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Practice Hours

Introduction

As part of its redesigned Quality Assurance program, CMTBC is introducing a practice hours requirement.

Practice hours are one indicator of an RMT’s continued competence. Working a minimum level of practice hours, within a specified time period, demonstrates that an RMT has current practice knowledge. This in turn helps to build public trust in the RMT’s ability to provide safe, competent, and ethical treatment to patients.

Requirement

To maintain Practising registration with CMTBC, an RMT will be required to make, during the registration renewal process, a declaration that they have obtained 500 practice hours within the previous three (3) years, or that they have met the practice hours requirement through one of the alternatives listed below.

Registrants will be asked to report their practice hours for the first time when completing registration renewal for 2026.

Each year, when reporting on the practice hours requirement, registrants will be asked to report on the three-year period immediately preceding renewal.

Meeting the requirement

A practising RMT can successfully meet their practice hours requirement in one of the following ways:

  • Obtain 500 practice hours within the previous three years.
  • Recent graduation from a massage therapy education program that is fully accredited by the Canadian Massage Therapy Council for Accreditation (CMTCA).
  • Successful completion of CMTBC-approved remedial course work within the last 18 months, or another approved substitution for the requirement.

Practice hours can only be acquired by an RMT while they hold Practising status with CMTBC.

If an RMT who holds Practising registration has not met the practice hours requirement for the preceding three years, they will be required to complete a substitution for those practice hours, such as College-approved remedial course work. The practising RMT will be given a deadline to complete the substituted activity and will not immediately be required to change their practice status or to resign registration.

Practice hours activities

Practice hours are one way in which an RMT maintains and demonstrates continued competence in their professional role as a massage therapist.

Practice hours are acquired when a practicing RMT performs professional activities that fall within the scope of practice of massage therapy, as defined by the Massage Therapists Regulation.   

Activities that can be used towards practice hours include:

  • Clinical practice.
  • Working as an Educator/Clinical Supervisor in a massage therapy education program that is fully accredited by CMTCA.
  • Teaching in post-graduate education, courses, or conferences that fall within the scope of practice of massage therapy.
  • Regulatory or professional association work.
  • Working in a research or academic position.

Activities that cannot be used towards practice hours include:

  • Participation in continuing education activities.
  • Study groups.
  • Mentorships.
  • Vacation or sick leave.

Reporting and documenting practice hours

Reporting

Each year at registration renewal, all Practising RMTs and Non-practising RMTs renewing as Practising will be required to make a declaration that they have met the practice hours requirement in one of the three ways listed above over the preceding three-year period.

Declaration of practice hours obtained by an RMT over the preceding three-year period (2023, 2024, 2025) as a requirement for registration renewal will begin during the 2026 registration renewal period.

The following year, during the 2027 registration renewal period, RMTs will be required to make a declaration that they have met the practice hours requirement over the preceding three-year period (2024, 2025, 2026). This process will continue for the 2028 registration renewal period and future registration renewal.

If a Practising RMT (or a Non-practising RMT who is renewing as Practising) indicates during the registration renewal process that they did not achieve the required practice hours, the College will contact them to discuss the requirement to complete remedial course work.

Further details regarding the process of remedial course work will be provided closer to registration renewal for 2026.

Documentation

RMTs are individually responsible for keeping track of their practice hours for each year.

CMTBC knows that RMTs practice in different locations and contexts; some RMTs have an employer, while others are self-employed. RMTs can refer to different forms of documentation for evidence of their practice hours, such as: employment records (paystubs, T4 slips, etc.); their appointment or daybook; their booking schedule in an online scheduling and charting platform; business records; etc.

RMTs are required to keep certain records relating to patient appointments; for example, subsections 3(1)(c) and (d) of the Standard for Patient Records (Schedule “E” to the Bylaws) state that a registrant must create and maintain the following records:

  • a record with respect to each patient containing the date of the service rendered, type of service, charge made for the service, and record of payment, and
  • for each day, keep a day book, daily diary, appointment sheets or equivalent containing the names of patients seen or treated, or in respect of whom professional services are rendered.

