Careers: Improving Access – The International Massage Therapy Bridging Programme

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by Amanda Baskwill

Information in this article may be outdated.

In January 2007, Centennial College will offer the first international massage therapy bridging program in Canada. This program is intended for individuals who have been trained as massage therapists outside of Canada and now wish to practice in Ontario. As the standards for massage therapy in Ontario are among the highest in the world, most applicants require additional training or education to prepare them for the registration exams offered through the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO).

In a needs-assessment commissioned by the CMTO and conducted by Trish Dryden, MEd, RMT, Acting Director of the Applied Research Centre at Centennial College (Dryden, 2005), barriers for internationally educated massage therapists were identified.

It was recommended that an assessment process and bridging program be created that addressed the barriers and met the needs identified in candidates for registration. One of the needs identified was the socio-cultural aspect of massage therapy practice. For example, the idea of client-centred practice is different in various areas of the world. In addition, it is suspected that profession-specific language is needed by candidates despite their ability to successfully complete an English-language assessment.

It is in response to this needs assessment that Centennial College, in collaboration with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario with additional funding support from the Government of Ontario (through the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration), and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, has developed a bridging program. Twenty applicants who successfully complete a thorough assessment process will have the opportunity to take a part-time bridging programme that will combine a review of massage therapy knowledge and skills with enhanced language training.
It is through this integrated approach, in combination with classroom learning, practical lab time, online courses, community outreach and clinical opportunities, participants in this pilot project will work toward meeting the knowledge and skill requirements in Ontario. Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be eligible to write the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario registration exams.

Anyone who is interested in knowing more about this programme should visit the CMTO’s website ( or contact the project manager (416-289-5000 ext.8265) for more information or to download an application form.

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The facts are in! A study of the characteristics and experiences of immigrants seeking employment in regulated professions in Ontario. 2002;[1]. Available at:

Dryden, T. (2005). Improving access: an evaluation programme for internationally trained massage therapists.
Centennial College: Ontario.

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