Online Continuing Education Information
While our courses are designed as continuing education for licensed and/or certified massage therapists, a non-licensed person may take them for their personal use. You may not legally charge for your services without an underlying license if your jurisdiction requires one, as most jurisdictions do. Exceptions to this are courses such as the pregnancy massage and infant massage training. In most jurisdictions, doulas or other prenatal healthcare providers can use the techniques within the scope of their training and authority, such as a doula using some of the prenatal massage techniques during labor and delivery. You cannot, however, hold yourself out to be a certified prenatal or infant massage therapist without having a massage therapy certification or license.
I'm not a massage therapist, but want to become one. Can I become a certified massage therapist through you?
No. We are a continuing education (CE) provider. There are two type of massage therapy education establishments: initial schools for non-massage therapists to become massage therapists, and continuing education providers (what we are) for existing massage therapists to learn advanced training and to earn continuing education hours to renew licenses. Once you become certified, you can come to us for advanced training and to earn CE hours.
Do you teach live seminars? Are your course hours considered "classroom" or "live" or "hands on" for states that restrict online massage continuing education courses?
No. We do not offer live seminars at this time. All of our courses are home study, online. They are not considered "live" or "classroom" hours since you are not physically present in the same room with the instructor as you are taking the course. (Exception: Florida has allowed some of our courses to meet their "live" requirement for the August 2021 renewal due to COVID hardships. Refer to each course description for further information.)
How do you determine how many CEs you award per class?
We do not make that determination. The number of CEs assigned to each of our courses is determined by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). They use a formula based on the number of printed words (1 CE for every 15,000 words) and video run time (1 CE for every 1 hour of video). They also award two minutes per test question (they require 5 questions for every hour of course information), and for courses that include a homework assignment, they assess the assignment to determine how much time they will give.
Some of our students find that they can complete courses in fewer than the number of hours awarded, and other students find that they need more than the awarded number of hours to complete the course. How long you actually take to complete a course does not affect the number of CEs that you will earn. We award the number of hours that the NCBTMB has assigned for each course.
Is every course you offer valid for every state massage therapy board?
CE regulations vary significantly from state to state. Please refer to our state guidelines pages for information about the continuing education laws that govern you. Most pages include a link to the state board where a full copy of the laws that apply to you may be found. It is important to remember that your state massage board will hold you responsible for knowing the laws that apply to you.
Some states allow all courses and all hours to be done online, some restrict where only "cognitive" courses can be done online, and some require most or all hours to be done live. For example, while our cognitive courses are valid in Florida, they will fall under the "general" category, for which only five hours will count toward the 24 hours required. It is your responsibility to know the laws that apply to you. If you complete a course with us and later discover that is not valid for your state laws, we are not able to offer a refund due to your error.
Our courses are not written to be specific to any one state, so there is a small chance that you may encounter bits of information here and there that may impact your actual practice. For example, some states have enacted various restrictions around hot stone massage in an effort to legislate safety. We have been told that the State of Arizona does not allow a client to have a bare hot stone under them as they lay on the table. One or more of the sample video clips in that course may have a client laying back on a stone, which would have been a legal maneuver in the state where it was filmed at the time that it was filmed. In this instance, you would modify by either omitting that step, or by following what your state guidelines may require. An example might be to have a towel or other barrier between the stone and the client.
With any modality that we teach, we strongly advise that you refresh your memory as to any state-specific rules that will apply to you. We are not responsible if you perform an illegal act in your jurisdiction just because you saw it in one of our courses.
I am currently in massage school. Can I start taking your pregnancy massage course now so when I become licensed I'll be ready to work on pregnant women?
Yes. Many massage therapy students begin taking continuing education courses as they near the end of their schooling. You can do this not only with our pregnancy massage course, but with any of our other specialized courses as well. This way, as soon as you have your massage therapy license in hand, you can begin building your new business in your chosen specialty. Please bear in mind that you have one year from enrollment to complete the course.
