I have long desired to see the standards for massage therapy education raised in my state and across the nation. Here in North Carolina, the requirement is only 500 hours. That varies in the US, from the unregulated states that have no requirements at all, to the 1000 hours required by New York, Nebraska, and Puerto Rico. The rest fall somewhere in between.
Our neighbors to the north in Canada have a few provinces that are unregulated, but those that are regulated have a much higher hour requirement than the norm here in the US. However, in looking over their documents pertaining to their regulations, I see that it is not really about the number of hours; it is about the basic competencies that they have set forth for an entry-level massage therapist, and I must say that I find it quite impressive. You can read those here.
I imagine that the higher number of hours is merely a by-product of the competencies that are required. It would take a lot more than 500 hours to pack all those competencies in. And I couldn’t find any fault with any of them. It actually bears a lot of similarities to our recent document, the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge. That’s not a perfect document; it’s just a start on defining what an entry-level therapist should know here. I’ve heard a good many complaints about it. In fairness to the dedicated volunteers who gave of their time and expertise to work on it, they offered a long period for comments from the profession, and I was personally appalled at how few they got. I think they got about 600 or so, and about 50 of them were mine. It was also very telling to me that when our Board sent out a survey to the approximately 40 school owners and program directors recently about raising the standards, only 7 of them bothered to reply. There is a big lack of interest in raising the bar. READ MORE….