My experience as an examiner

Previously this summer, I had received an email from one of my mentors, Gregg Johnson.  If being asked to be an instructor for a nationally recognized continuing education organization (Institute of Physical Art) is equivalent to being called up to the big leagues, the email I received was like being invited to the all-star game… or maybe even like deciding which of your peers would be joining your team.  It was an invitation to be an examiner for the Certification in Functional Manual Therapy.

Now, a bit of background for you.  I myself went through this certification exam back in 2011 after finishing my residency with the IPA, and before starting my fellowship with them.  The certification exam and fellowship were located in Steamboat Springs, CO.  It was a fantastic place to live and learn during that time and I have always missed being there since then.  So, you can imagine my excitement to return (even if for just a few days) during the CFMT week!

This week is a little different from some certification processes because each course of the certification curriculum is reviewed in the days leading up to the oral/practical and written exams.  Plus, it’s not just one big O/P and written exam.  Each class in the CFMT curriculum has its own O/P and written exam.  So, it’s a pretty serious week for all those involved.

This year, I got to sit in on the examination of oral/practicals for three courses for ‘training’ and then actually be the examiner for another.  It was incredibly humbling to be invited to such a process, but even more so to see the therapists display and demonstrate all they have learned and incorporated over the previous years.  Another aspect of being an examiner is seeing how much some people have grown over the years!  Getting to be an instructor for three of the seven courses required for CFMT, I got to see a few therapists over the years in each class.  To see how much their confidence and abilities had grown during that time was extremely rewarding as an instructor.

One thing I didn’t quite know how to prepare for was the amount of time we examiners had to spend on making things go as well as they did!  Except for lunch and dinner, we went pretty much non-stop from 8 am to 10 pm (at least).  So, the first couple of nights back from this trip, I definitely went to bed early.

After the examinations were all done, we got to sit around and hear what the participants had to say regarding their experience and what went well, as well as what could be better.  Let me tell you, when you’re a little nervous through the whole process and praying you do a good job examining others, it’s a great feeling to hear from several people how they really enjoyed going through the oral/practical with you.  Not that my questioning or examination was easy, but they appreciated the demeanor, tone, dialogue, etc.  Allowing participants some freedom to show what they know and could do, while at the same time keeping them on task was certainly a challenge!

Overall, my first time being an examiner for the CFMT this year was a lot of fun.  Enjoyable to spend time with mentors and friends, catch up with each other, and grow closer even more.  I certainly hope to go back again in the future!


CFMT class of 2017


Panoramic view of the beautiful countryside


Looking out to Mt. Werner


My friend and mentor Brent Yamashita

3 Comments on “My experience as an examiner

  1. I am so lucky to be your colleague. I love your transparency and your ability to convey your thoughts as a teacher and mentor. I look forward to CFMT in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I did my CFMT Exam in 2015. It was an intense and powerful experience!
    And, Brent’s personality and demeanor was a rudder for my exam week. So glad he was my first examiner!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Matt! What an amazing opportunity. Congratulations on being invited to participate at such a high caliber! We only continue to learn and grow the more we get an opportunity to be near our amazing mentors. I’m quite jealous I must say! 👍

    Liked by 1 person

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