Are your continuing education courses for Massage Therapists valid for NCBTMB, AMTA, ABMP, and my home state?
Yes. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a continuing education Approved Provider. Our provider number is 280672-00. We are also approved by the Florida Board of Massage, provider number MCE-326, and the New York Board of Massage, provider number 0019. The ABMP and AMTA also accept our courses, as do most states. Please refer to our "State Guidelines" page for specific information about your state. We make no specific warranties that our courses are valid for your jurisdiction. It is ultimately up to you to confirm compliance with the laws that govern you.
Are your online massage therapy courses valid for other professions, such as nurses, physical therapists, or occupational therapists?
The Institute of Somatic Therapy has not sought approval for any professional boards outside of massage therapy. Some boards do accept courses that meet specified guidelines, even if those courses have not been approved. You will need to determine the rules that apply to your board to determine if they will accept these hours.
What is the difference between cognitive and kinesthetic courses?
Cognitive courses are those which teach concepts related to massage therapy, but do not teach specific hands-on techniques. Courses such as ethics, pathology, anatomy, and research are classified as cognitive. Kinesthetic courses are those that teach specific hands-on techniques that you can use on clients during a massage therapy session. Some states limit how many kinesthetic courses can be completed in an online or home study setting. Please refer to our state guidelines page for specifics about your state.
How can I find a coupon code, and how do your coupons work?
Our coupon codes are given on many course description pages, as well as on package description pages. You can only enter one coupon code when you check out, so be sure to carefully consider all of the coupons that potentially apply to your enrollment, and choose the best one for you. Coupon codes are not retroactive. If you do not use a coupon code, or use one and then later discover one that would have been more valuable to you, there is no way to apply them later. (All amounts are in US Dollars)
Can I take a course completely by mail, with no internet access?
Our courses are designed for online completion. This includes the course materials as well as the testing and certificate of completion. Everything is done online.
Will your online courses work on my phone, tablet, or other device?
Yes. Since technology continues its rapid pace forward, it is impossible for us to provide a current and complete list of all devices on which our courses will work. We invite you to take our free sample course so that you can personally test if the online content and streaming video work on your device. Please note that some devices and browsers may time you out if you spend more than 30 minutes on a single page.
Can I log in and out while taking an online course, or do I have to take it all at once?
You are able to log in and out as much as you need while taking a course. Once you start the test, however, you do need to finish it, or you will have to restart the next time you log in. There is no penalty for not completing, or even failing, a test. You are welcome to retest until you do pass at no additional charge.
How long do I have to complete the course once I enroll?
You have one year from the date of enrollment to take the online test. The course will become inactive after one year if you have not passed the test. To inquire about reinstating an expired course, please contact us. There is a reinstatement fee of $35 per course (for courses that have been expired less than one year) and $50 per course (for courses that have been expired more than one, but less than two years). There is no reinstatement available for courses that have been expired for more than one year.
Can I print the online test to work on it at my convenience?
We provide a study guide that has the test questions and answer choices. You can print it off and work on it as you study. When you are ready to take the test, you will log into your account, access the test, and supply your answers to the test questions. Because some browers log you out of a page after 30 minutes, we highly recommend that you use the study guide to find the answers before you log in to begin the test.
How long can I access the certificate, test, or course materials after completing the test?
Even though we have always exceeded this goal, often by many years, we only guarantee access for one full year after enrollment. It is impossible to promise lifetime access to data on our website, as occasionally technology updates are made and old data may not transfer over. Once you have passed the test, we highly recommend that you save a copy of your certificate on your computer and/or print multiple copies for future purposes.
How do I print an additional certificate after I have completed a course?
You can log into your account and print additional certificates, or review course materials and test results, after you have completed the course. Once you have logged in, just click "access course"in your list of courses. Once there, in the left status box you will see links to where you can print another certificate or review course materials. Your course materials and online tests are available for you to access and view for a minimum of one year after completion (in most cases, much longer than that.) Occasionally course changes, website updates, or other reasons cause us to lose or restrict access to older results.
