The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC) regulates the profession of massage therapy in BC. The College acts on behalf of the public to ensure that registered massage therapists (RMTs) in BC deliver safe, ethical and effective treatment.

Registration Examinations

Completing CMTBC’s registration examinations is a key step in registration with the College for the following two types of applicants:

Applicants who are registrants in good standing from other provinces where massage therapy is regulated – Ontario, Newfoundland/Labrador, and New Brunswick – do not need to write registration examinations. These applicants, do, however, need to write a jurisprudence exam. See RMTs From Ontario, Newfoundland/Labrador, and New Brunswick for more information.

The registration examinations consist of four components: two written exams, an online course and exam, and performance-based assessment (practical exam).

After successful completion of registration examinations and meeting other requirements, individuals may register with CMTBC and become registered massage therapists entitled to practice massage therapy in BC.

Application for registration examinations

Applicants for registration must apply to write registration examinations by logging in to the CMTBC Online Portal and completing the Application for Registration - Graduates of BC Recognized Education Programs or Application For Registration - Applicants From Non-Regulated Provinces or Internationally Educated.

Examination fees

The following fees apply:

  • Examination Fee: $1,200
  • Re-examination (written or online): $275
  • Re-examination (practical): $650

When and where will the next registration examinations be held?

The next Registration Examination will be held in the spring of 2017. Please check here for updates in February 2017.

Written examination components

There are two examinations:

  • 9:00 am: Clinical Science. 125 questions. 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • 1:30 pm: Knowledge and Theory of Sciences. 170 questions. 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Written examinations commence at 9:00 am and 1:30 pm. Candidates must report 20 minutes prior to the examination start time to sign in.

The examination questions are multiple choice. Computer answer sheets are used in each examination.

Online course and examination

Examination candidates will be enrolled in CMTBC’s online course: Law, Ethics and Professionalism. These topics were previously covered in a written multiple-choice examination. The online course provides updated material for you to study and quizzes to confirm what you are learning as you progress through the material. There will be a final examination at the end of the course.

CMTBC’s course on Law, Ethics and Professionalism consists of ten modules. Each module includes interactive learning tools to illustrate situations that arise in clinical settings, and to provide insight to RMTs’ obligations to the broad community of interest.

At the end of each module, applicants must successfully pass a quiz on the contents of that module to progress to the next one. All material required to succeed in the modules is provided within each module. Applicants are encouraged to take their time with the material, follow the links, use the tools, and reflect on their practice.

On completion of all ten modules, applicants are eligible to complete the online exam in a proctored environment at a scheduled time and date. See when and where the next registration examinations will be held for details.

Performance-based assessment (practical examination) components

A detailed description of the performance-based assessment can be viewed in the following video.

The exam will be held in clinic rooms with one examiner and one patient-examiner, who are both RMTs.

Candidates will be asked to demonstrate palpation, muscle testing, interview skills, assessment techniques appropriate to the presenting condition, massage treatment skills, home care including hydrotherapy, stretch and strengthening recommendations, and suggestions for modifications to activities of daily living.

The examiners observe how the candidate’s treatment relates to the presenting condition, in addition to draping and support during the treatment. Limb handling and treatment modifications for the patient’s ability are assessed. Candidates are also graded on communications, professionalism, integration of academic knowledge into practical competencies, and their skill at building a therapeutic relationship.

The performance-based assessment has three stations. Each station includes 5 minutes preparation time prior to beginning the respective station.

Part 1: Muscles and structures. 25 minutes duration.

Before entering Room 1

The candidate will receive written instructions outside the exam room. Several minutes are available to review the information provided.

Palpation section

The candidate will have 20 minutes to palpate the origin, course, and insertion of four muscles listed on the instruction sheet, and to demonstrate all the actions of each muscle followed by a complete muscle test for each muscle. Muscles are palpated on the standardized patient. Muscle actions are demonstrated by the candidate on their own body.

The candidate will record the results of each muscle test.

