In some ways, getting continuing education credits can help you steer your entire career as a massage therapist or bodyworker. The turn you choose to take, with the help of continuing education classes, may be one that is slight or it could be a complete change of direction, or nearly anywhere in between.

The beauty of continuing education within the realm of massage therapy and bodywork is there is a vast array of classes, covering all kinds of topics and techniques, which means the direction in which you choose to take your career is basically wide open and up to you as the hands-on practitioner.

If you reside and work in one of the many states or regions where earning continuing education credits is a requirement in order to renew your license to practice, then it is likely you begin considering which continuing education classes to take as each renewal period draws closer, whether that is every year or more.

If you begin, instead, to think of these continuing education classes as the steering wheel on your career as a massage therapist or bodyworker, rather than as tasks to be checked off your to-do list when you need to renew your license, then you will probably get much more out of each continuing education class you choose to take—and so will your clients.

Taking the big picture approach to continuing education is the best way to better serve not only your clients, but also yourself as a professional massage therapist or bodyworker. In turn, these aspects should increase the success of your business overall.

Viewing continuing education as the steering wheel for the future of your practice requires a bit more than scanning a list of available classes and choosing ones that seem interesting. It requires you to constantly keep your finger on the pulse of your practice, observing areas of strength and weakness in your day-to-day work, making note of the most common complaints or issues among your clients, realizing the times when you are most excited about your work, as well as those instances when you feel tired and less enthusiastic about the next appointment.

By staying aware of all the details of your daily practice, even the ones that may seem so subtle, you can be the best possible “captain” of your career, knowing exactly when and how much to turn the wheel in order to direct your practice toward greater success and satisfaction.

For example, if you find yourself brimming with enthusiasm when one of your more athletic clients makes an appointment to address a sport-specific ache or pain, such as piriformis syndrome or tennis elbow, your inner self may be sending the message that continuing education classes on sports massage or courses on how to treat specific conditions might be a wise idea.

Once you take the first continuing education class on the topic, you should know by the end of the class or perhaps much sooner if it is a direction you wish to keep pursuing.

–Brandi Schlossberg