Written By Franklin Evan Kiley
To date, the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) has placed nearly 100 schools on the Unapproved and Related Categories list, leaving thousands of students desperate. I am one of those students, and this is my story.
I attended Advanced Beauty College (ABC) and in February of 2016, graduated from their 600 hour massage therapy program (only 500 hours are required for certification). ABC was officially un-approved by the CAMTC in September of 2016. They determined that educational hours earned from ABC after July 1st 2016 wouldn’t be accepted. My hours were completed and application submitted 7 months prior to that determination. At that time I was never made aware that ABC was being investigated. Because they were being investigated by the Council, my application was held in question. After waiting over a year for an answer from the CAMTC, they officially denied my application in March of 2017 and I wasn’t officially notified until the end of May, 2017.
Senate Bill 314 Passes Unanimously
On April 24th, 2017 Senator Nguyen went before the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee to propose Senate Bill 314. The Bill was an effort to protect students like myself who had been caught in the middle ground, grey area and had already completed their massage education (read SB 314 here). I was invited to fly to Sacramento that day and testified on the senate floor in favor of SB 314 and it ended up passing unanimously. Consequently, I was notified by the CAMTC one month after I had testified that my application was officially denied – with an effective date of a month before I had testified. I guess I finally got their attention and you can see why I felt like I had painted a target on myself. By doing that, they made it so that the very Bill I went there to support, wouldn’t even apply to my case anymore because the CAMTC could just tell me I had already been denied.
The Absurd Two-Year Wait Policy
The CAMTC has an absurd policy that if your application is denied, you must wait two years before you can apply again, and you must pay all fees once again. Now that 2 years has passed since I was officially denied, I am able to reapply. I hesitate to do this because I don’t feel confident that I have a fair chance of getting approved by the CAMTC. They are obligated by law to accept the hours I earned from ABC, but will require me to pass an educational hearing. They can simply deny me for the same reasons as before. I lost all faith in the CAMTC to do the right thing. I followed every step required by them exactly, passed each one and submitted an application I was proud of. I never doubted for a second that I would be approved and licensed – and yet here I am. And I am not alone. There are thousands of people like me that have been negatively affected by the action/inaction of the CAMTC.
The Road Ahead
So where do I go from here? I, like many of you who are reading this, had felt like giving up on this dream to become a Certified Massage Therapist (CMT). I know many fellow students who did give up and I don’t blame them. I too felt it was impossible to overcome these obstacles built by the all-powerful CAMTC (I mean that seriously because the CAMTC is some kind of private, non-profit, publicly-funded hybrid organization that only has one governmental body to answer to and that is the Senate). But over time I realized – I just can’t let this one go. I can’t allow them to steal my dreams like that. As it is, they’ve already prevented me from working in this industry that I’m qualified for and passionate about for over 3 years. And I can’t stand by and watch them do the same to so many other people. If you only knew the sacrifices people made to earn those educational hours and pursue their dreams – spending all that money, spending that time away from their families which they’ll never get back. Maybe some of you do know that experience all too well – let’s unite and try to right this injustice.
Please Watch Our Video Below:
Raising Awareness About This Tragedy
The video above was created as means to spread awareness, connect with other students whose educational hours were discredited, connect with the schools who were unapproved and reputations destroyed, connect with businesses who suffered, and connect with Senators who can help. We want to create a full documentary film that sheds light on this tragedy and those who have been negatively impacted.
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