The candidate will have 5 minutes to identify or palpate four other anatomical structures listed on the instruction sheet.

Prior to leaving the room, the candidate will give the chart and instruction sheet to the examiners in Room 1. An examiner will guide the candidate to the next step, a chair outside Room 2.

Part 2: Interview and assessment (case scenario). 25 minutes duration.

Before entering Room 2

The candidate will receive written instructions outside the exam room. The candidate will also receive a:

  • patient history form partially filled in by the patient,
  • interview chart, for candidate to record their findings,
  • assessment chart, and
  • treatment plan.

The assigned condition will be indicated in the patient history form.

Five minutes are provided to review this information prior to entering Room 2.

Interview and assessment

The candidate will interview the standardized patient. Based on information gathered in the interview, the candidate selects two physical assessment tests or techniques they consider most appropriate. The candidate will have 15 minutes to interview the standardized patient and to perform two assessments.

After assessments, the candidate charts their findings. Candidates are welcome to make quick chart entries while conducting the interview and while performing assessments, but may not extend the time dedicated to the interview (7.5 minutes) and the assessments (7.5 minutes). Complete chart entries are made in the additional time provided for charting while the candidate is in Room 2. Instructions will be provided.

When it is time, an examiner will ask the candidate to gather their completed charts and follow the examiner into the hallway, and then be seated in a chair outside Room 3.

Part 3: Treatment and home care. 55 minutes duration.

Before entering Room 3

The candidate will receive written instructions outside the exam room. The candidate will chart a treatment plan based on their interview and assessment findings, and knowledge of the patient’s condition. Five minutes will be available to complete the treatment plan.


Candidates will position, drape, communicate with, and treat the patient appropriately for the given condition. The 30-minute treatment must be effective for the condition.

After the treatment, candidates complete ‘treatment notes’ on the chart provided.

Home Care

Ten minutes are provided for the candidate to instruct their patient on hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercise (stretching and strengthening), and recommendations for modification to activities of daily living.

Candidates will complete their chart entries in the remaining time available, and hand all charts and instructions to the examiners prior to leaving the room. An examiner will direct the candidate to the reception area.

Policy on Accommodation of Examination Candidates with Disabilities

Exam candidates who require accommodation for a documented disability or special need must apply for accommodation at the same time that they submit their Application for Registration Examinations. The College’s approach to considering requests for accommodation is set out in the Policy on Accommodation of Examination Candidates with Disabilities (PDF). Exam candidates must complete an Accommodation Eligibility Questionnaire for Registration Applicants (Form 21) (PDF), and provide documentation from a qualified health care practitioner in the Accommodation Request Verification Form (Form 22) (PDF).

Repeat candidates who previously received accommodation are required to contact to arrange for accommodation of their next attempt.

Recommended resources for registration examinations

Prior to writing examinations, all applicants should review the list of Recommended Resources For The Registration Examinations (PDF).

Dress code for examinations

Exam candidates are asked not to wear clothing with school logos. In consideration of examiners and other candidates who have allergies, candidates are asked to refrain from wearing scented products at the examinations.

Written and online examinations are held in air-conditioned facilities. Layered clothing is recommended. Bulky clothing that may conceal notes is not permitted.

Candidates are expected to present themselves in professional clinical attire for the performance-based assessments.

Supplies and personal effects

Candidates at the written exams are to bring 2 HB pencils, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener. Candidates at the online examination require no supplies. Government-issued photo identification is required in both exam settings. Water is permitted, in a clear bottle.

No personal effects are permitted on the examination writing tables. All books, backpacks, purses, wallets, and personal items, including electronics (i.e. cell phones, tablets, ‘smart’ watches, other) are to be left in safe storage provided at the examination facility. Anyone found with an electronic device during the examinations will be immediately disqualified.

Examiners and Invigilators

The examiners at the performance-based assessment are Registered Massage Therapists who have had no less than five years of practical clinical experience and post graduate training. Examiners have a variety of backgrounds and comprehensive clinical practice experience.

