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Massage Today
June, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 06

U.S. Dept. of Education to Approve COMTA as National Accrediting Agency

By Editorial Staff

As we go to press, the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) awaits official approval as a national accrediting agency from Rod Paige, secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

Last December, COMTA presented a petition for recognition to the USDE's National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which reviews petitioners' compliance with federal regulations. The committee voted unanimously to recommend approval as a national accrediting agency.

COMTA's status as a national accrediting agency will provide an opportunity for COMTA-accredited schools to apply for participation in the Title IV Federal Financial Aid program. This will give students of COMTA-accredited schools access to grants and student loans.

However, Carole Ostendorf, executive director of COMTA, told Massage Today that the full impact of USDE recognition on the profession will go far beyond student financial aid:

"Accreditation for schools and program is a voluntary process to engage in peer review reflecting the standards identified within the profession. With the increased awareness of the value of massage therapy, comes the expectation of accountability. Practitioners are accountable to the public trust through regulation and licensure, whether local or state. Schools are also accountable in some states to regulatory bodies within the state in an effort to protect the public trust. Accreditation within a profession provides a forum for national standards for schools and programs engaged in the educational process. These educational institutions are preparing the future practitioners who we all rely on for the quality of therapeutic benefit they will provide. These future practitioners have a right to expect a quality education that prepares them for their future.

"USDE recognition provides a level of confidence in COMTA -- requiring COMTA to meet the nationally recognized criteria for accreditation agencies throughout the U.S. This means that COMTA meets all of the recognition criteria identified by the Department of Education. This provides assurance for the profession and the public that the accreditation agency has met the standards set for accrediting agencies by the federal government.

"COMTA's vision is to be the accrediting agency of course for massage therapy education. This vision is directly linked to the commitment to engage in ongoing dialogue with the profession to assure that the standards reflect the educational needs for the successful graduate of massage therapy education."

For more information on COMTA, visit You can also contact the commission at the address listed below:

Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation
820 Davis Street, Suite 100
Evanston, IL 60201-4444
Tel: (847) 869-5039
Fax: (847) 864-1178


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