Questions & Answers for Continuing Education Sponsor Applicants
- What entities can be approved sponsors of continuing education?
There are two paths available to become a sponsor of continuing education. An entity may be deemed an approved sponsor if it meets the requirements of Section 78.5(i)(2). Or, an entity that is not deemed by statute and regulation may have to apply to become a sponsor and be reviewed by the Department for approval.
- Which organizations qualify as "deemed approved sponsors"?
Section 78.5(i)(2) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education allow the following entities to register for approval to be an approved sponsor:
- a national massage therapy organization or other professional organization, acceptable to the Department, that fosters good practice in the massage therapy professions, in the nation as a whole, and/or a region of the nation;
- a New York State massage therapy organization, acceptable to the Department, that is incorporated or otherwise organized in New York State that fosters good practice in the massage therapy professions in the State of New York as a whole and/or a region of the State of New York;
- affiliates of international massage therapy conferences at which massage therapy is a major component of such conferences;
- a national organization of jurisdictional boards of massage therapy that promotes and protects the health, safety and welfare of the public and fosters good practice in the massage therapy professions;
- an entity, hospital or health facility defined in Section 2801 of the Public Health Law
- a higher education institution
- What constitutes a national or New York State massage therapy organization or other professional organization as referenced in item 2 above?
Such terms mean a state or national membership association established to further the massage therapy profession. It is usually not-for-profit in nature, comprised of members of a particular licensed profession, whose purpose is to represent members of that profession and further the interests of the profession of massage therapy. The purpose clause in a professional organization’s incorporation papers must authorize the organization to provide educational programs to promote the needs and interests of the profession through representation of its members.
- What does a "deemed approved sponsor" have to do?
Organizations that are “deemed approved sponsors” must register with the State Board for Massage Therapy by completing a Deemed Sponsor Registration form and submit the fee of $900.00 for approval to provide continuing education in accordance with the regulations for a three year period.
- What does an organization have to do if it does not fall into the category of "deemed approved sponsor"?
An Application for Approval as a Sponsor of Continuing Education for Massage Therapists must be completed and submitted to the Massage Therapy Board Office with the appropriate supporting materials and fee for review by the Department at least 90 days prior to beginning to provide continuing education for massage therapists.
- What information should be included in the supporting materials that must be submitted by entities that seek to be approved as sponsors under Section 78.5(i)(3), that is, entities that are not identified in regulation as “deemed sponsors”?
- They will offer courses of learning or self-study programs in one or more of the subjects prescribed for acceptable continuing education in section 78.5(c)(2)(i) of the Regulations of the Commissioner;
- The entity is an organized educational entity, or an entity that has expertise in the professional areas that will be taught, including but not limited to, postsecondary institutions that are not already deemed approved (see above);
- They will provide course instructors who are qualified to teach the courses which will be offered, including but not limited to, faculty of a massage therapy program offered by a higher education institution; or instructors who are specially qualified authorities in massage therapy, as determined by the Department with assistance from the State Board for Massage Therapy, to conduct such courses;
- They must verify that course instructors are licensed and in good standing in another state or country if they will be giving practical demonstrations as part of approved continuing education courses in New York State;
- They have a method of assessing the learning of participants, and describe such method; and
- They will be able to maintain records for at least six years from the date of completion of coursework, which shall include, but shall not be limited to, the name and curriculum vitae of the faculty, a record of attendance of licensed massage therapists in the course if a course, a record of participation of licensed massage therapists in the self-instructional coursework if self-instructional coursework, an outline of the course, date and location of the course, and the number of hours for completion of the course. In the event an approved sponsor discontinues operation, the governing body of such sponsor shall notify the Department and shall transfer all records as directed by the Department.
- Are the courses limited to specific subject areas?
Yes. Section 78.5(c)(2)(i)of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education limits acceptable continuing education to learning activities which contribute to the professional practice of massage therapy. Any coursework that includes the practical application of modalities or techniques shall only be accepted if such coursework provides instruction on the application of modalities or techniques legally authorized to be practiced within the scope of practice of massage therapy. Sponsors may offer courses in one of the following areas:
- Subjects that enhance knowledge and skill in the theory, technique, and methods that fall within or are related to the practice of massage therapy, including, but not limited to, instruction in Swedish massage; medical massage; Shiatsu; connective tissue massage; Tui Na; reflexology; acupressure; polarity; myofascial massage; neuromuscular massage; craniosacral techniques; manual lymphatic drainage; infant massage; pregnancy massage; stretching; exercises to facilitate, enhance or perpetuate the benefits of massage therapy; Thai massage; sports massage; and courses related to specific physical conditions, such as cancer, that may require massage therapy;
- Subjects that are fundamental to the practice of the profession, including, but not limited to, pathology, myology, neurology, anatomy, physiology, or subjects that are ancillary to the practice, such as effects of massage therapy on medication regimes;
- Subjects that include, but not limited to, activities and skills needed for practice, such as communication, intake procedures, assessment and evaluation, treatment planning, prevention, recordkeeping, First Aid, CPR, and knowledge of the chemical ingredients and safety of products and tools used in the practice of massage therapy;
- Clinical interventions/evidence-based models;
- Philosophy and principles of massage therapy;
- Subjects relating to health care, professional rules and regulations, standards of good practice, precautions, law, and/or ethics which contribute to professional practice in massage therapy and the health, safety, and/or welfare of the public.
