The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) has taken a bit of a beating from CE providers over its recommendations to State boards in the area of continuing education. Why? Because the recommendations suggest that professional development be removed from the State requirements and that affects the bottom line for most CE providers.
I’m a CE provider myself, so the recommendations hurt me financially, but despite my competing interest, I do think the FSMTB is right on.
People who are critical of the plan do not understand the roles of the various organizations. State Boards and regulation exist for the purpose of protecting the public. Their responsibility is to the public, not massage therapists.
It’s the professional associations like NCBTMB, ABMP and AMTA who are charged with the role of supporting massage therapists. These associations are your advocates when your needs as a therapist conflict with the actions of the State boards. They should also play a role in promoting massage to the public.
Professional development is your job. You have proved that you can provide a safe competent service when you got licensed. So you have the requisite skills to do your job, but why wouldn’t you want to do your job even better through ongoing professional development?
So the FSMTB is doing exactly what they should be doing with these recommendations. Their role is not to force you to take ongoing training. They have no business in professional development. Their role is to support State boards in protecting the public.
Almost all disciplinary actions by the boards are around the issues of ethics, ex. sexual misconduct and fraud. There are few instances of therapists actually hurting people physically with massage. That is not a problem. You can look up this information on the board websites and see for yourself. So it just makes sense that the FSMTB works closely with the State boards to determine the issues that need to be addressed and develop relevant and standardized CE training to address those issues that have direct impact on the public. As well as to make any required training as accessible to the massage community as possible.
I recognize these recommendations make it harder continuing education providers (myself included) to make a living. And I feel a great deal of empathy for my fellow CE providers. But the fact is that this is the right thing for the profession. Instead of wasting time criticizing the FSMTB for actually staying within their scope, we as continuing education providers should be working with our professional member organizations to help make life-long learning a positive value in this profession and finding innovative ways to help therapists grow their skills as healing professionals.