Deciding what kind of continuing education courses to take typically depends quite heavily on the individual massage therapist or bodyworker who is doing the deciding. Where you are in your career, what kinds of skills you already possess, how you feel about the direction of your current practice, what area or region you are practicing in and a long list of other such factors most likely will come into play each time you select your continuing education courses.

For instance, if you have only been in practice for a few years or less, there is a good chance you will want to add new touch techniques to your skill set when it comes time to enroll in continuing education. Along these same lines, instead of learning new techniques, you may simply wish to hone those skills you already possess to a more advanced and expert level.

Of course, there are those beginning massage therapists and bodyworkers who might like to use their continuing education classes to start building up more business sense, in terms of such topics as marketing and accounting, especially if they are running their own practices.

The types of touch techniques you currently have under your belt also are likely to play a large role in the kind of continuing education you might want to take. There are those massage therapists and bodyworkers who possess a whole host of hands-on skills, from Swedish massage, sports massage and shiatsu to myofascial release, trigger-point therapy and Thai yoga massage.

In most cases, there are those touch practitioners who have been in the industry for quite some time and have had a chance to gain all of these varying skills throughout the years by taking plenty of continuing education courses.

For this group, learning a new modality might not be the number-one priority when it comes to continuing education, as they already have such a great variety of skills. However, there may be one or two of these modalities they would like to brush up on or take toward a more advanced level.

Certainly, the area in which you practice massage and bodywork will affect not only the type of continuing education classes you choose to take, but it also might influence whether you take any at all.

In those regions where the realm of massage and bodywork is regulated by the government, practitioners usually are required to complete a set number of continuing education classes over the course of the renewal period, in order to keep their massage credentials current.

If you practice in a place where touch therapy is regulated, be sure to check in with the regulating board before you enroll in any continuing education. You want to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck by taking those continuing education classes that will count toward the credits you need to renew and maintain your massage license.

It’s a good idea to check on such details and requirements each time you are approaching a renewal period, as the rules may have changed.

—Brandi Schlossberg