What is the difference between NCBTMB and MBLEx exams

Once a massage therapist has completed an accredited massage therapy training program from one of the various massage therapy schools, they will then need to take a certification exam, before they can be considered a certified massage therapist. However, there are two main exams that students may take: the NCBTMB and the MBLEx. This leaves many students confused as to which exam would most benefit them.

What is NCBTMB exam?

NCBTMB, which stands for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, offers a licensing exam called the National Certification Exam. The massage therapy license requirements to take this exam are as follows:

  • 200 hours of massage assessment, including the application of massage and massage theory
  • 125 hours of training in kinesiology, physiology, and anatomy
  • 125 hours in an additional area of massage or specialization
  • 40 hours of disease study
  • 6+ hours of ethics
  • 4 or less hours of business

massage certification

Therefore, students must complete a minimum of 500 hours, before they may take the National Certification Exam. Once a student passes this exam, they will receive their national certification to practice massage therapy anywhere in the country.

What is MBLEx exam?

The MBLEx is another exam that students may choose to take upon graduation. The MBLEx, which stands for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination, does not require students to complete 500 hours of training before they take the exam.

Difference between NCBTMB and MBLEx

Massage therapy schools vary in length and their number of training hours. Not every student will complete a 500 hour training program and be eligible for the NCBTMB. Fortunately, if they do not meet the NCBTMB’s eligibility requirements, they may take the MBLEx and receive a massage therapy license. However, professionals that decide to take the MBLEx will not be nationally certified, like those that complete the NCBTMB.

The MBLEx consists of 125 questions, covering subjects like kinesiology, anatomy, ethics and law, physiology, the history of massage, disease, and how massage benefits the body. Many students believe that the text is easier than the NCBTMB and it also costs less to take. Additionally, after passing the MBLEx, students will not need to renew their certification, unlike with the NCBTMB. Nationally certified massage therapists are required to take a 48-hour educational course and pay $100, every four years, in order to maintain their certification.

There are many differences between the NCBTMB and the MBLEx. They differ in requirements, price, and the credentials they deliver. Whether a student should take the NCBTMB or MBLEx depends on whether they will need the flexibility of being nationally certified and how many hours of training they have completed.