What If You Fail National Massage Certification Exam

if You Fail the National Massage Certification Exam

What to Do if You Fail the National Massage Certification Exam?

After graduating from an approved massage therapy school program, you may be eligible to sit for the NCETM/NCETMB (National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork) exam. Approval is the result of 500 hours of massage training (including 100 hours of classroom-based anatomy and physiology coursework; 200 hours of massage theory; 2 hours of ethics; and additional training in pathology, business, and alternative medicine).

The 160-question test covers your knowledge of massage therapy skills, laws, and modalities to ensure that you are prepared to enter the profession with the right training in place. The questions include those directed at:

  • Body Systems
  • Anatomy, Physiology, and Kinesiology
  • Pathology
  • Massage & Bodywork Assessment
  • Massage & Bodywork Application
  • Professional Massage Standards, Ethics, Business & Legal Practices

Graduates can expect to pay a $225 testing fee, which is non-refundable even if you don’t get a passing score. These scores are based on a “scale score” method based on question difficulty level, with a 300 required to pass. Scale scores range from 100 (low) to 400 (high).

Failing the exam can and does happen—and to graduates from all different types of massage programs. The good news is, you can take the test again, and the NCBTMB does its best to help you succeed the next time around. Upon failing, you receive your scores and a breakdown of the score report. You’ll see exactly which areas were a struggle for you (and where you can spend more time studying), and where you were the strongest.

If you failed the exam, you have 60 days after receiving your scores to contact the NCBTMB and indicate your wish to re-take the test. You typically have three months to prepare and pay the testing fee again. Use this time to beef up on the areas you were weakest in, and continue to review your areas of strength. Many massage schools offer courses to help you study, and you’ll find plenty of books and resources designed to get you the passing score you need.

Although it can feel like the end of the road to not pass your massage licensure exam, there are plenty of avenues open to you in the future. As long as you continue to hone your skills and learn your trade, you can succeed in the field of massage and go on to enjoy a long and fruitful career!



7 Enlightened Replies

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  2. Chasity Young says:

    I didn’t pass the first exam and didn’t have the funds to retake the test. What do I need to do to take the test again. It has been years since the first test.

  3. Demetria Beck says:

    I used to know what I was suppose to do if I wanted to re-take my failed exam. If I’ve failed 3 times between 2008-2009, and now it’s 2012 can I retake it again. I plan to move to Alabama and had a license in my state for 2 years by taking the Mblex but don’t have the NCBTMB exam completed to meet their requirements. Do I have to submit more classes or something? Let me know ASAP please. I find the NCBTMB.org site confusing.

  4. MarjorienJoseph says:

    I missed my exam schedule for March 22nd and will like to reschedule . Iam not sure of what I should do next to take the exam.

  5. Sheress Belton says:

    It has been a long since I took the test and failed. I took it on June 16, 2011 I would like to retake the test but it has been over 3 months and I have been calling and researching online how to fill out another packet so I can retake test. If someone could help me it would be so much appreciated. I have moved on to a new career, however I don’t want the knowledge I have a acquired to go to waste and one day soon I would like to practice massage therapy. Thank you in advance. Also I do not know how to obtain my failing test score which I believe I need to re-take and fill-out packet.

  6. Cecilia Ratliff says:

    I graduated in 2007, and failed the exam twice. I really want to take it again, what do I do from here? I really want to pass my exam and get a job as a therapist.

  7. pilar medina says:

    if you fail the test in one state can you retest in another state