As a massage therapist, continuing education (CE) is a fundamental part of your career. However, attending traditional live classes, seminars or 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. 

Last week (link to part one), we covered the first five advantages of home study courses, and today we wrap up the series with the top five: 

5. Pacing. Let’s face it—some students learn more quickly than others. In live classes, the course’s pacing can be annoying for both slow and fast learners. If the class goes too quickly, then one can get left behind, while if the class is too slow, attending every lecture can be a waste of time. Home study courses allow students to learn at their own pace, taking as little or as much time as they need to complete the class.  

4. Environment. For some students, live classes can be intimidating. Even for those of us who aren’t agoraphobic, it’s still pretty unsettling to ask questions, give hands-on demonstrations and take exams alongside dozens of strangers. Some people simply learn better on their own, where they have more control over their environment. Home study courses give students complete control of their studies by doing away with the distracting sights, sounds and smells of a room full of people. 

3. Review. Even expert note takers can miss important aspects of a live class, because they’re trying to both comprehend and record everything at once. And while digital or tape recorders work well for lectures, they won’t help you when the teacher gives a hand-on massage demonstration. In home study courses, all of the lectures and demonstrations come prerecorded on DVDs, so you can watch them as many times as you want and even slow down or pause the film to catch subtle nuances. Next time you’re in a live class, try asking the teacher to repeat their massage demonstration six more times at a slower pace!  

2. Costs. Live classes include hidden costs that often get overlooked. For example, if you have to travel to a seminar, you’re responsible not only for the tuition and course materials, but also for lodging, food and transportation. Even if reside near a live class, you’re still paying for gas or cab fare to get yourself there, plus you lose income for the time you’re away from work. With home study, the cost of the course is the only thing you have to pay for, while the flexible scheduling enables you to maintain a normal work schedule—and income.  

1. Comfort. All of the advantages offered by home study courses really boil down to one primary benefit—comfort. Home study courses provide increased comfort at nearly every level, which in turn, facilitates enhanced learning. How can we expect students to learn and achieve at optimal levels during live classes, when there are so many potential obstacles standing in their way? Home study courses eliminate all of the stressors surrounding live classes, so students have just one thing to focus on—learning the material. 

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