College Spotlight: Siena Heights University Webinar Recap

In late December 2013, NCBTMB was honored to announce a first-ever partnership with one of the nation’s premier online educational institutions—Siena Heights University. This exclusive and revolutionary partnership ignited numerous opportunities for current massage therapy practitioners looking to earn a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Massage Therapy. Siena Heights University assessed the Board Certification credential to be equivalent to 33 college credits and, therefore, awards 33 credits towards the degree—the first ever institution to partner with NCBTMB and to do so. In short, this opportunity awards Certificants just like you the opportunity to earn a college degree, regardless of location, from an institution that recognizes your hard work and dedication to the profession.

On Tuesday, September 30th, Board Chair, Dr. Leena Guptha, and VP of Educational Support, Donna Sarvello, hosted Lori Timmis, Associate Dean of the College for Professional Studies at Siena Heights University, to help Certificants just like you see how a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Massage Therapy from Siena Heights University and Board Certification go hand-in-hand. Tune in to explore the value of Board Certification, learn more about Siena’s longstanding history of serving the massage therapy profession, understand the details of Siena’s BAS Degree in Massage Therapy, understand how to determine if online or on-campus courses are right for you, and much more.

Watch the full webinar playback:

Our webinar provided a plethora of important and helpful information regarding Board Certification, Siena Heights University, and Siena’s exclusive BAS Degree in Massage Therapy. Below, you will find all pre-submitted questions, as well as any questions received live during the webinar, together with Leena, Donna, and Lori’s personalized answers.

Questions and Answers:

Pam: Is there a minimum number of credits I have to take with Siena to earn my degree?

Lori: Yes. Students minimally complete 30 semester hours of credit (or 10 courses) at Siena.


Sara: What is the current cost per credit at Siena Heights University?

Lori: The cost per credit hour is $455 for online courses. A $90 technology fee is applied per online course. Thus, the total cost per course is $1,455. Tuition varies for Michigan Degree Completion Centers.


John: What financial aid or payment options are available to me at Siena?

Lori: Grants and loans are available, and determined, based on financial need and household income. We encourage all students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), in addition to visiting for detailed information on financial aid. Our academic advisors and Financial Services staff will assist students with this process.  In addition to financial aid, students may also schedule incremental payments per course to split up payment costs. Siena Heights also accepts third party payments (e.g. employer reimbursement, military, etc).


Barbara: Is there a limit on the amount of non-massage credits I can transfer to Siena?

Lori: Siena Heights accepts up to 90 semester hours of credit from direct college credit and other college-equivalent credit. Our transfer-friendly policies consider the wide array of professional experience of working adult students.


B: I am not Board Certified yet, but I will be taking the exam soon. Am I still able to apply to the program?

Lori: Yes. You can apply to the program and enroll in courses, based upon your remaining degree requirements established in your transfer credit evaluation, which is completed prior to enrollment. To achieve the Massage Therapy major, a copy of your board certification and verification letter is required prior to applying for graduation. Our academic advisors will work with you to ensure degree requirements are fulfilled for the Massage Therapy major.


Live Q1: Is Siena an accredited school?

Lori: Great question! Yes, Siena Heights is regionally-accredited through The Higher Learning Commission: North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. In your examination of colleges/universities to consider for degree completion, make certain that the college/university is regionally-accredited by one of six regional accrediting organizations in the U.S. For more information on regional accreditation and links to the regional accrediting organizations, please visit For more information on The Higher Learning Commission, please visit   


Live Q2: Will the degree I get from Siena transfer to another school?

Lori: Yes. A Siena Heights degree will transfer to another regionally-accredited college or university. As a helpful tip, an academic program may require certain pre-requisites for entry; so, it's best to research admission requirements for each college/university you're considering.


Live Q3: Will Siena accept transcripts from other college courses for this degree?

Lori: Yes. Students can transfer up to 90 semester hours of credit from any 100-level course or above that holds a minimum 2.0 course GPA.


Live Q4: I'm already Board Certified, would I just need to send a copy of that to Siena Heights?

Lori: For the Transfer Credit Evaluation, we will ask for a copy of your Board Certificate and an updated resume. For formal admissions, Board Certificants establishing their BAS major in Massage Therapy with Board Certification will need to submit a copy of current Board Certification and a verification letter from NCB. We will outline admissions documents needed within your credit evaluation.


Live Q5: So is "accredited" massage training required along with the Board Certification to participate in the BAS degree program?

Lori: Board Certification includes accredited training and work experience. No additional massage therapy training is required for admission to our program.


Live Q6: If I did not attend an "accredited" massage program but, achieved Board Certification would that still be accepted?

Lori: If you achieve Board Certification, you have then met the requirements set forth by the NCBTMB. The NCB will identify those programs they view as applicable programs. We will look at Board Certification, as a whole, only.


Live Q7: How long would it take to complete program if you have not attended college before and just completed massage therapy training?

Lori: This depends on your remaining degree requirements. If you transfer in up to 90 credits, you may need to complete just 30 credits, which can be completed in just over a year and a half, based on offering courses every 8 weeks. If you have more outstanding credits needed, this will take more time. If you have completed solely Board Certification without college credit or other equivalent credit, we encourage you to consider an AAS degree to increase your transfer credit and pull together your specialized training into a degree.


Live Q8: I have a Bachelors, I'm working on my Masters. How would I be able to use these credits along with Board Certification?

Lori: First, determine your professional/ personal reasons for pursuing a second Bachelor's degree. You can transfer up to 90 credits toward degree requirements, which includes major requirements. You would need to complete the minimum 30 credit residency at Siena. Because you're transferring in a significant amount of credit, it's possible you may need only the 30 credits to achieve that second Bachelor's degree!


Live Q9: I have attending community college before taking massage therapy class are those accountable?

Lori: Yes, community college credit is factored into your overall credit transferred into Siena. We will accept up to 90 semester hours of credit that can include Board Certification, direct college credit, other prior learning, and work experience.


Live Q10: If I haven’t transitioned to Board Certification yet, can my National Certification certificate be substituted for the Board Certification certificate?

Donna: When we raised our standards into Board Certification back in 2012, it’s those requirements when we started working with Siena. The National Certification does not have the same level of education and work experience associated with it to be awarded college credits. You would need to transition to Board Certification first.


Live Q11: If I’ve let my National Certification expire can I still use that?

Donna: You have to be Board Certified or have transitioned into Board Certification in order to apply for this program and take advantage of the 33 college credits Siena is awarding Board Certificants. Please contact NCBTMB because we can look at your account. If you expired yesterday, call us. We’ll work with you. But, if you are interested in Siena’s BAS Degree and have been expired for a longer period of time, we’ll help you achieve Board Certification by testing with us and then you can move forward with your Bachelor Degree.


Live Q12: I have a Puerto Rico MT License. Can I apply for Board Certification?

Donna: We have a portfolio review application. You can definitely go online and complete that to show us your education and work experience, along with showing proof of our other requirements for Board Certification. Once you submit that, you will need to test with us. As long as you meet our requirements and pass the exam, you can become Board Certified.


Thank you to all who joined us for this informative webinar! To be notified of future webinars, please register your email address at

We hope to see you at our next webinar!

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