Finding Quality Home Study Courses: Part 1, MASSAGE MagazineWhen you order a massage home-study course via your computer, do you really know what you’re getting?

Before you hit that “order now” button on the Web page, first take a moment to pause to ask yourself some questions.

Increasing technology on the Internet has allowed for many wonderful advances in massage home-study courses. Keep in mind, however, that all home study courses are not created equal.

A quick Internet search of massage home-study courses will return a host of results for you to choose from in your educational endeavors. One of the biggest advantages of massage home-study courses is they are offered from a variety of top experts in their respective fields.

But don’t let the glitz and flash of the course packaging, like multimedia presentations, message boards and DVDs, blind the reasoning behind your decision to purchase a course. While many quality programs use these technological teaching tools, you have to sift through the many faceless continuing education companies that promise big, but offer little. Unfortunately, the latter of these programs offer poor-quality content and seem to be designed more for making money than imparting useful knowledge.

In some cases, choosing the big name experts aren’t always the way to go. And by doing a little research into the instructor’s background and the nature of the programs, you can make an informed decision in your continuing education needs.

Instructor experience

Checking the credentials of any instructors who calls themselves an expert is essential. Many of the most qualified instructors will have 10 or more years of experience in their field both practicing and teaching massage therapy. And it’s nearly always better if that instructor has studied with other bodywork experts to launch their own careers.

When an instructor continues to practice and teach, it helps keep them more in tune with the latest techniques and methodologies facing today’s massage therapists.

Workshops and seminars

Before an instructor embarks on developing their own educational curriculum, they typically begin by leading seminars and workshops around the country. Many times, their home-study courses evolve from their seminars, which allows those who aren’t able to attend their workshops in person the same access to the educational materials.

While offering live seminars doesn’t necessarily translate to quality home-study education, it is a good indicator on who the most qualified instructors might be.

Published articles and trade journals

The top educators in the massage field will often attract the most attention by media outlets. These instructors are the innovators in their fields.

Through Internet searches, you should be able to easily find the publications they are mentioned in and what they have contributed to their field of expertise. Many of the top experts also will be contributing columnists and have their own websites and blogs that discuss the latest innovations and current issues facing today’s massage therapists.

Read Part 2 here.

–Jeremy Maready