- Is distance or online coursework acceptable?
Yes. Licensed massage therapists may complete all, or some, of continuing education in an online method.
- How many hours of continuing education must a licensed massage therapist complete to renew their triennial registration?
During each triennial registration period, meaning a registration period of three years' duration, an applicant for registration shall complete at least 36 hours of continuing education, acceptable to the Department, a maximum of 12 hours of which may be self-instructional coursework acceptable to the Department.
- Must sponsors of continuing education maintain records?
Sponsors must maintain records for six years from the completion of this coursework and must provide evidence of the satisfactory completion of such coursework to the massage therapist. The record of this coursework and the applicant’s satisfactory completion must include, but is not limited to:
- the name and curriculum vitae of the faculty, including evidence of licensure status for persons from out-of-state who give practical demonstrations as part of approved continuing education courses in New York State,
- the dates when the coursework was offered and the mode of presentation
- a record of attendance of licensed massage therapists in the course,
- for self-instructional coursework, an outline of the course, date and location of the course, and the number of hours for completion of the course.
In the event an approved sponsor discontinues operation, the governing body of such sponsor shall notify the Department and shall transfer all records as directed by the Department.
- Is there a fee?
The fee is $900 for three years.
- Does an approved sponsor have to reapply after three years?
Yes. Any organization wishing to continue sponsoring continuing education courses for New York licensees will have to reapply and pay the $900 fee at least 45 days before approval expiration to be approved for another three-year period.
Organizations that are deemed approved sponsors should submit the fee and a Deemed Sponsor Registration form.
All other sponsors should submit the fee and an Application for Approval as a Sponsor of Continuing Education for Massage Therapists with the appropriate supporting materials for Standards 1 through 6. If there is no change in the information in any section, you may simply indicate "no change" in that section.
- Can an organization offer continuing education courses as soon as an application is submitted?
No. The application must be approved before courses may be offered and counted toward the mandatory continuing education requirement.
Applications must be received at least 90 days prior to the date they will be offered. The amount of time it will take for the provider to be approved will vary and will largely depend upon how complete and accurate the application is when submitted.
- Are there any prohibitions regarding continuing education and coursework?
Yes. Continuing education that is designed for the sole purpose of maximizing profits for the practice of a massage therapist shall not be acceptable as continuing education.
In addition, coursework in techniques that do not fall in the practice of the profession of massage therapy, such as, but not limited to, Reiki, Feldenkrais Method, the Alexander Technique, or appearance enhancement practices as defined by the New York State Department of State shall not be acceptable as continuing education.
- Are there any prohibitions regarding the presenters of continuing education?
Presentations of didactic instruction may be provided by persons who are not licensed by the State of New York as massage therapists. The practical application of such modalities and techniques must be done by massage therapists licensed in New York, or those otherwise authorized to provide such services in New York, when the continuing education occurs in the State of New York.
Effective December 2014, Chapter 498 of the Laws of 2014 was enacted authorizing persons who are licensed and in good standing in another state or country to do demonstrations of massage therapy techniques during the mandated massage therapy continuing education courses that take place in New York State through approved sponsors. This law became effective when Chapter 10 of the laws of 2015 was enacted in March 2015.
- May individuals who are licensed and in good standing in another state or country provide practical demonstrations in the State of New York as part of continuing education courses offered through an entity not approved by the Department?
No. Such persons may not do demonstrations of massage therapy techniques unless they are sponsored by an entity that is approved by our Department to provide continuing education courses and only as part of those courses that have been accepted as meeting the requirements.
- May an individual, a group, a partnership, a business corporation, a not-for-profit corporation, or a professional service limited liability company or a professional service registered limited liability partnership, or any similar entity use an assumed name or corporate name, such as "institute," "academy," or any abbreviation or derivative of these terms in reference to education to describe or advertise their business or service?
No. Chapter 316 of the Laws of 2005 prohibits the use of the term "institute" or "academy" or other terms commonly related to education by individuals, groups, partnerships, business corporations, not-for-profit corporations, or professional limited liability entities to describe their services, activities or practices unless the authority to use these terms has been granted by the Board of Regents or the Commissioner of Education. This includes the use of a "DBA" (Doing-Business-As) to describe a practice.
For Entities That Are Deemed Approved as Sponsors of Continuing Education Under Section78.5(i)(2) of Commissioner's Regulations - For those entities that have been "Deemed Approved" in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.
For Entities That Are Not “Deemed Approved” as Providers of Continuing Education Under Section78.5(i)(3) of Commissioner's Regulations - For those entities that have not been "Deemed Approved" in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.