Getting Prepared for the NCBTMB Certification Exam

The NCBTMB (National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork) has been a certifying agency for massage therapy professionals in the U.S. since 1992. A minimum of 500 contact hours of training must be completed with an approved school for NCBTMB requirements to be met.

Aspiring massage therapists know that possessing NCBTMB credentials will open doors for them and establish their credibility in the profession. Many massage students and professionals fear sitting for this exam, an experience quite a bit of anxiety over passing it. This causes many students to put off taking the exam, and for some it becomes a reason to skip it altogether. This is a shame. The exam is not as hard as many think it will be, especially if adequate time is taken to study for it.

Here are some tips to improve your chances of passing the exam:

Start Early – Start studying–now. If you are a massage therapy student get started right away. If you wait till the last minute and are forced to cram for the test, you’ll be putting undue stress on yourself. Don’t wait until you graduate or until an employer informs you that the certification is required to qualify for a job. Start by reviewing a few practice questions each day. This will allow you to learn the format used on the exam, and start getting used to answering questions about the knowledge you’ve acquired. It may also help you pinpoint areas that you may need brushing up on before the exam. If you are a practicing massage therapist in a state that does not yet require the NCBTMB, it is definitely in your best interest to start studying for it.  It’s speculated that all states will eventually require passing of the NCBTMB exam for licensure.

Study Effectively– The better your understanding of the structure of the exam and the subjects it covers, the better prepared you’ll be to pass it. Check out the NCBTMB website or inquire with your massage school for more details. Knowing precisely what to focus on in your studies will allow you to maximize your study time.

Find a Study Partner – Studying with someone who is also sitting for the exam is highly recommended. You can quiz each other with flash cards and help each other get through the material more easily. Talk to your instructors as well, as most will have already passed the exam.  They can likely provide helpful study tips.

Set a Date – Set a concrete test date and stick to it. Plan your studies so that all topics can easily be covered in the allotted time. Having a set date for the exam will provide the sense of urgency required to complete your studies in a timely fashion.

Use study questions from review guides and practice tests to gauge your readiness.  Practice exams can be found online from a variety of sources. Massage therapy schools often offer review sessions-take advantage of them and participate! Most importantly, you must believe you will pass the exam. Get started today and before you know it you’ll be among the thousands of accomplished massage therapists with NCBTMB credentials.

NCBTMB certification exam

NCBTMB certification exam

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