There are many wonderful opportunities in the massage community designed to deepen your educational experience. Whether it's participating in a classroom environment utilizing kinesthetic hands-on techniques or participating in interesting and informative online massage therapy continuing education (CE) courses, there are many opportunities from which to choose.
Researching CE requirements
To begin your research, obtain a list of state boards and CE requirements.
Here are examples of CE requirements
• NCBTMB: The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) requires 48 CE hours every four-year recertification cycle. • AMTA: The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) board requires 48 CE hours every four-year recertification cycle.
• ABMP: The Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) requires 16 CE hours every two years or every other annual renewal for recertification.
Rules and regulations may vary by city, state, county, region and may be subject to change. Each practitioner should assume responsibility for contacting the applicable massage therapy state licensing agency, NCBTMB, AMTA and/or ABMP to confirm that online CE credit courses are acceptable for credit.
Which courses could be most valuable?
If you are interested in working at a spa, contact several spas in your area and determine which CE courses would be best for you. Basic spas may require good Swedish relaxation skills, deep tissue, sports, prenatal, wraps and scrubs. Upscale spas may offer a wider assortment of services including craniosacral therapy, Ayurvedic treatments and Thai massage.
A private practitioner may benefit more from participating in advanced CE courses that carve out an area of specialization unique to that therapist's vision of his or her successful practice. For example, if you live in an area where equine massage is popular and viable, then an equine massage course may be just the ticket. A practice building and marketing CE course may also be a valuable asset.
Consider whether or not you are at the stage in your career where you want to participate in classes that are easier on your body than more rigorous therapies. If this is the case, then you might consider focusing on such classes as reiki, craniosacral therapy, reflexology, acupressure and facial massage.
CE class location
We are fortunate many CE classes are offered nationally and internationally. Research classes that are offered in locations that appeal to you or where you have family and friends you can visit. You could participate in classes in Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; Sedona, Arizona; Costa Rica; or Leicestershire, England.
Online CE classes
First, check with your state board and with the NCBTMB, if applicable, to verify online courses are accepted. Online courses that are acceptable in Texas, for example, must be cognitive in nature, and do not include the clinical application of theory pertaining to the practice of massage therapy or the manipulation of soft tissue. Some topics that may be of interest to you as online courses include ethics, practice building, pain management and self-care.
Research the CE provider
Take some time to check the credentials of the CE provider to verify the provider is qualified to offer the CE courses you are interesting in taking and to ensure the provider has up-to-date licenses and/or certifications. Read the CE provider's website carefully and check references. Look for details on the website related to the course content; tuition; registration and payment process; class size; date, time and location of the courses; cancellation and refund policies; date of issuance of your CE certificate; whether or not you will have to bring your own table; number of students participating; and CE provider contact information.
Enjoy the process
If you like experiential hands-on classes where you'll have an opportunity to exchange sessions with colleagues, check with your provider in advance to verify the ratio of hands-on practice to cognitive experiences. If you prefer a more cognitive class, ensure that is available to you before you register. If your preference is for a small class, be sure and ask how many students plan to attend.
View your CE classes in a positive light as wonderful opportunities to learn, grow and network with like-minded therapists with whom you can build a sense of community and have fun in the process.