When you fire up your computer and order a massage home study course, do you really know what you’re getting? Before you hit that “order now” button on the Web page, take a moment of pause to ask yourself some questions first.

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 returns 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.

This article is the second of two articles that provides you with helpful questions to ask about home study instructors and their courses before you purchase their continuing education products. Read Part 1 here.

Scientifically supported?

When selecting a home study course to purchase, make sure the curriculum is based on the latest scientific research available. The best massage therapy experts and instructors will be well-versed in the latest studies and techniques, which should be included in their courses. This way, students receive the most comprehensive educational experience.

Checking up on any evidence of an instructor’s research knowledge is simple and can be found by reading through published articles by the instructor in massage trade journals and industry-related publications. Within those articles, the instructor should include references to scientific studies on which they base their own techniques.

Peer respect?

Massage therapy may be a competitive field, but industry leaders and innovators in massage will praise their peers for their talented work. Often, experts in the massage field will also work together on special projects.

Keep and eye out for positive references by a massage therapist or other bodywork experts. It is usually an indication that they have the respect of their peers.

Good work and innovative ideas also don’t go unnoticed by professional massage organizations, such as the American Massage Therapy Association, Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. These organizations give awards and will often use these experts as speakers at trade shows and conventions.

Course range: basic to advanced?

There are many courses out there to choose from, but the most valuable offer a variety of courses that range from basic to advance. It’s not hard to find a basic course through online searching. Companies galore offer these.

But to become more advanced in your techniques, a massage therapist will need continuing education past the basic level to gain that knowledge. The more intensive programs cover more details into bodywork techniques and more complex aspects of treatment, which only benefits the student.

–Jeremy Maready