website during this process.  See FAQ How do I upload a document? for assistance if needed.

    That’s it! Contact us at or by calling 1-800-296-0664 with any questions.

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    Is portfolio review available if I don’t have a massage school diploma or other formal massage therapy training?

    Yes! NCBTMB’s Portfolio Review process allows applicants like you to demonstrate you have the educational equivalent to the standard eligibility requirements.

    Click here to consult the Portfolio Review section in the Candidate Handbook for BCETMB.

    To begin, please login or register at the top of the NCBTMB website or contact us at

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    If I take my state required test, does that mean I am certified?

    You must successfully pass the NCBTMB Board Certification Exam, as well as meet the requirements, to become Board Certified.

    Also, it’s important to check with your state or any state you wish to practice in, to verify the appropriate state requirements.

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    How do I know if my school is a NCBTMB Assigned School?

    All Assigned Schools that meet NCBTMB’s requirements have a code they can provide to their students, otherwise known as an Assigned School Code. If you practice in a state without state licensure, you will need your Assigned School Code in order to register and sit for the Board Certification exam.  If you do not know this code, please contact your school’s administration.

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    How do I create an account with NCBTMB

    On our website, click “Create Account” in the upper right.

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    What is NCBTMB’s policy regarding transfer credits?

    NCBTMB will only accept transcripts with transfer credits from NCBTMB Assigned Schools. Credits listed from schools that are not currently approved by NCBTMB, or have been denied or revoked, will not be accepted by NCBTMB for any of its tests or programs.

    When accepting transfer credits, the school must ensure that all courses being transferred are completely covered in the courses that are excused by the school. Transferring hours of education without verifying content will not be accepted.

    A student may attempt to transfer credits from a school that is not approved by NCBTMB; however, when applying for Board Certification, the candidate will have to submit the Portfolio Review Application. NCBTMB will review all education taken.

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    How do I upload a document?
    • There are several ways you can obtain documents to upload some include:
      • Using your scanner and saving to your computer
      • Taking a picture with your mobile device (you can email the document to yourself to save to your computer)
      • Downloading and saving from a website or attachment in an email
    • We recommend saving the document to your desktop for easiest access during the upload process.
    • When you get to a section of the application that requires a document upload, click where it says “Choose File”
    • A box will come up on your computer screen and will show all of your computer’s locations, choose your desktop (or the location where your file is saved), and double click on the file you want to upload.
    • The name of the file will now appear next to the “Choose File” button.
    • Repeat as necessary if multiple documents need to be uploaded.

How to Renew my Board Certification

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    What are the requirements to renew my Board Certification?

    For renewal requirements, click here.

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    How do I renew my Board Certification?

    You can renew your Board Certification entirely online with these simple steps:

    • Log into your account at
    • In the “My Credentials” section on your home page, click the “Certification Details” button on the right side.
    • You will be on your checklist of requirements. At the end of the checklist, click the “Continue” button to go through the steps of your application.

    Note: It is required to upload documents to this website during this process.  Click here for assistance if needed.


    • Renewal Application Fee: $140
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    How much does it cost to renew my Board Certification?

    It costs $140 to renew your Board Certification every two years.

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    Will NCBTMB accept advanced science courses?

    NCBTMB Board Certified Massage Therapists are required to seek out and participate in additional continuing education courses to further advance practitioner skills and competencies, strengthen business skills, enhance modality knowledge and professional ethics, and develop a greater depth of advanced knowledge in order to demonstrate higher standards and skills than entry-level, state-licensed massage therapists.

    It has come to the attention of NCBTMB that several Board Certificants are currently taking more advanced courses. Advanced courses and modalities are important to our profession to further elevate practitioners’ knowledge in science, business, and other realms—but may not necessarily be practiced legally without a trained professional present.

    NCBTMB stands firm that all massage therapists—certified or not—may NOT practice beyond their legal Scope of Practice (as defined by each state/legislation). It is important to note, however, that NCBTMB does encourage massage therapists to further educate themselves in other professions to better understand how to communicate and collaborate with other medical professionals to provide the best possible care for clients. Any massage therapist who wishes to practice other modalities outside of the Massage Therapy Scope of Practice (as defined by each state/legislation) must first attend and successfully graduate from that program.

    To learn more about what NCBTMB will accept regarding advanced science courses, please click here.

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    Why should I renew my Board Certification?

    Board Certification is the highest voluntary credential to ensure all of us, as a profession, live up to the same mission. Certification is well known and accepted throughout different medical professions—massage therapy is no different. In fact, Board Certification is now a requirement to work in many healthcare settings, as well as some high-end spas, across the country.

