The Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) accredits both educational institutions and programs offering instruction in massage therapy and bodywork or esthetics and skin care. The organization was formed to establish and maintain the quality and integrity specific to the massage/bodywork and esthetics professions and is governed by a Commission of elected volunteers. COMTA was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a specialized accrediting agency in 2002, an acknowledgement of its expertise in ensuring quality education and allowing programs to access federal student aid funds.
COMTA is a specialized accrediting agency and is a proud member of ASPA, the Associations of Specialized and Programmatic Accreditors. ASPA is an association of organizations that evaluate the quality of programs in higher education for more than 100 different professions and specialized disciplines.
Each ASPA member organization has a common commitment to uphold standards that are rigorous, comprehensive and outcome-based, with specific attention directed to the professional or special purpose curriculum. The Commission’s Curriculum Competencies are an essential part of our review and unique to COMTA-accredited schools/programs.
When you are accredited by COMTA, you can be assured that the standards you are meeting reflect the national needs of the profession.
Standards of Accreditation
COMTA: A Brief History
Accreditation is a voluntary peer review process that identifies and acknowledges educational programs and/or institutions for achieving and maintaining a level of quality, performance and integrity based on educational and professional standards.
- Are set by practitioners and educators in the profession.
- Are designed to encompass diversity in curriculum competencies and organization – as well as methods of instruction – to reflect the diversity in professional practice.
- Are continually reviewed to ensure they reflect the most current practices and ethical guidelines.
- Are based on regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Education for accrediting bodies.
- Include complaint and appeals procedures to provide due process related to the interpretation of standards for individuals, programs and schools.
COMTA began as the Commission on Massage Training/Accreditation (COMTAA) in 1989 when it was created by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) to set educational standards for the massage therapy profession with a goal of eventual recognition by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). Over the next 13 years, with support from the AMTA, COMTAA approved and accredited massage therapy training programs and created policies and procedures required for USDE recognition. In 1999, the name of the organization was officially changed to the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) and on July 10, 2002 COMTA was recognized by the USDE as an approved institutional and programmatic accrediting agency of massage therapy schools and programs. In 2004, COMTA officially became independent from the AMTA. Since that time, COMTA’s recognized scope has expanded to include academic and occupational associate degree programs as well as esthetics and skin care programs. COMTA has maintained recognition by the U.S. Secretary of Education and was most recently awarded a full 5-year renewal in December 2015.