Frequently Asked Questions

Qualifying Exams

If this section does not answer all of your questions, we invite you to contact the MTAS office.

Click here to download the current MQE handbook

1. What is the minimum education required in order to challenge the Member Qualifying Examination?
A minimum 2,200 hour massage therapy diploma from a recognized school.

2. What information do I need to provide in order to write the Examination?

  • Clean current criminal record check (incl. vulnerable sector search).
  • Current CPR level C and Standard First Aid certificate (if you are a registered nurse, EMT, paramedic, first responder or fire fighter, in lieu of first aid certification we will accept a copy of your license from the appropriate regulatory body.  CPR certificate is required from all applicants).
  • Massage school transcript.
  • Completed exam application form and payment. ​

3. When are the Examinations held, and where?

The dates for 2024 are to be determined - watch this space for more details
August 17 and 18 - Saskatoon   Registration form coming soon!

4. What is the cost to write the Examination?

  • $215.00 including tax for those who graduated prior to November 1, 2023.  
  • Free for new graduates.

5. What is the structure of the Examination? What will I be tested on?

  • The written exam is 200 multiple choice questions - time allowed 3 hours. Includes anatomy, pathology and physiology, kinesiology, massage techniques, ethics, thermal therapy.
  • The oral-practical exam is 90 minutes long and includes a case study, anatomy and land marking, and orthopedic testing.

       a. Written Examination Process

  • Drinking water is provided – please do not bring food or drinks into the examination room.  Medication, throat lozenges etc. are acceptable.
  • At the registration area, line up in an orderly manner to present your photo ID and complete the sign-in sheet.  You will be given your MQE ID number on two (2) adhesive labels – one is for your exam booklet, the other for your exam answer sheet.  Please place them in the spaces indicated.
  • You are expected to be punctual.  If you are late, you will not be permitted into the examination room and will forfeit your payment.
  • Pens, pencils and notepaper are provided.  All materials must remain in the examination room.
  • When you enter the exam room, there will be answer sheets and question booklets on the tables – do not open the exam booklet until told to do so by the Chief Examiner.  Failure to comply may disqualify you from the exam.
  • Once everyone is seated, the Chief Examiner will greet the candidates and make some announcements.  Please listen closely so that you do not delay the start of the exam by asking for the announcements to be repeated.  If you did not understand or could not hear, raise your hand and someone will assist you.
  • There is a clock in the exam room – make note of the exam start time so you can pace yourself. 
  • The Chief Examiner will announce when 1 hour has elapsed, when 2 hours have elapsed and when there are 30 minutes and 15 minutes remaining.
  • During the exam you should not act in any way that could be interpreted as trying to see another candidate’s answer sheet, or have anything around you other than the materials provided. 
  • Be as quiet as possible – the other candidates are all trying to concentrate, so do not disturb or distract them.
  • If you have to leave your seat, make sure that your answer sheet is underneath the exam booklet and cannot be seen by anyone else.
  • If you need to use the washroom, raise your hand and you will be escorted by the MTAS staff support person.
  • The Chief Examiner is there to oversee the exam and to ensure that the examination conditions are observed.  She cannot help you with any of the questions, so please do not ask.  If you think there is a typographical error, raise your hand so that it may be dealt with quietly.
  • Use the notepaper provided to write any comments you wish to make.  This feedback is used to assist in identifying problematic questions.  Do not make comments orally to the Chief Examiner.
  • The written exams are important for every candidate.  Your co-operation with the support staff and Chief Examiner and your courtesy towards other candidates will help to ensure that everyone has the chance to do their best.

       b. Oral/Practical Exam Process

  • You will be informed by letter of the specific time and day for your oral/practical examination.  There is a 90-minute examination time allotment for each candidate, plus 15 minutes preparation time.  Please expect to be at the practical exam site for approximately two hours in total and arrive no earlier than 10-15 minutes before your scheduled examination time.
  • You are expected to be punctual.  If you are late, you will not be permitted into the exam and will forfeit your payment.
  • Massage tables are provided.  These are set to one height and cannot be adjusted.
  • Linens, lotion, hand sanitizer, latex gloves and tissues are provided.
  • Drinking water is provided – please do not bring food or drinks into the examination room.
  • At the registration area, line up in an orderly manner to present your photo ID and complete the sign-in procedure. 
  • At the end of the examination, please vacate the premises as quickly as possible so that the examination teams can prepare for the next group of candidates.
  • Do not discuss your examination experience or examination content with other candidates.
  • If you have concerns in regards to the oral/practical examination or your results, these must be addressed formally, in writing, to the MTAS office.

Candidates will be evaluated in one station, by two examiners.  There is no coaching or leading by the examiners and THE CANDIDATE IS ENTIRELY RESPONSIBLE FOR TIME MANAGEMENT.   There is a clock in each exam station.  The lead examiner will be directing and recording the exam.  The body examiner will also be recording at the end of the exam.  You should expect that the examiners will be writing throughout your examination.

During the examination you will also be marked on presentation and professional demeanour.  This examination is a process to determine your eligibility to join the profession of massage therapy.  Along with assessing your practical skills as a practitioner, the examiners will expect you to display competence, courtesy and professionalism.

You will be undergoing an independent evaluation from the examiner and body examiner.  Both examiners are registered massage therapists with MTAS with at least three years of clinical experience and who are trained to provide impartial and fair evaluations.  Examiners assess each candidate according to a pre-determined checklist of criteria based on the National Competency Profile, the MTAS Standards of Practice and other approved clinical references.

