By signing up for continuing education classes as a professional massage therapist or bodyworker, you may find yourself reminded of the days when you were going to school full time and trying to figure out which courses you wanted and needed to take based on a program’s requirements and electives.

In the realm of continuing education, the notion of requirements usually comes into play for those practitioners who live or work in a region or area where the field of massage therapy or bodywork is regulated. In these places, a governing board may post guidelines regarding how many continuing education credits you must earn, as well as specific continuing education class topics and approved continuing education providers.

Such regulations as far as continuing education subject matter, provider and number of credits may also apply to massage therapists and bodyworkers who belong to certain professional organizations or who work for certain employers.

However, even within these regulated areas, practitioners may have some freedom when it comes to selecting their continuing education classes. This is where the notion of elective continuing education classes comes into play—when you have the freedom to choose which continuing education class you would like to take, based on your own individual preferences.

Whether or not you have rigid or flexible guidelines for your continuing education experience, there are ways to make sure you get to make the most of your continuing education experience. For starters, you can look into taking a continuing education class that is the best fit for your own style of learning, as well as your personal schedule and budget.

For those professional massage therapists with packed schedules and tight budgets, continuing education courses that are offered online may be the best bet. These Internet-based continuing education classes are usually somewhat cheaper than continuing education courses that take place in a traditional classroom.

In addition, online continuing education classes often allow students to log on and “attend” the class on their own time, making it easier on those massage therapists and bodyworkers who are juggling a busy schedule. Before you enroll in an online continuing education class, ask the provider about any rules as far as the timing of your attendance.

Of course, for a large number of massage therapists and bodyworkers, the chance to learn in person—especially if what you are learning is a new technique—may trump any scheduling preferences or financial concerns. If this is the case for you, you will want to seek out continuing education classes that take place either in a traditional classroom or during a destination seminar.

For a traditional classroom setting, you will probably want to look for continuing education courses that are close enough to where you live that commuting to and from the classroom will not pose a problem. As for destination continuing education seminars, these can be on the more expensive side, but they offer the added bonus of getting away on a bit of a vacation while you earn your continuing education credits.