To Whom It May Concern: I completed an application and paid the required fees to obtain a “massage therapy licnese” in the State of Texas. The Department of State Health Services Massage Therapy Program accepted my money and application without a social security number. The State of Texas requires a “massage therapist” to pass a State-mandated exam prior to licensure. There are two outside agencies that provide the State-mandated “massage therapy” exam; FSMTB and NCBTMB. I chose FSMTB. I contacted FSMTB Executive Offices and spoke with Mary O’Reilly in January 2014 when I wasn’t permitted to complete the online application without a social security number. Mary agreed to accept a paper application from me without a social security number. I submitted an application without a social security number and the $195 fee which FSMTB accepted. On page 25 of the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLex) Candidate Handbook is discussion of “Required Identification”. There are four sentences with arbitrary descriptions of the acceptable two forms of identification. The second sentence is as follows: “The secondary form of identification may include a photograph but a photograph is not necessary; however, it must include a signature and must not be expired”. The fourth sentence states: “The identification you bring to the test center must be one of the following:” Under the fourth sentence is a two column table listing examples of primary and secondary acceptable identification. I brought an unexpired State-issued identification card and an unexpired library card with signature to a Pearson Vue testing center. Both of which meet the criteria explained on pg. 25 of the Candidate Handbook. For the record to obtain a library card one must show proof of residency. The Pearson Vue agent guarding access to the test asked for a social security card in addition to what I provided. I had gotten to this point without using a social security number so that form of so-called identification was not an option. I do not have credit cards or a bank account. I am “unemployed” so did not have an “Employee ID”. I am not currently in school so did not have a “School ID”. There was no one for me to speak with at Pearson Vue, but for the agent refusing me access to the test. Later I talked with someone in the Pearson Vue call center who said the final say regarding acceptable forms of identification comes from FSMTB. I was livid to say the least to have paid money, jumped through hoops, and STUDIED for the State-mandated exam to be denied access the day of the test. The test was the final component for me to get the “massage therapy license” and begin practicing in my chosen profession. I spoke with several representatives at FSMTB who, with the exception of Mary O’Reilly, were of zero help like talking to a shirt. I would explain my unique situation and the reps would hide behind the handbook. I ended up petitioning the Board to allow me to test. The Board cancelled their March meeting so I had to wait another month to be told again I would not be permitted to test without providing verbatim the secondary forms of identification listed in the table on pg. 25 of the Candidate Handbook. It is worth noting that the sentence above the table on pg. 25 of the Candidate Handbook states: “The identification you bring to the test center must be one of the following:”, which I provided. Eventhough I provided (or offered to provide) an unexpired, signed, with photograph passport issued by the World Service Organization, signed unexpired a library card, a County-issued birth certificatie, State marriage license, or other forms of identification I was still denied access to the State-mandated exam because these forms of identification were judged by FSMTB not to be acceptable. The Candidate Handbook does state that both forms of identification must be signed. Mary with FSMTB suggested to me that I open a charge account at JC Penny buy one item and then close the account after I use the JC Penny credit card as the acceptable secondary form of identification. I realize Mary was simply trying to help, but herein lies the problem with her suggestion. Why does JC Penny get to determine my so-called identity? FSMTB is essentially saying that I must have credit to gain access to the State-mandated exam. It appears that FSMTB wants proof of an applicant’s socio-economic status before granting an applicant access to the State-mandated exam. This stance contradicts FSMTB’s “Non-Discrimination Policy” found on pg. 6 of its Candidate Handbook. Certainly under unique circumstances exceptions can be made as was in my case when my application to test with FSMTB was physically accepted without a social security number. FSMTB acts capriously here, accepting an application without a social security number and the applicant’s $195 fee. Then denying the applicant access to the exam when the applicant could not produce a social security number (or any other attachment that requires a social security number) as a secondary form of identification. FSMTB has refused to issue me a refund. FSMTB, a non for profit organization, certainly made a profit in my case without providing its service. I have been unable to work in my chosen profession as a “licensed massage therapist” because of FSMTB’s discriminatory practices for five months and counting. Please note FSMTB’s “Non-Discrimination Policy” on pg. 6 of the Candidate Handbook. It would behoove FSMTB to, in the Candidate Handbook, make it utterly clear what forms of identification it will accept. In other words remove the four arbitrary sentences on pg. 25 of the Candidate Handbook and replace with a statement that goes something like this: FSMTB WILL ONLY ACCEPT TWO of the following forms of identification. Having a clearly defined contract so that potential applicant’s can make informed decisions will likely avoid frustrating issues such as this in the future. If the State accepts an applicantion for professional licensing, why does the outside agency with the responsibility of providing the State-mandated exam get to capriciously bar the applicant from the State-required exam? What recourse does the applicant have? What is this world coming to when the system becomes more important than the human? This issue isn’t about identification. This issues seems to be more about whether I have a credit line or bank account. Its been explained to me as “protecting the integrity test”, “regulating human trafficking”, prostitution, and “theft” by way of the massage therapy licensing process. State licensing of the massage therapy profession, in my humble opinion, is nothing more than a money-making scheme for the State and these extraneous agencies that get to hop on the bandwagon and usurp from people trying to make a living in their chosen profession. Furthermore, it is my understanding that Pearson Vue the “test administrator” requires applicants to submit to biometric identification and other personal information intrusions before allowing access to the State-mandated exam. Thus far, I have missed the part where the “massage therapy” exam is about testing the competency of a massage therapist. I continue to be harmed and damaged by the discriminatory practices of FSMTB and any other agency preventing me access to the State-mandated “massage therapy” exam. Five months and counting. Thank you for reading.
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