The longer you have been in practice as a professional massage therapist or bodyworker, the more time you likely have had to explore the arena of continuing education. For the majority of professional touch therapists, these classes—which come after you have already completed your massage education—are necessary in order to maintain a license to practice legally.

In general, continuing education courses are usually required by those states and regions where massage and bodywork is a regulated profession. Typically, one’s credential for legal practice has to be renewed every year or two, and in order to renew it, there has to be proof of earning a certain number of continuing education credits. In some states and regions, the type of continuing education courses one chooses to take is specified along with the number of credits required.

One of the main reasons continuing education is considered so important is because it keeps practitioners of healthy touch up to date on any advances in the field and other important changes that could affect their clients. On top of that, extended learning can help massage therapists and bodyworkers stay passionate about their practice.

As you progress in your exploration of what continuing education has to offer, be sure to come at this extended learning from several different angles. By trying out different approaches to continuing education classes, you should be able to find the avenue that best suits your learning style and goals.

Of course, the learning style and goals of each massage therapist and bodyworker may change with time and experience. Later on, if you find this to be the case, you will have a reservoir of experience with the array of continuing education available, so you may be able to decide more easily if a change is a good idea. The key, in the end, seems to be giving different classes, teachers and methods of learning a shot.

This does not mean you should blindly sign up for a continuing education class when you know nothing about the provider or even the topic at hand. It is wise to do a bit of homework whenever possible, to find out if the provider has a solid reputation. It also is important that the subject of the continuing education course is one that appeals to you.

When these basic elements are in place—a reputable provider and a topic that appeals to you or is required by your state board—then you can begin exploring a bit. For example, perhaps begin your journey by taking a continuing education class in person, at a local site that is easy for you to attend. Next time, try taking a continuing education class online, from your home or office computer. If possible, you may also want to try a continuing education course that is taught at a destination location and condensed to several days.

With a bit of experience under your belt in the realm of continuing education, you should be well prepared to choose the best courses for yourself and your practice.

–Brandi Schlossberg