It has been said variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to the realm of continuing education, there certainly is plenty of variety to pick from for the extended learning of massage therapists and bodyworkers. Of course, it is wonderful to have options, especially for something as important as furthering your education. However, it also is true that having too many options can make it rather difficult to decide which continuing education course may be the best fit for you.

In addition to the sheer number and variety of continuing education classes now available to massage therapists and bodyworkers, there also is a list of variables potential students must consider when looking at each of their options. There is the topic of the course, the provider of the course, the number of credits one can earn through the course, the number of credits one may need in order to maintain his or her credential to practice, the site of the course, the length of each class and of the course as a whole, the cost of the class, class schedule and so on.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider, so it is key to knock out each point one by one, and in a fairly specific order. For starters, you will need to know whether continuing education is a requirement for massage therapists and bodyworkers in your state or region. If this is the case—and it frequently is—you will then need to find out how many credits you need to earn, when you need to earn them by, whether you are required to study specific topics and whether your state or region has a list of “approved providers.”

Depending on the place where you practice, this first step certainly could narrow your list of options for continuing education, which can make it far easier to make a decision on the class you want to take. Equipped with this crucial information, you will be ready to move on to the next step in the process of selecting your continuing education class.

For those massage therapists and bodyworkers who practice in a place where the industry is not regulated or continuing education is not a requirement, this next step will be your first step toward choosing a continuing education class.

If you have at least some flexibility in selecting the topic of your class, this should be your next priority. Take a look at your current massage therapy or bodywork practice and identify the strengths and weaknesses. Then, search for continuing education classes that could help bolster those weaknesses, especially ones that affect your practice the most.

Once you have an idea of the topic you want to learn more about, you can start looking for a specific class that fulfills your other requirements, from the number of credits you’ll earn to the class schedule, provider and cost.

Remember, the beauty of having so many options at your fingertips is that you should be able to find the continuing education class that is just right for you.

–Brandi Schlossberg