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Massage Today
October, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 10

Veterans Eligible for Reimbursement for National Certification Exam

By Editorial Staff

Veterans of the armed services are now eligible for reimbursement for the costs of taking the National Certification Exam in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCETMB).

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently recognize the NCETMB in statute or rule; more than 50,000 tests have been administered nationally.

Any veteran qualifying under the GI Bill is now eligible for up to $2,000 reimbursement from the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA). Specifically, reimbursement will be provided for licensing and certification tests taken on or after March 1, 2001. The VA will pay for the cost of the tests (there is no limit to the number of tests one can take), but not for other fees connected with obtaining a license or certification. The current cost of the NCETMB is $225.

Legislation passed in November 2000 was initiated by the Coalition for Professional Certification (CPC), a professional certification advocacy group, allows for reimbursement of professional certification fees up to $2,000 if the certification program meets standards drafted by the CPC and adopted by Congress and the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Prospective massage therapists are eligible for NCETMB reimbursement if they are eligible for:

  1. The Montgomery G.I. Bill (MGIB or Chapter 30);
  2. VEAP (Chapter 32); or
  3. Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA or Chapter 35).

To apply for reimbursement of the NCETMB, applicants should send a copy of test results to the Veterans' Administration, along with the following information:

  • request for reimbursement, including the statement "I authorize release
  • of my test information to VA";
  • name and SSN; · name of test and date administered;
  • name/address of licensing/certification organization (in this case, the NCBTMB); and
  • cost of the test (excluding registration fees, preparation guides, processing fees, etc.)

First-time applicants for VA education benefits will need to submit an application for benefits along with the request for test reimbursement. Application forms can be downloaded from the VA website at Veterans or those on active duty will need VA Form 22-1990; eligible children and spouses will need VA Form 22-5490.

For more information on reimbursement of the NCETMB examination, contact the NCBTMB:

National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork
201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 300
McLean, VA 22102
Tel: 1-800-296-0664

To contact the United States Department of Veterans' Affairs with questions regarding reimbursement of test fees, or to mail your reimbursement application, contact the VA regional office in your area, or the VA office for your state. That information can be accessed on line at

Commenting on the legislation, NCBTMB Executive Director Christine Niero, PhD, enthused: "The national certification program will now be accessible to more individuals wishing to pursue careers as massage therapists and bodyworkers. The ever-increasing number of nationally certified massage therapists and bodyworkers assures the public's safety and further makes safe, competent massages and bodywork more available."


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