There are many options when it comes to earning continuing education for massage and bodywork. The wide variety of course offerings, as well as the vast array of ways in which to actually take a class, benefits bodyworkers looking to earn continuing education, whether to maintain their massage credentials or simply to enhance their careers. However, the sheer number of options can also be confusing.

Fortunately, there’s a strategic way to approach continuing education to ensure you get the most “bang for your buck.” In other words, you want to be certain the continuing education you sign up for will teach you what you’re hoping to learn, in a way that allows you to learn the material to the best of your ability. It is also important the class you select meets all the necessary requirements for renewing your massage license, if that is part of the equation.

If you do live in a state or region where massage is regulated and continuing education is required to renew your license, then your first step will be to call the regulating board or visit the board’s Web site. This is necessary to determine exactly what’s required in terms of continuing education for renewing your massage license.

You should be able to find out how many hours you need, the deadline for completing classes, whether there’s a list of approved providers and if there are certain topics your continuing education must cover, such as ethics or safety.

Once you’re aware of these key details, you can move on to the next step in the strategy of choosing the best continuing education. This step entails taking the time to think about your budget, schedule and learning style, so you can select a class that suits all these needs.

Continuing education is offered in a variety of ways. There are classes that take place in the classroom, which means you must consider how far the class site is from your home or practice, what day and time the class is held and how often, and other such factors.

Courses offered at vacation venues are another popular option in continuing education. These may be classes one takes on a cruise or at a beach resort, for example, and the course typically is compressed into one week or less. Enrolling in such classes means spending more money on travel, lodging and meals; it also means taking time out of your daily practice.

Continuing education via the Internet is another option, for it allows you to “attend” class without leaving the comfort of your home or office. This means less money spent on travel or accommodations and less time away from your massage or bodywork business.

However, carefully choose which topics are best to learn via the Internet based on your learning style. For example, a course on marketing or ethics may be fine to take online, whereas a class that covers hands-on skills may be better to take in person.

—Brandi Schlossberg