You have asked:
“Is this a certification course?”
Or: “Will this course certify me
in oncology massage therapy (OMT)?”
The short answer is:
You will receive a Certificate of Completion upon attending our intensive, 32.0 CE hour course, “Oncology Massage Therapy: Caring for Clients with Cancer.”
Sometimes the certification question is really a preparation question: Will this course prepare me enough to work with people with cancer?
The answer to that is “Yes.” It is designed to prepare you. Our 32.0 CE hour oncology massage therapy (OMT) intensive builds foundational skills for oncology massage therapy work in any MT setting.
If you are prepared to practice, then you can work safely and effectively. You can build your practice and build the trust of your clients, the public, and the medical community.
But please keep reading below! Don’t stop at the short answer. Below, we share important information about the various credentials in oncology massage therapy and how to describe them.
“Certification” is a poorly understood term.
In the US and Canada, there is no certifying body in oncology massage. This means there is no national or state/province-recognized oversight of oncology massage therapy, so there is no formal “certification” to attempt, test into, or maintain.
No single educator, instructor, school, or CE provider can “certify” you or issue “certification” after a CE course.
Despite the absence of such oversight, some CE providers do, incorrectly, use the term “certification” to describe their longer CE programs. When they do, “Certification” programs typically require hundreds of hours of coursework, tests, longer time commitments, and larger financial commitments. That kind of program is different from a single foundational oncology massage therapy course, taking place over a few days. At Tracy Walton & Associates, our foundational oncology massage therapy course is scheduled over several days. We do not use the term “Certification” to describe our course.
In massage therapy, the term “certification” and “being “certified” are often used loosely and incorrectly, confusing a short Certificate of Completion received after a few-day CE course with a longer certificate program, or a true “certification” such as Board Certification from the NCBTMB.
Sometimes employers, clients, and other professionals also confuse these terms. Educators confuse the terms as well, in massage therapy but also in other professions.
In oncology massage therapy, what really matters?
(1) Being prepared.
(2) Accurately describing your credentials, even when other people do not.
When an employer or client asks if you are certified, tell them about your training and preparation. List courses, memberships, and certificates. Describe your practice and your skills in oncology massage therapy.
Read below. Our handy guide describes the different levels of education and credentials, starting with the 32.0 CE hour foundational course offered by Tracy Walton & Associates.
Complete our Foundational Course and Practice OMT
Complete “Oncology Massage Therapy: Caring for Clients with Cancer”
Our foundational 4-Day, 32.0 CE hour course
What not to say after a foundational course
Avoid “certified” and “certification.”
Avoid claiming, “I am certified in oncology massage therapy.”
Avoid stating “I have a certification in oncology massage therapy.”
1. The term “certified” and “certification” suggests a higher credential than what you earn in a foundational oncology massage therapy course.
To many people, “certification” implies that you passed a test, exam, or assessment.
In our foundational course, there is no graded test that you have to pass in order to receive your certificate of completion on the last day. (No graded test. You’re welcome. 🙂 )
2. There is no “certifying body” in oncology massage therapy.
3. The term “certified,” and “certification” suggests you have to “keep up” your certification with continued study and reporting CE hours, as in board certification with the NCBTMB.
After our foundational course, there is no need to maintain a certification because you are not certified as a result of our course.
4. The Society for Oncology Massage discourages use of the term “certified.” Read their position paper on this.
What can you say instead of “certification/certified?” Some ideas…
• “I’ve completed advanced training/continuing professional education in oncology massage therapy.”
• “I completed an advanced, recognized course in oncology massage therapy.”
• “I have a certificate of completion in an oncology massage therapy, recognized by the Society for Oncology Massage.”
• “I have studied with an instructor recognized by the Society for Oncology Massage.”
• “I provide massage therapy for oncology support”
• “I do massage therapy for cancer care.”
In most places, adequate preparation allows you to practice OMT. Unless your local governing body or liability insurance prohibits it, you should be able to serve clients with cancer without “certification” or being “certified.”
Join the Society for Oncology Massage and be a “Preferred Provider”
After Completing our Foundational Course, you are eligible to apply for membership in the Society for Oncology Massage (www.s4om.org)
What to Say/What not to Say about S4OM Membership
All the above guidelines of what to say/not to say still apply. No “certification.” No “certified.”
With membership in S4OM, you can add:
“I am a preferred provider with the Society for Oncology Massage”
Questions about S4OM Membership?
If you have any questions about S4OM membership, please direct them to S4OM at www.s4om.org.
Earn a Specialty Certificate in OM from the NCBTMB
Earn a “Specialty Certificate in Oncology Massage” offered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)
How a Specialty Certificate Works
1. There is a “S4OM Pathway,” a pathway of 100 hours of coursework to sit for the Oncology Massage Specialty Exam.
2. As an S4OM recognized educational provider (REP), our courses fulfill some of the coursework requirements on the Society for Oncology Massage pathway.
3. Of this 100 hours, 32.0 CE hours may be fulfilled by our 4-Day foundational course, “Oncology Massage Therapy: Caring for Clients with Cancer.” Another 40.0 CE hours may be fulfilled by our OMT Advanced Mentorship course. We also offer short supplemental courses here that satisfy some of the pathway requirements.
4. Learn more about the S4OM pathway here.
5. Once you have completed the S4OM pathway, you are eligible to sit for the NCBTMB Oncology Massage Specialty Exam to earn a Specialty Certificate.
What Not to Say about a Specialty Certificate
Even after passing the Specialty Exam, all the above guidelines of what to say/not to say still apply. Avoid “certified” and “certification.”
What to Say Instead
You may say “I hold a Specialty Certificate in Oncology Massage” from the NCBTMB
This does not mean you are “certified,” or hold a “certification.”
Questions about the Specialty Certificate?
If you have questions about the OM Specialty Certificate at NCBTMB, please contact the NCBTMB. At Tracy Walton & Associates, we are not able to answer questions about the specialty certificate. We provide coursework that helps you qualify to sit for the NCBTMB Specialty exam. All eligible coursework from all providers is listed on the NCBTMB specialty certificate site.
If you have questions about the S4OM Pathway to the Specialty Certificate, please contact S4OM at www.s4om.org. At Tracy Walton & Associates, we cannot answer questions about the S4OM pathway, requirements, or credentials, or questions about other providers’ courses. Our job is providing our own courses, provided by our staff of instructors. Some of our courses fulfill some pathway requirements. Review our courses here, here, and here. Learn about our instructors here.
Note: There is no license in Oncology Massage Therapy.
There is no “license” in oncology massage therapy, at least not in the US. Oncology massage therapy coursework will not earn you a license in the specialty.
Licenses in massage therapy or bodywork are administered by governments such as states, provinces, and cities.
What are our credentials as instructors?
S4OM Recognized Educational Providers.
At Tracy Walton & Associates, LLC, everyone on our teaching staff is an S4OM Recognized Educational Provider (REP). This means we are part of a small group of educators recognized by the Society for Oncology Massage. The Society established standards of practice in OMT back in 2010. In order to recognize us, they have looked closely at our curriculum, instructors, and teaching methods and confirmed that we meet their standards of education.
NCBTMB-Approved CE Providers.
At Tracy Walton & Associates, LLC, we are NCBTMB-approved CE providers. They evaluate and approve our instructors and our courses. We have been approved since 1999.
Approved in some states.
At Tracy Walton & Associates, LLC, our courses and instructors are approved in some states. You can find the approvals here. Our courses may also be accepted in other states or provinces without formal approval by those states or provinces. Check with your state/province licensing or registration board.