    As a Board Certified massage therapist, you prove to other medical professionals (and the public!) that you have obtained higher credentials and are more than just an entry-level massage therapist. Credentials matter. You matter!

    To renew your Board Certification, please login to the NCBTMB website using your username and password. If you do not remember your username and password, please email

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    How many CE’s do I need to renew once I am Board Certified?

    For renewal requirements, click here.

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    Why it is essential to take NCBTMB Approved CE Provider courses for Renewal?

    NCBTMB reviews all approved CE provider courses. This helps to ensure that the CE courses MTs take will be within NCBTMB’s acceptable content.  Additionally, CE providers must supply their educational and practical background as well as their teaching experience.  It is also necessary for each instructor to hold a practice pilot course for at least 5 individuals, or had prior formal teaching experience.  These processes will also help to procure a highly qualified educator and overall better educational experience.

    A large percentage of states have NCBTMB written in their CE rules for renewal of licenses.  Massage Therapists like to move around between states, and each state has different educational hourly requirements. So, the NCBTMB approved CE courses may also be applied towards those hourly requirements, if your foundational education needs to be bolstered to obtain licensure in another state.

    Since many states do require the CE courses to be NCBTMB approved, many MTs rely on the NCBTMB website course listings to find their Approved CE Provider courses. It also ensures that any course you complete with an NCBTMB AP will be accepted towards your Board Certification Renewal.

    Lastly, all NCBTMB Approved CE Providers agree to uphold the NCBTMB Approved CE Provider Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.   When spending your time, money, and energy to invest in your professional development, it is wise to make that investment with someone who is also committed to go through, and maintain the processes which establish their credibility as a professional educator.

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    Why is Board Renewal every 2 years?

    With the introduction of Board Certification in 2013, NCBTMB revised its renewal cycle to every 2 years due, in large part, to feedback from Certificants and continuous research. As research leads the way to change within the massage therapy and bodywork profession, the Board felt two years was an appropriate timeframe to ensure Certificants remain up-to-date on the latest techniques, sciences, and advances in the profession. Such a change also meant a more cost-effective price point for Certificants, as well as a more realistic, attainable number of required CEs.

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    How can I be sure the courses I submit with Renewal will be accepted?

    When submitting CE courses toward your Board Renewal, keep in mind the following:

    • All courses must be completed within your eligible two-year Renewal period
    • CE cannot be used multiple times within or across renewal periods and cannot be carried over.  (If you renew late, your CE must be dated after your late renewal approval date)
    • All courses must be through an NCBTMB Approved Provider or accredited college or university
    • The course itself must be approved by NCBTMB (the AP being approved is not enough; check with your AP to ensure the course is also approved)
    • You have the correct AP Number and/or Name to enter on your Application

    If you are unsure of your eligible two-year Renewal period or have any questions about a course, contact us.

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    How do I enter my CEs?
    • Log into your account at
    • In the “My Credentials” section on your home page, click the “Report CE” button on the right side.
    • Under the CE progress bars, click on the appropriate CE type you wish to report.
      • Report Approved Provider Course – courses taken through an NCBTMB Approved Provider
      • Report Credit from Accredited College – advanced courses taken through an Accredited College or University

    *Please note: you will need to upload documentation of your CE certificate for AP courses or transcript and syllabus for Accredited College/University courses.  Click here for assistance if needed

Tools for Board Certification

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    Now that I am Board Certified, what credential do I use?

    Once you are Board Certified, please use the credential BCTMB after your name on all business cards, websites, social media accounts, etc.

    It is important to know that if your certification expires, you are no longer eligible to use the BCTMB credential (Board Certification renewal is every 2 years, for renewal requirements, click here.)

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    How do I inform my clients about Board Certification?

    While NCBTMB actively promotes Board Certification and those who attain it, we strongly encourage you to speak directly with your clients about the definition and the importance of Board Certification. Not only will it help to strengthen the relationships you have with your clients, but also confirms to your clients that they are receiving the safest, most advanced, and ethical care available.

    Together, the more we educate the general public about the value of Board Certification, the further we will together elevate the entire massage therapy and bodywork profession. Credentials matter. Let’s give them some meaning.

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    How can I receive college credits with proof of my current Board Certification?

    NCBTMB is proud to partner with Siena Heights University to award college credits with proof of current Board Certification. This educational institution has assessed the Board Certification credential and agreed to award 30 or more college credits towards the respective degrees offered at their premier institution.


    Exclusively for Board Certificants, Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI, awards 30+ college credits toward the 120 total credits required to achieve this degree. Courses are available on campus and online. BAS Degree candidates ordinarily have 60 credits before beginning with Siena Heights.