Invigilators at the written and online exams are responsible for signing in candidates, assigning seating, and overseeing the examinations. They will neither interpret nor clarify questions for candidates. The invigilators will assist if there is information missing in the examination package, to oversee washroom facilities, and to ensure quiet space. The invigilators maintain exam security and supervise for cheating.


Candidates caught cheating will receive an automatic failure and not be permitted to sit the exams again without permission from CMTBC’s Registration Committee.

Grading and notification of results

Candidates must achieve at least 70% on each of the two written papers, achieve competency standards in the performance-based assessment (practical examination), and successfully complete the online course and examination titled: Law, Ethics and Professionalism. There is no averaging of marks over the four components of the registration examinations. A successful grade must be achieved in each component for a candidate to qualify for registration.

In the performance-based assessment, candidates who demonstrate injurious treatment methods or are deemed to have harmed the patient-examiner will be considered to be at risk of harm and given a failing grade.

Candidates will receive official notification of results by mail approximately six weeks after scheduled components of the examinations are complete, following comprehensive review of the results by psychometric analysts.

Candidates are requested to not phone the College requesting exam results. Results will not be given over the phone.

Deadline for successful completion of all components of registration examinations

Applicants must successfully complete all four components of the registration examinations within two years of their first attempt at registration examinations.  

Example: Natalie passed the Sciences, Clinical Sciences, and Law, Ethics and Professionalism components of the registration examinations in September, 2015. She will have until September 2017 to successfully complete the Performance Based Assessment (PBA) component of registration examinations. If Natalie does not pass the PBA by September 2017, she will have to submit a new “Application for Registration” to the College.


Applicants who receive a “fail” grade on any component of the registration examinations will need to repeat that component.

2nd Attempt

Applicants are entitled to retake any failed component of the registration examinations once (a 2nd attempt).

3rd Attempt

Applicants may be able to make a 3rd attempt if they do one or both of the following:

  • Successfully complete one or more courses acceptable to the Registration Committee on the subjects contained in the failed component(s) of the registration examinations; and/or
  • Submit a written request to the Registration Committee to allow a 3rd attempt that sets out the reasons why the request should be granted.

The Registration Committee has the sole discretion to grant or refuse a request for a 3rd attempt at the registration examinations.

4th Attempt

Applicants may be able to make a 4th attempt if they submit a written request to the Registration Committee to allow a 4th attempt. The written request must set out the reasons why the request should be granted. The Registration Committee may grant or refuse the request in accordance with criteria established by the Board.

Reapplication Required

Applicants whose requests for additional attempts have been refused and applicants who fail on the 4th attempt must submit a new “Application for Registration” to the College.  Successful results on any portion of the registration examinations that were achieved one year prior to submitting the new “Application for Registration” may be brought forward.

Example: Nicholas passed the Sciences component of the registration examinations on his second attempt in September 2014, the Clinical Sciences component in March 2015, and the Law, Ethics and Professionalism component in September 2015. He was not able to pass the Performance Based Assessment component on his final attempt and must now submit a new “Application for Registration.” He submitted his new application in January 2016. Nicholas can bring forward his successful result from the Clinical Sciences and the Law, Ethics and Professionalism components of the registration examinations because they were completed less than one year from the date of his new application. However, he must retake the Sciences component of the registration examinations while he attempts to successfully complete the Performance Based Assessment component.  

Analysis of failed examinations  

Applicants can request a detailed written analysis of failed registration examination component(s) in three areas: Clinical Science, Knowledge and Theory of Sciences, and the Performance Based Assessment.  The cost of the analysis is $125 per component. The analysis will identify areas of weakness in the failed components of the registration examinations to help applicants focus their studies on those areas, prior to any subsequent attempts to re-take the examination. Requests for an analysis must be made in writing and delivered to the College by the deadline indicated in the letter sent to candidates with grades. Candidates who fail the Law, Ethics and Professionalism online examination must repeat the course and re-take the examination.

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