When reporting practice hours, registrants will not be required to upload any supporting documentation to the Registrant Portal. CMTBC will conduct random audits to verify that registrants accurately report their practice hours, contacting those registrants who are audited for submission of practice hours documentation.

Examples of meeting the practice hours requirement for renewal for 2026

  • Lin, an RMT who held Practising status for the entire three-year period, met the practice hours requirement by working in clinical practice for over 500 hours.
    • Lin’s documentation consists of:
      • Records from an online scheduling and record-keeping platform, JaneApp. Lin accessed their calendar on JaneApp each quarter, and printed out the pages showing the total number of 60-minute and 45-minute treatments provided (without patient names visible). This ensured that when Lin moved clinics in 2024 and did not maintain ongoing access to the previous clinic’s JaneApp account, Lin had appropriate documentation on hand.
  • Dylan, an RMT who held Practising status for two years and Non-practising status for one year in the three-year period immediately preceding registration renewal, met the practice hours requirement by working in clinical practice and as a teacher at an approved massage therapy education
    • Dylan’s documentation consists of:
      • Dylan’s hand-written appointment book for hours obtained through clinical practice.
      • Paystubs from the massage therapy education program showing hours worked.
  • Bobbie, an RMT who held Practising status for the entire three-year period, met the practice hours requirement by teaching post-graduate courses and through regulatory work.
    • Bobbie’s documentation consists of:
      • Business records, including invoices and payment confirmations for teaching their post-graduate courses.
      • Records relating to time spent acting as a Performance Based Assessor for the College’s entry-to-practice examination.

Why 500 hours over three years?

CMTBC is satisfied that 500 hours over three years is sufficient to ensure currency of practice while still being achievable by RMTs working part-time or those who take a break from practice (such as parental leave) during the three-year period. Also, the requirement for 500 practice hours over three years was based in part on labour mobility considerations (as discussed further below).

CMTBC was able to rely on information gathered from registrants through a voluntary survey conducted in 2019 for the purpose of gathering information about RMT practice to help inform the new Quality Assurance program. The survey gathered information on the reasons why RMTs used Non-practising status, the length of time RMTs held Non-practising status, and RMTs’ patient care volumes. Most commonly, RMTs used Non-practising status for parental leave, for a length of time of approximately one year.

When asked about their patient care volumes, RMTs reported treating an average of 11-30 patients a week.

Based on the responses from registrants, CMTBC has created the following examples:

Based on one-hour sessions, an RMT would accumulate between 528-1,440 hours per year toward their practice hours requirement.

  • 11 patients/week = 11 hours/week for 48 weeks = 528 hours per year
  • 30 patients/week = 30 hours/week for 48 weeks = 1,440 hours per year

Based on 30-minute sessions, an RMT would accumulate between 264-720 hours per year toward their practice hours requirement.

  • 11 patients/week = 5.5 hours/week for 48 weeks = 264 hours per year
  • 30 patients/week = 15 hours/week for 48 weeks = 720 hours per year

Do other health professions have a practice hours requirement?

Other health profession regulators across Canada also require their registrants to report a minimum number of practice hours, as an indicator of continued competence and currency to practice.

A few examples are:

  • College of Physical Therapists of BC
    • 1,200 hours/5 years
  • College of Occupational Therapists of BC
    • 600 hours/3 years
  • College of Kinesiologists of Ontario
    • 1,500 hours/3 years

Practice hours play a role in labour mobility between regulated provinces, allowing for a regulatory body to know that a new RMT, who becomes a registrant through labour mobility, has met similar practice hour requirements as a measure of currency in practice and continued competence in the previous regulated jurisdiction.

The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario requires its registrants to obtain 500 practice hours over three years. This requirement has been in place for approximately 30 years under Ontario legislation. The regulatory colleges in other provinces where massage therapy is regulated — the College of Massage Therapists of New Brunswick, the College of Massage Therapists of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the College of Massage Therapists of Prince Edward Island — also all require their registrants to obtain 500 practice hours over a three-year period.

For more information

Questions? Please see the Quality Assurance Frequently Asked Questions page or email [email protected] with the subject line “Practice Hours”.

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