Certification Examinations

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COVID-19 and restarting MCQ and OSCE

The COVID-19 global pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the ability of the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) to administer the certification examinations required for registration. The April 2020 dates for the Multiple-Choice Question (MCQ) examination were cancelled and four Prometric test centres in Ontario used for the exam were closed for an extended period. For the Objectively Structured Clinical Evaluation (OSCE), restrictions and requirements related to COVID-19 have prevented CMTO from being able to proceed with training of the exam team and administration of the exam. In March 2020, registration for both examinations was suspended.

We understand that the delay in offering the certification examinations has had a significant impact on new graduates. Our top priority in determining when and how to proceed has been the health and safety of examination candidates, exam team members and staff.

UPDATE: If your graduation deadline was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for an extension to the three-year gradation deadline. To confirm whether your graduation deadline is eligible please click on the chart for more information.

MCQ Examination Re-launch

MCQ examination registration will re-open on August 10, 2020. Dates have been added to the MCQ schedule to ensure sufficient exam spaces are available following the loss of the April 2020 examination dates and the reopening of only three of the four Prometric test centres that were scheduled to host the exams. Information about test centre processes and infection prevention protocols are available on the Prometric website.

Detailed information about MCQ examination scheduling is available in the updated 2020 Candidate’s Handbook for Understanding Certification Examinations in Ontario.

OSCE Examination Schedule

OSCE examinations are scheduled to resume in January 2021. While eight months of examinations were lost due to COVID-19, the OSCE examinations will start approximately four months earlier in 2021 than would normally be the case (OSCE administrations usually start in May of each year).

Work that must be completed before the OSCE can be administered includes:

  • Confirm exam team staffing needs and recruit new team members
  • Prepare for training of 90-member exam team
    • Create a new online training component
    • Update delivery of training to incorporate new infection prevention protocols
  • Provide exam team training
  • Conduct an analysis of OSCE case scenario performance and set preliminary cut score
  • Update OSCE administration to incorporate appropriate infection prevention protocols and prepare for first administrations
  • Develop the additional OSCE case scenarios that are needed to manage the double cohort of candidates (those who couldn’t take the exam in 2020 and those who would normally have taken it in 2021) and additional exam dates
  • Translate exam content

More information about OSCE exam scheduling in 2021 will be posted to CMTO’s website when available.

Please see tables below for MCQ and MCQ accommodation dates:


Schedule Window


July 27 – 31


August 26 – 29


September 21 – 25


October 5 – 7


November 16 – 18


December 2 – 5

December 14 – 18



Schedule Window

MCQ Accommodation

December 5

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding 2020 Certification Examinations, please see 2020 Exam Update: FAQs. Thank you for your continued patience as we manage these changes. Please contact Certification Services at certificationservices@cmto.com if you have any questions.


Before one can become registered to practise Massage Therapy in Ontario, they must successfully complete the certification examinations administered by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario. As per the Education Requirement for Exam Eligibility and Initial Registration policy, a candidate’s education must be no more than three years old on the date they are scheduled to take an examination. If their education is more than three years old, they must successfully complete a CMTO-approved refresher course no more than 15 months before the date they are scheduled to take an examination. The Certification Examination evaluates whether a candidate for registration with the College has the entry to practice competence expected for safe Massage Therapy practice.

There are two components of the certification examination – the written Multiple-Choice Questionnaire (MCQ) and the Objectively Structured Clinical Evaluation (OSCE). A minimum scaled score of 70 is required on each component of the examination.


The MCQ is the multiple choice component of the certification examinations. The exam is designed to evaluate the candidate’s knowledge in the four competency areas of Professional Practice, Assessment, Treatment and Clinical Science.

The MCQ consists of 150 questions administered over 180 minutes via computer. It can be taken either before or after the OSCE.


The Objectively Structured Clinical Evaluation (OSCE) is the clinical component of the College’s certification exams.

It is designed to evaluate both the candidate’s knowledge and application of skill, and to test the ability to safely and effectively apply the principles and processes of Massage Therapy practice given a number of different clinical scenarios in one of seven test stations. Scores are given by Massage Therapist examiners based on the candidate’s performance at each station. The OSCE lasts roughly 90 minutes.

Preparing for the Certification Exams

More information about the content and format of the certification exams is provided in the Candidate Handbook. It is extremely important that candidates read the Candidate Handbook before taking Certification Exams with the College.

It is also important for candidates to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the Massage Therapy competency standards. The College has developed a Massage Therapy Competency Standards which describes the competencies required of a Massage Therapist in three key areas – health science, professional development and clinical science.

Certification Examination Statistics

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 |