Good for schools, good for students, good for our profession
Students and schools can now look for a “seal-of-approval” to symbolize excellence: COMTA-Endorsed Curriculum. This innovative new status can stand on its own or be a pathway toward accreditation. Students get peace of mind knowing their program fulfills national competencies, while schools show their professionalism in voluntarily earning this meaningful designation. Better education will make for better graduates–leaving our profession in good hands for the future.
Below are the most common questions about the COMTA-Endorsed Curriculum status. To download or print this information in pdf form, click here: COMTA Endorsed Curriculum FAQ
What are the benefits of the COMTA-Endorsed Curriculum?
Many school owners and program directors have worked hard to create quality curriculum, and many have even used COMTA Curriculum Competencies as a model. However, they may not have the financial or staff resources to make accreditation a reality. This status was designed to serve this population by recognizing those of you providing curriculum and instruction which meets the Commission expectations.
You can use this recognition status as a point of pride in marketing your program to prospective students, setting you apart from others in your area. COMTA is the only specialized accrediting agency for massage/bodywork. We have been working with schools/programs since the 1980’s to establish and meet national standards for our field.
You can promote it to your state licensing boards who need to ensure certain curriculum/instructional standards in practitioners’ schooling but may not have the resources to vet each school themselves. We encourage state boards to consider the COMTA-Endorsed Curriculum status as it is designed to meet the intention of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board’s (FSMTB) Model Practice Act.
You will also be joining a network of dedicated professionals around the country. We encourage networking and mentoring among our members to collaborate in promoting the industry in our communities.
Am I eligible?
Any operational state-approved, post-secondary massage/bodywork* institution or program which meets state professional licensing requirements (or a minimum o 500 hours in the absence of licensing) AND the COMTA Curriculum Competencies is eligible to apply. The status is great for both unaccredited proprietary massage/bodywork schools and massage programs within institutions accredited by another agency.
*Esthetics not yet offered as endorsement status, but contact staff if interested.
What are the requirements?
How long is the recognition?
Four (4) years for both initial and renewal.
How much does it cost?
$3,000 application fee (may be paid in two installments with each application phase)
$1,000 site visit fee (covers all expenses for one-day, one-person visit)
$495 annual sustaining/membership fee
Contact COMTA staff for instructions on sending in payments with your application.
What are the application procedures?
There are two phases for the application, completed through our online submission system, EDvera:
- Phase I
- Phase II
- Endorsed Curriculum Addendum
- Site Visit: One-day, one-person visit to confirm application
*COMTA staff recommends starting with this document as it is the most time-intensive.
How long does the application process take?
It depends on the school. The process is more streamlined and shorter than accreditation. Depending on school preparedness and how aligned the program already is with the COMTA requirements, it takes approximately 3 – 6 months from application to approval. However, an application can be kept on file for up to one year before it expires.
Is there a site visit?
Yes. There is a one-day, one-person site visit with a qualified COMTA reviewer to confirm the application information and verify that the school/program meets the requirements. (An accreditation site visit requires two days with three or four reviewers.)
Will I get help if I do not yet meet all requirements?
Yes! The friendly COMTA staff is dedicated to helping all interested schools reach this level of quality. If the application cannot yet be approved, it will be held for up to one year while experienced staff or peer reviewers consult with you.
Why was the COMTA-Endorsed Curriculum (CEC) status developed?
In the last few years, there have been many national conversations about the need for improved and consistent educational standards in the massage/bodywork field. At the same time, there are many professionals who question mandatory accreditation because of the burden for smaller schools.
As a solution, the Commission unveiled this innovative status in May 2015 to recognize quality curriculum and instruction without the additional financial and administrative burden of accreditation. This will honor those schools doing exceptional work, incorporating the COMTA Curriculum Competencies and ELAP Outcomes into their programs, and help move the profession forward in a more inclusive manner.
COMTA-Endorsed Curriculum will focus on verifying the heart of what COMTA does: the curriculum and instruction, not the full operations of the school as is done in accreditation.
Is it the same as accreditation?
No. The COMTA-Endorsed Curriculum status does not qualify as accreditation and should not be accepted as an equal designation*. This recognition covers only the curriculum and instruction basics, and does not involve the same level of verification rigor as accreditation. Nor does it require the same level of expense or paperwork. The Commission remains proud of its accredited members who have achieved this level and encourages all schools to set accreditation as a goal. However, when that is not realistic, we are confident in the integrity of the Endorsed Curriculum status to fill a need.
*For those seeking accreditation as a pre-requisite to Title IV (federal financial aid), you must apply for institutional accreditation. In addition, where graduation from an “accredited institution or program” is required for licensure, Endorsed Curriculum status would not currently qualify.
What if I am already accredited by COMTA? Can I get this designation?
It’s yours! You have already gone above and beyond these requirements, so all current and future COMTA-accredited schools and programs will automatically receive the COMTA-Endorsed Curriculum designation to publish and promote in addition to their accreditation status. (Logo coming soon.)
What if I want to get accredited later?
The COMTA-Endorsed Curriculum (CEC) was designed to transition smoothly into accreditation should you choose to continue. The CEC application fee will be credited directly to the accreditation application fee with only the additional Self-Study Report and extended site visit process and fees. Contact COMTA staff for details.
How do I apply?
Contact COMTA staff at email@example.com or 202-888-6790 and ask to be added to the COMTA online submission system (called EDvera) to submit an application.
Or you can go directly to https://comta.edvera.com and click “Request an Account*.”
*In your request, include the institution’s full name, address, phone number, web address, as well as the first/last name, position title and email address of all users on the account.