If you hope to get the most out of your continuing education classes, then it is crucial to invest time in the selection process. Instead of simply choosing the class that is the cheapest, the closest to your house or requires the least amount of work, find one that seems to offer what you really need right now in your professional practice.

Continuing education in the realm of massage and bodywork offers practitioners a chance to tune up their current work, whether that means sharpening business skills, refreshing hands-on techniques or learning a whole new modality that can be added to the menu.

Of course, the first step to take is to find out whether you need continuing education classes in order to keep your massage or bodywork credential current. This typically is the case in those states or regions where the field is regulated. If you live in such a place, then you need to know whether the governing board has a list of approved topics or providers when it comes to continuing education.

Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready for step two, which is a bit more involved. This is the part where you determine what kind of knowledge you need to enhance your daily work. Be brutally honest with yourself here.

Is the business side of your bodywork practice lacking? If so, you may want to take a course on marketing or accounting specifically geared toward massage therapists. Are you getting a little bored with the hands-on techniques you’ve been applying to your clients? If so, it may be time to take a class that offers a new set of skills, such as shiatsu, myofascial release, reflexology or an advanced level of deep-tissue work.

However, if you have a wide variety of massage skills already and plenty to choose from when it comes to crafting custom client sessions, then learning a new bodywork technique may not be the right choice for you at the moment. Instead, you might want to go with the business class, or perhaps a course to brush up your ethics knowledge.

Another option for massage therapists is a to learn a modality that is not hands-on, but that fits in well with the work that you do. These types of techniques include reiki, guided imagery and aromatherapy, to name a few. Learning such a skill not only can add a whole new dimension to your bodywork practice, but it may also give your body a much-needed break from the hands-on demands of traditional massage therapy.

The next move on your path toward continuing education is to decide how you want to take the class. There are so many options when it comes to actually attending the course you choose, and it’s important to pick the one best suited for your own lifestyle and goals.

For example, if you happen to live in a fairly rural area or have little time to travel back and forth to classes, then an online continuing education course might be the best bet for you.

—Brandi Schlossberg