In most states, massage therapy is a regulated field. This means bodyworkers and massage therapists must follow certain rules and regulations in order to maintain their licenses to practice legally. One common rule among the states that regulate massage is practitioners must complete a certain amount of continuing education in order to renew their licenses each time.

Of course, the amount of continuing education one might need to keep his or her certification current varies from state to state, and the requirements of your professional organization, if applicable, may play a role in the number as well.

The bottom line, however, is that the need for continuing education on a regular basis is a reality for the majority of massage therapists and bodyworkers. At times, earning these hours may seem like a chore to be checked off a list. Instead of seeing continuing education as a hoop to jump through, massage therapists do well to view it as an opportunity to expand their skill sets and thereby increase business.

In many cases, bodyworkers have options when it comes to selecting what type of continuing education they want to receive. Take time to consider your own massage preferences, as well as the preferences of your clients and your community in general, before you enroll in continuing education.

These classes often offer a chance to dig deeper into a niche form of massage therapy that has always interested you—and may open the door to a new population of clients. Clinical sports massage is one good example of a category of continuing education many massage therapists may find appealing. Perhaps you’ve always enjoyed working on athletes and would like to improve your skills in sports massage in order to bring more of these clients through the door. In that case, seek out courses in continuing education that focus on clinical sports massage.

Your first step will be to find such courses, and then make sure they’re approved by your state board, licensing committee or professional organization, so the hours will be sure to count toward the renewal of your massage license or certification.

Obviously, you’ll also want to focus on the quality and content of the class. If possible, try to speak with past students to get a feel for how satisfied they were with the class, and do a bit of research on the instructor.

As for course content, a class on clinical sports massage should address specific injuries common to athletes, whether they are amateurs or professionals. Examples of such injuries may include ankle sprains, iliotibial band syndrome, and rotator cuff and shoulder dysfunctions.

A general class in sports massage may take a look at a variety of injuries. If possible, you may want to find continuing education that focuses specifically on one type of injury, so you can truly gain the niche skills necessary to make a real foray into sports massage.

As you get prepared to enroll in continuing education in order to renew your license or certification, get excited about the career opportunities these classes can bring.

—Brandi Schlossberg