Completing continuing education courses on a regular basis—typically once a year or once every two years, depending on each region’s renewal schedule—is a reality for most massage therapists and bodyworkers. It’s one component of renewing the massage license or credential necessary to practice bodywork legally in those states and regions where massage therapy is a regulated industry.

At times, finding a way to squeeze a continuing education course into your daily schedule may feel like a chore, but the majority of massage therapists and bodyworkers would likely agree that these classes tend to be worth the effort, beyond simply ensuring your credential remains current.

There is much to be gained from continuing education, especially if you take the time to choose courses wisely, based on the current needs of your bodywork practice as well as your own personal preferences. With the right amount of research, you may find that it’s entirely possible to take continuing-education classes that focus on the exact issues you want and need to know more about.

The first step to making the most of your continuing education credits is contacting the board that regulates massage therapy in your particular region. This usually can be done via phone or e-mail. Of course, for those massage therapists and bodyworkers who live in a place where massage is not a regulated industry, this step is unnecessary.

Once you know what your area’s board will accept in terms of continuing education credits for renewing your massage license, you can move on to the fun part—finding the right class for you.

One great way to go about the selection process is to think about your massage practice from each of its various angles. For instance, start by thinking about the business side of bodywork, which is an aspect of the career that few hands-on practitioners have mastered. If you feel like you need to know more about marketing the work you do, then consider enrolling in a continuing education course on marketing for massage therapists.

Perhaps you stumble when it comes to organizing the finances of your massage practice. In this case, a course on accounting might be the best choice. Maybe you wish to reach out to the Internet market with a Web site that matches your own vibe and style. If so, see if enrolling in a course that teaches pupils to build Web sites is accepted by your region’s massage board.

If none of the business-based continuing education courses appeal to you, then move on to another aspect of your daily practice: technique. Ask yourself whether you have a hands-on skill or set of skills that needs to be refreshed. Think about those techniques that you’ve seen or experienced and always wanted to learn and apply to your clients. The answers to those questions should provide the perfect guidance on the road toward enrolling in the right continuing education classes.

Yet another angle to consider is your own personal passion. Think about the times in your daily work when your enthusiasm is at its peak. If this is when you’re working on a pregnant client, for example, whose body is aching with the added weight and postural changes, then you might want to enroll in a class that teaches the specifics of pregnancy massage.

—Brandi Schlossberg

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