All licensure states that I am aware of require licensees to get continuing education. Obtaining continuing education is also required for maintaining national certification and professional membership in AMTA.

I’ve been a provider of continuing education for six years now, and one thing has always been disturbing to me. That’s the number of therapists who call me and say something like, “I need X number of hours, do you have any classes that are that length?”

Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy to have the business; it’s just that many times they don’t care what the class is as long as it gets them the required number of hours. I’ve had people attend classes that they obviously didn’t have any real interest in as far as learning new skills; they’re just there because they needed the hours and the class happened to be the right length. Medical massage therapists have attended my spa class, for instance, and said, “Oh, I only do medical massage. I’m not going to use any of these techniques, I just needed the hours.” It’s kind of like they’re saying “You’re boring me to tears, but I’m willing to sit here because I need the hours.”

When I’m looking for classes to take for my own continuing education, I’m looking for something that will enhance my skill set and my knowledge; I’m looking for something that I can take back to my clients to help them in ways I might not have used before, or something that will expand my menu of services, or that will help improve my business practices. I don’t want to take a class that doesn’t have any real interest to me just because I need a few hours. I’d be snoring like a pack mule before the first break if I did that, and I don’t want to waste my hard-earned money on taking a class that doesn’t have any appeal to me.

Part of the problem is that some folks procrastinate until their expiration date is looming before looking around for continuing ed. A more serious issue to me is a feeling of entitlement that some people have. I recently got a call from a woman who told me rather rudely that she had been practicing for 25 years and knew everything she needed to know, and that she considered it a slap in the face that she was required to attend continuing education. I told her I’d prefer she attend a class somewhere else. I didn’t want her negativity in my classroom.

I hope that when I’ve been practicing 25 years, I will still be looking forward to learning something new. I don’t view my obligation to get continuing education as a burden; I view it as an opportunity. I love to be part of a class that excites me and gets me fired up with the feeling that I can’t wait to get back to the office and try this on so-and-so, or that makes the light bulb go off in my head so I think “I should be doing that.”

I hope that the last day I care about learning anything new is the last day I’m on this planet.

Peace & Prosperity,

Laura Allen

–from Massage Collage, A reflection on all things massage, at /massage-blog/massage-collage , Posted on May 25th, 2008 by Laura Allen