Please follow the instructions carefully – you are responsible for the time management of your examination and will be questioned only minimally by the examiners.  Examiners will not stop candidates who have gone off course or who are doing something other than what is instructed, except to ask that you refer back to your printed instructions.

You are advised not to ask the examiners how you have done, and they are required not to comment on your performance.  The examiners do not know where you took your training, the marks you received at school or in your written examination.  They will not know the results of your success or failure and are instructed not to divulge any information or details to candidates.

The body examiner is there to represent a client.  He/she will be marking your palpation, case history, interview skills, assessment and treatment.  You are requested to treat them as you would a client - with respect and care. The body examiner will report if a candidate displays injurious behaviour or treatment.  This will be deemed risk of harm and will be reported to the Chief Examiner.

You will be examined on the following in the 90 minutes allotted time:

Section One: case study (60 minutes total).

Includes case history, interview, assessments, hands-on treatment, wrap up and home care. The candidate will be asked to perform a treatment from beginning to end as one would perform in the clinic environment.  

When the time for your examination has arrived, you will be escorted by the Chief Examiner into the preparation area, where you will be given the “Instructions to Candidates”.  This includes a case history on which you will be examined.  You will have 15 minutes in which to prepare – paper is provided for you to make any notes you feel are relevant.  You may refer to these notes at any time during the examination.  The notes will not be marked.  After the preparation time, the CEX escorts the candidates to the exam stations, where they will read aloud the “Instructions to Candidates” and are expected to do a complete interview and assessment with the body examiner.  At the end of this time the candidate is to state which case study they are treating and to get informed consent.  The candidate will then give a hands-on massage treatment.  During this hands-on massage the candidate is to explain, in all stages, the causes, signs and symptoms, hydrotherapy, treatment including techniques, muscles and structures, contraindications, remedial exercises and home care, treatment frequency and possible outcomes of the case study.

At the conclusion of the treatment, the candidate is expected to give appropriate home care, one stretching exercise, one strengthening exercise and one hydrotherapy application.

Section Two: anatomy and land marking, orthopedic testing and technique demonstration (30 minutes total).

  • Structure identification and palpation.
  • Soft tissue origin, insertion and action.
  • Knowledge and proper application of ROM/special/orthopedic tests.
  • Demonstration of specific massage techniques

Candidates will be marked on knowledge of and competency in practical skills; client/therapist communication; professionalism (mannerisms, attire, grooming) and draping/client positioning.
Be clear and concise when answering questions and remember that THE CANDIDATE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TIME MANAGEMENT.

This includes the specific format the exam will follow, and includes candidate, writer examiner and body examiner exam templates.

Marking Procedures and Results

  • A passing grade is 70% on the written exam and 75% on the practical exam.  
  • All candidates will receive written notification of their final results (“Mastered” or “Non-mastered”) within two weeks after the examination date (the turnaround time is usually much faster than this however).  If you wish to have your results sent via e-mail, written authorization is required – a form will be provided for this purpose.
  • Specific percentage marks will not be revealed to candidates. 
  • All examinations become and remain the property of MTAS.
  • Decisions of the Examination Committee are confidential.
  • All results are confidential. Educational institutions are sent only a statistical report on how the students from each school performed on the exam overall. Schools do not receive an attendance list or any individually identified marks.

6. What happens if I do not pass all or part of the Examination?

Candidates are allowed to rewrite the portion of the exam they did not master.  You need only pay for the portion that you did not pass. Only two rewrites are permitted (i.e. you may write the exam three times). 

7. Is there a recommended resource list to which I can refer before the Examination?

Yes, it is included in the Member Qualifying Examination Handbook - download this document here. 

  • Our Member Qualifying Examination assesses entry-level readiness for practice.  
  • Candidates should review the Exam Handbook carefully as this resources provides an detailed overview of the exam process and format.
  • Graduates of recognized education programs are expected to have the depth and breadth of knowledge represented by resources named in this list.
  • Massage therapy theory, evidence, and education are constantly changing and individual schools provide resources that support their specific curriculum and learning outcomes.  As in all professions, there is no single authority, and there may be variation in how knowledge and skills are presented in the resources included in the resource list.  Exam material is selected in a manner that minimizes variation.

8. Why do you have a Member Qualifying Examination?

  • We qualify our members to provide assurance to the public that a therapist is capable of practicing competently, safely and in accordance with our Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.  MTAS is registered in Saskatchewan under the Non-Profit Corporations Act and therefore must develop and maintain bylaws, policies and procedures and a complaints and discipline process to effectively govern the organization and define the profession of massage therapy.  Massage therapy is a powerful component of health care with inherent risks and benefits, and must be applied by skilled and knowledgeable clinicians.
  • We qualify our members as part of our agreement with the Workers' Compensation Board and Saskatchewan Government Insurance, which is that the massage therapy they pay for is administered by MTAS members only.
  • We qualify our members because we believe in validating the process of massage therapy education by applying rigorous evaluative standards.  We believe in the professionalization of massage therapists and the intrinsic worth of the therapy when applied by demonstrably skilled and knowledgeable practitioners.
  • We qualify our members because we must as part of our membership requirements with the CMTA (Canadian Massage Therapist Association).  This is a voluntary national organization composed of provincial and territorial professional associations with a membership of over 3500 therapists.  A fundamental criterion for membership in the CMTA is a minimum 2,200 hour educational curriculum.  The CMTA recognizes the need to work towards national standards that are based in occupational competencies rather than hours of training, but no such national standards agreement is in place at this time.

Click here to download our Frequently Asked Questions/Member Benefits brochure, designed specifically for students.