    Learn more about this degree program.

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    Is there a Candidate Handbook available?

    Yes. Our Candidate Handbook contains all the information you need to know about NCBTMB, certification, the Board Certification exam, costs, how to register for your exam, how to retrieve exam score information, and much more.

    Click here for the most recent version of the Candidate Handbook.

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    How do I request a Duplicate Certificate?

    To request a Duplicate Certificate, you must first login to your NCBTMB account at

    Once logged in:

    • Click “My Cart” on the left hand side of your profile
    • Click “Store”
    • Click “Duplicate Certificate Request”  (this option will only appear if you are active and not expired)
    • Complete information and submit payment.
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    How do I get my scores from testing sent to a state?
    • Log into your account at
    • Click on “My Account” on the left side of your profile.
    • Click on “My Participation”
    • Click the “Request Score Report” button on the scores you wish to have sent.
    • Complete the request and payment.

    *Please note: if you have never been Board Certified, you will not have an account unless you have already created one in this system. If you have not created an account in this new system, you will need to create an account at  If you need to create an account, there will be an option to complete a request to add your exam result to your account so a report can be ordered.

    The fee per Score Report is $25.  Please note that not all states will accept the score report if not sent directly from NCBTMB.

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    As a BCTMB, how long should I maintain a client’s record after I no longer work with him/her?

    Per the NCBTMB Standards of Practice (which all BCTMBs agree to uphold upon application and renewal), it states as follows:

    Standard III(d): Securely retain client files for a minimum period of four (4) years from the termination of the therapeutic relationship; and

    Standard III(e): Dispose of client files in a secure manner.

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    How can I view or edit my Directory Listing?

    Only the City, State, and Zip Code will appear along with a link to your website (if included).  We will not include your phone or email.

    You will need to Log into your account at

    • To view your directory listing please click here
      • Select Approved Board Certified Therapists
      • Enter in the search criteria to view your listing as it appears publicly.
    • To edit the website on your directory listing:
      • Click “My Account” on the left side
      • Click “My Contact Info”
      • Review the different sections of your contact information and click “Edit” on the existing information or click “Add..” to add additional information.
      • The information flagged as primary will be the information that appears in the directory.
    • To edit the modalities that you practice and to help consumers find you based on their needs:
      • Click “Edit Profile” in the upper right across from your name
      • Check the “Provided Therapy Categories” that you offer to clients.
      • Click save.
    • To opt in/out of the directory listing:
      • Log into your account at
      • Click “Edit Profile” in the upper right
      • Check the box in the “Public Directory Opt-Out” section to opt out or uncheck the box to opt back
      • Click save


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    Where do I go to take the Board Certification exam?

    NCBTMB partners with Prometric, a computer-based testing solution, to administer the BCETMB exam. Prometric has multiple testing centers in each state; most centers are open 5-6 days per week.

    Once you are eligible to schedule your exam, you will receive an email notification with instructions on how to search all available testing locations available (as well as the dates and times) to conveniently schedule your exam within your eligibility period. Within this email, you will be linked to Prometric’s system directly to schedule online, as well as provided with a phone number to contact them.

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    What do I need to know for the Board Certification exam?

    CredsThe Board Certification exam contains 140 questions and you will have 140 minutes to complete the exam. Content found on this exam embraces application of technique and is assessment based—simulating real-life scenarios you will more than likely encounter as a certified massage therapist.

    The Board Certification Exam is built around the below main categories:

    • Assessment (25%)
    • Applied Science, including Anatomy, Physiology, Kinesiology, Pathology/Injury, and Pharmacology (25%)
    • Massage Modalities, Techniques, and Manual Forces (20%)
    • Professional Communication (15%)
    • Professionalism and Ethics (10%)
    • Laws and Business Practices (5%)

    To download the full BCETMB breakdown, click here.

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    Is there a tool to help me study for the Board Certification Exam?

    Yes! NCBTMB is proud to offer our exclusive Online Practice Exam, which contains Level 1 (entry-level) questions to better prepare you for any licensing exam, as well as Level 2 questions to better prepare you for the Board Certification (BCETMB) exam.

    The NCBTMB Online Practice Exam is the only study tool created by NCBTMB for the NCBTMB Board Certification exam.

    For more information on the Online Practice exam, click here.

    For a list of resources utilized to create the Board Certification Exam and the Board Certification Study Guide, click here

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    What score do I need to pass the Board Certification Exam?

    The Board Certification exam is graded in Scale Score Format. A Scale Score of 410 is required to pass the Board Certification Exam.

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