As a massage therapist, continuing education (CE) is a fundamental part of your career. However, attending traditional live classes, seminars and workshops to satisfy CE requirements can often be a major headache. Crowded classrooms, expensive travel costs and inconvenient class schedules are just a few of the drawbacks you have to deal with when taking such classes.

However, home study courses can eliminate this stress, while offering a wealth of their own unique benefits. Before you register for another live CE class, consider the many advantages offered by home study courses to ensure your continuing education experience is as educational and hassle-free as possible.

10. Geographic access. If you live in a rural or out-of-the-way location, it’s unlikely you’ll find very many live classes, workshops or seminars close to home. However, home study courses bring the classroom to you, so no matter where you’re located, you’ll have just as much access to CE offerings as your big-city colleagues.

9. Mobility. Even if a live class is available near your home, it can still be tough to physically get yourself to the class, especially if you’re disabled or lack transportation. With home study courses, the only commute you have to make is from your mailbox to your living room couch—which is a breeze even during the worst rush hour.

8. Class size. Live classes often attract huge crowds, where you have to jockey with other students to find a good seat, and then strain your eyes just to catch a glimpse of the instructor and his or her teaching materials.  With home study, however, you’ll have a front row seat for every class and intimate access to all of the course materials. Not to mention, you’ll never have to languish in your car trying to find that ever-elusive open parking space.

7. Materials. In live classes, students usually get a course book and possibly a study guide. Any props, displays or visual aids the instructor uses can only be viewed during class, and after that, students are left with only their books to study from. Because home study courses teach the same material without using live demonstrations, these courses generally include much more dynamic and visually engaging course materials. Home study programs often include DVDs filled with hours of hands-on demonstrations, along with detailed course books offering numerous photos and illustrations. Best of all, students have instant access to these materials any time they want.

6. Scheduling. Most of us lead hectic daily lives, so it may not be feasible to find a live class that fits in with your busy schedule. But with home study courses, you have access to the class materials 24/7, ensuring you can complete your studies at a time that’s most convenient for you and the rest of your household—a real lifesaver for therapists who work full time or have children to care for.

Check back next week to see the remaining five advantages home study courses have over traditional live classes.

Chris Towery is the former associate editor of MASSAGE Magazine and is currently a full-time freelance journalist. He has written hundreds of articles for more than 20 different magazines, newspapers and custom publishers. Much of his recent writing has been for the complementary and alternative health-care industry. To contact Towery, e-mail