Does the Institute of Somatic Therapy automatically report course completions to CE Broker?
Yes, if your state utilizes CE Broker, we report course completions provided that your massage license number was listed on your account before you completed our online test. You can verify or edit your license information when you log into your account and review the General Information that appears to the left of the page. While CE Broker gives approved continuing education providers up to 30 days to submit course completions, we generally report two or more times per week, and often daily as renewal deadlines approach.
Does the Institute of Somatic Therapy report course completions to the NCBTMB, ABMP, AMTA, or any other agencies or state massage therapy boards?
At this time, none of these agencies have a method for us to report your completed continuing education courses on your behalf. We will happily comply should this option be made available to us in the future. As of now, you are required to provide the evidence of CEs as your board requests. Please contact your licensing authority if you have specific questions about how to renew your massage therapy license, as we are not allowed to give legal advice on how to obtain or renew a massage license.
How do online continuing education courses compare to live seminars?
You have probably discovered through the years that, as with just about everything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to every available alternative. The decision whether to study via home study online courses or to attend live seminars is no exception to that rule. There is no single "one size fits all" answer to making this decision. You need to weigh the pros and cons of each option, and then decide which option best fits your individual learning style and circumstances.
Click Here to read more about how online continuing education courses compare to live seminars
How do online courses work?
As soon as you complete the enrollment process, you will be taken to a link where you will have instant access to your courses. If you do not see that link, you can simply hit the account tab in the upper right menu area, which will take you to your account page and an access link to each course in which you have enrolled. When you have completed the course, you can go directly to your exam. If you take more than 30 minutes on the test page, some browsers will log you out and you'll have to start over. When you have completed the final exam, the computer will automatically grade your answers and instantly notify you if you passed or failed. If you have passed, you will have instant access to download your certificate of completion and print off as many copies as you desire. Even if you do not pass on the first try, the computer will give you the opportunity to study some more and then retake the test. You are allowed to retest until you do pass, at no additional charge.
Click Here to read more information on how continuing education online courses work
How do I enroll in a course?
You may enroll in our online CE courses directly on our course description page. Just click the small green "buy now" button. You can then either select "continue shopping" if you want additional courses, or "checkout" if you are ready to proceed to completing the enrollment. You do not need an account prior to enrolling. The first stage of the checkout process will ask for your email. Our system will then search to see if you already have an account. If you do, it will ask for your password. If you do not, it will take you through the process of creating one.
How soon will I receive my course materials?
Our online CE courses are available instantly upon enrollment, and when you finish the course, you can print your certificate immediately upon completion. That means that you can get started right now, instantly, and have your proof of completion as soon as you pass the exam.
Do you offer payment plans or scholarship programs?
The Institute of Somatic Therapy does not offer any type of private financing or scholarship programs. If you need to spread out the payments to help you fit the tuition within your budget, you can charge your tuition to your Visa, Discover, or MasterCard credit cards, and make the payments to them in accordance with your credit card agreement.
What are premium certificates, and what do they look like?
We used to offer a premium certificate option both for test completions, and for certification completions. We were having a lot of problems with the post office (lost or destroyed in mailing), and that caused double work and double expense to us, so we stopped offering them. When students continued to request that we offer them, we compromised, and have them available only for certification completions (but not course completions). We also had to increase the price to cover the many times we had to do them twice and pay twice due to postal problems.
Students who started a course prior to us discontinuing them may still see this option until they refresh, because often internet browsers “cache” the page (a time saver they have built in so as not to have to reload each time). Every course completion and certification completion comes with a free certificate. Printing it on high quality paper helps it to look much nicer, and is still suitable for framing. If you do want one that we create, complete with the gold seal, this is an option for any of our certification programs.
Here is a sample of a certificate for prenatal certification. All certificates are similar (wording will vary depending on course specifics):
Please feel free to contact us at the above contact link if you have any questions about how we can help you attain your continuing education goals. Thank you.