When it comes to taking continuing education classes as a professional massage therapist or bodyworker, there are so many different variables to consider. However, it may be especially beneficial to give the most time and energy to deciding what you are personally passionate about learning.

Before you can begin to think about your individual preferences, though, it will be key to research those variables of continuing education that are “fixed,” so to speak. These are any requirements you must adhere to when it comes to picking out a continuing education class.

For those massage therapists who work in states or regions where the industry is regulated, the first consideration will be whether the board that governs massage therapists and bodyworkers has any specific requirements when it comes to continuing education.

In most areas where the field is regulated, there is a set number of continuing education hours a massage therapist or bodyworker must complete during each renewal period, in order to keep his or her license to practice current. It also is fairly common for these governing boards to have a list of approved providers of continuing education and possibly one or more topics that must be the focus of the continuing education class or classes.

These all would qualify as “fixed” variables of the continuing education equation, in that the requirements of a governing board must be followed if one is looking to renew and maintain his or her license to practice massage therapy or bodywork in a regulated region. The same may be true for those professional practitioners of healthy touch who are members of professional organizations, as these groups often have their own rules about continuing education as well.

Of course, if you are a member of a massage therapy or bodywork professional organization and live in a state or region where the field is regulated, it would be ideal to “kill two birds with one stone,” by taking continuing education classes that will count toward both requirements, if possible.

Other less flexible components of the continuing education equation include time and money. Even if you do not need to stick to any rules or regulations when it comes to choosing your class, you may find yourself trying to stay within the guidelines of your own budget, as well as your daily schedule.

Decide how much money you can afford to spend on your class and how much time you have to devote to attending the class and completing any homework, including hands-on hours if applicable.

Once you have pinned down all of these variables, you can then focus on what may well be the most important variable in the continuing education equation—what you are passionate about learning. If at all possible, enroll in a continuing education course that teaches a topic that makes you feel enthused.

Whether it is a new modality that will draw a different portion of the population to your practice, or marketing skills that can help boost your bottom line, the right continuing education class really can improve your career.

Brandi Schlossberg