It’s Only a Matter of Time: Clock Hours vs. Competency

Whitney Lowe, LMT


What does it mean to be competent and why is this so important? While there is no generally accepted definition of competency, there are key components that should guide the emerging movement of competency-based education (CBE). In addition, entry-level massage curricula typically run from approximately 500 clock hours to 3000 hours or more. This discrepancy demonstrates markedly divergent opinions on what constitutes the required amount of time (content) for entry-level massage and bodywork curriculum. Some programs have begun using competency models, but there is no broad implementation of CBE. A first step is to come to some agreement on what competencies are actually needed for an entry-level massage therapist. A current effort is underway in the United States that should lay essential groundwork for greater adoption of CBE models

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International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
ISSN 1916-257X