Craniosacral Therapist Certification

To help our readers better understand the requirements for state licensure and national certification in craniosacral bodywork, Allied Health World answers some of the more frequently asked questions people have about acquiring and retaining a license to practice craniosacral therapy on both a state and national level:

What license is needed to work as a craniosacral therapist?

Like many forms of complimentary and alternative massage and bodywork, there is no licensing body specific to craniosacral therapy. However, most states include the practice of all forms of massage therapy and bodywork under one common regulating and licensing body called the Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy. Craniosacral therapy is included within the massage and therapeutic bodywork classification, so a state-granted massage therapy license is required to legally enter into practice. Each respective state’s Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy grants a massage therapy license to graduates upon their completion of programs through accredited craniosacral therapy schools.

State licensure in massage therapy also requires a number of hours spent in clinical practice, and the successful completion of an exam administered by each state’s Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy. This exam tests graduates’ knowledge and aptitude related to performing bodywork, as well as their understanding of the code of ethics unique to massage therapy and bodywork. Medical doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors, physical therapists, and, of course, massage therapists, can all perform craniosacral therapy on their existing medical and bodywork licenses.

What is required to maintain state licensure in craniosacral therapy?

Only a few states have continuing education requirements for maintaining state licensure, and these requirements are typically minimal. To remain licensed to practice craniosacral therapy, most states only require that practitioners submit an online application for license renewal along with a fee that is typically less than $200.

Is there an option for national craniosacral therapy certification?

An organization called the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) provides national certification that satisfies the requirements for licensure enforced by most states. The NCBTMB administers an exam called the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB). Completing a program through an accredited school and successfully completing the NCETMB exam will earn graduates the NCTMB credential, which stands for Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

NCTMB craniosacral therapy certification must be renewed every four years, but it isn’t particularly difficult to meet the requirements for doing so. Craniosacral therapists who wish to retain the NCTMB credential are expected to complete 200 hours of craniosacral therapy in practice, or an equivalent number of house spent in continuing education during each four-year period between NCTMB certification renewals. By virtue of operating a bodywork practice, most craniosacral therapists meet this requirement for 200 hours of clinical practice without the need to participate in additional continuing education.

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