Continuing education is a licensing requirement for massage therapists in most states. With so many options for classes, how can you choose? Read on for a few tips.
Most state boards require that massage therapists complete a certain number of continuing education hours every licensing period. Many states require some specific benchmarks to be met. For example, massage therapists in New Mexico must have up-to-date CPR and AED training, Washington State requires its therapists to have completed an HIV/AIDS education course, and therapists in Pennsylvania must be trained as Mandatory Reporters for child abuse and neglect. Beyond these specific requirements, however, there is a lot of room to tailor your continuing massage therapy education.
When choosing my continuing ed classes, I usually take one of two tacks: Either I focus on the anatomy or the modality. With anatomy, for example, I see a lot of people who have upper shoulder and arm issues, so Continuing Education Units (CEUs) about working with that particular muscle group can be a good refresher. I try to choose classes that focus on a body part, body system, or medical issue that will help me better treat my current clients — and reach out to new ones.
If I’m interested in expanding my practice, I might also choose a class about a new skill or modality that I’m interested in. For example, I’ve taken CEUs on KinesioTaping in order to better support my athletic clients and those who are recovering from injuries. Modalities that involve using my body in different ways, such as Thai Massage or Phenomenal Touch, can also help me integrate new techniques and body mechanics into my practice.
You can complete CEUs either in person or online. Some benefits of at home classes is that they can conveniently fit your schedule and are often more affordable. In person classes can give you hands on experience as well as feedback and camaraderie from other therapists. Sometimes, the decision is as simple as what is classes are available at my local massage school at the time I have free for a class? This way I can be exposed to to new things and meet colleagues in my local community.
Some people might find CEUs requirements an annoying necessity, but personally, being encouraged to continue my education in a range of diverse ways is one of my favorite things about being a massage therapist.