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The NCBTMB seemingly years ago lost sight of the concept that their purpose was to assess the state of knowledge of the massage profession for entry level practitioners via a job survey and then create a certification to assess incoming individuals. Despite having no oversight and no checks and balances, they moved to the concept of attempting to define requirements for the profession and completely lost sight of being in service to the profession. They have been notable over the years for their poor customer service.
The concept of the NCBTMB was created when far fewer states regulated massage. At that time, it was an attempt to provide some consistency and portability between states. It was never a good idea to make licensing dependent on a private certification, particularly when the organization involved had its own agenda in setting prerequisites and doesn't have any direct line of public accountability. Regulation is a right and responsibility of the individual states --- its terms and conditions cannot be delegated to be set by a private body without incurring the risk of anti-trust. If the certification organization also engages in political and advocacy "speech", issues arise as to use of funds and the ability to opt out of uses not expressly related to provision of an exam. I outlined some of the potential issues with links to legal cases that might apply. The NCBTMB has always been a 501(c)(6) business league rather than a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The difference comes in the ability to lobby an agenda, which they have done actively.
More recently, the NCBTMB has taken to suing state massage boards or attempting to undercut boards in lobbying state legislatures. They seem to increasingly have become a rogue group, self-assured of their own importance and entitlement while losing credibility and legitimacy within the profession. I'm reminded of a line from Euripedes' play "Medea": "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad".
With the majority of states now regulating massage, there is far less need for a separate entry level certification. That and what's above prompted the formation of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) in 2005. The FSMTB now offers the MBLEx as an entry level licensing (or state certification) exam. This returns responsibility for the exam to those with responsibility to the public. With this in place, the effect of the NCBTMB "sinking" would be to close what has become a source of distraction to the profession rather than an asset. It's worth noting in passing, that too many involved with the NCBTMB came from organization backgrounds with little concept of regulation as serving public interests and subject to public accountability. I believe that this lack of background has been telling.
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