Internet Modernizes Continuing Education

From purchasing airline tickets and paying bills to sending flowers and even dating, the Web has changed the way we live and made many aspects of our lives much more convenient. Given this development, it’s not surprising that continuing education has also been dramatically transformed by the advent and advances of the Internet.

At one point in the not-so-distant history of massage, meeting the continuing education requirement of one’s state massage board or professional organization often meant boarding a plane or taking a road trip to the closest city where the class was being held. This typically equated to booking a hotel room, buying meals and taking time off a daily massage practice as well.

For those massage therapists living in major metropolitan areas, enrolling in quality continuing education rarely, if ever, required a travel agent. However, for the great many therapists not residing in big cities, the now ubiquitous nature of the Internet has changed the face of continuing education—for the better.

“Distance education is a growing trend in virtually every field that exists,” Judith Koch Lawson, director of education for a home-study Web site told MASSAGE Magazine. “People are earning college degrees completely online … and to try to halt this trend would be like trying to outlaw cell phones or computers. It just isn’t going to happen.”

The growing acceptance of the Internet as a mainstream vehicle for all types of education is especially good news for those massage therapists who may live in remote or rural areas. It also makes earning CEUs easier for those bodyworkers who may be disabled, as well as any massage therapists on a tight budget or a busy schedule.

“[Distance education] makes a wide array of disciplines available 24/7, is often much more affordable than live seminars, can be fit into any schedule and allows the student to watch the DVD as many times as they wish to refresh their memory,” Lawson added.

In addition to DVDs, today’s online continuing education often includes streaming video, lectures you can pause and rewind, discussion forums, easily accessible text, online exams and much more.

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), a nonprofit organization that has certified more than 88,000 massage therapists and bodyworkers, has approved a large number of online classes for continuing education.

In addition, NCBTMB recognizes massage programs that include up to 300 hours of “home study”—along with in-class time. Deemed “blended learning,” the combination of online and onsite education often is a happy medium for massage educators.

Whether you choose to take a course that’s conducted entirely online or one that blends with in-person education, make sure you look into all of the online options available for continuing education.

Recent advances in Internet technology have made it possible to interact with professors and peers from your own home or office, which can make online classes every bit as effective as on-site courses in many subject areas. Without the added cost and hardship of travel, online continuing education should eventually allow all massage therapists, regardless of their location or budget, to have the access to the highest quality and most diverse selection of continuing education available.