Massage Therapy has become a more important career in the health and wellness professions. The number of practitioners entering the field and clients turning to massage therapy for rehabilitation and stress relief continues to increase. To ensure the general safety and well-being of clients, and to promote a consistent level of training and professionalism, the state of Oklahoma now requires that all massage therapists be licensed in order to practice. The passage of this law, enacted in May 2017, added a further requirement for those entering or already practicing in the massage therapy profession.
At present, Clary Sage College, a branch of Community Care College, is the only major institution in the Tulsa-area offering coursework to qualify for licensure. Additionally, Clary Sage is a “NCBTMB Assigned School,” meaning that it has been researched and approved by National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. This distinction is important because it proves the school is legitimate, operates legally, and meets their minimum curriculum requirements.
“Our program includes 820 credit hours and prepares students to take the state Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx),” says Derek Ball, head of the Massage Therapy department at Clary Sage. “Once students complete the course, pass the state required exam and receive their license, they also have enough credit hours to take the test to qualify for national board certification if they wish.”
The program at Clary Sage spans 37 weeks and includes both coursework and clinical hours. The $195 cost of taking the state required exam is included in the total cost of the program. Students can enter the program easily since a new class begins every Monday.
Until this year, Oklahoma was one of only five states that did not regulate massage therapists. Legislators cited several reasons for drafting the new law, including:
• Establishing standards of minimum competency
• Ensuring therapists are qualified to represent themselves to the public as licensed therapists
• Helping consumers identify the responsibilities and services unique to a massage therapist
• Enhancing public safety by enforcing disciplinary actions against non-compliant practitioners
• Setting a formal grievance process for consumers