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Pack Your Bags and Open Your Mind

Continuing education without geographical boundaries.

Prior to beginning their practice, or treating clients professionally, massage therapists should first receive a sound therapeutic background and education. However, many professionals begin their practice and do not keep up with their education. It may seem that there is no need, as you are already licensed/certified and your state doesn't have any specific continuing education guidelines to follow. However, whether your state requires continuing education or not, in order to be up to date and safely learn new techniques and modalities, a therapist should  never stop learning.

Continuing education is an essential part of certification and training programs are designed to provide appropriate skills to massage therapy professionals across the United States. Each state may have a board of massage therapy who designs the specific guidelines for continuing education and therapist competency. Minimally, a therapist must meet those requirements and should always verify the educational programs selected do meet those minimal requirements.

Pack Your Bags and Open Your Mind - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Acceptable continuing education typically include seminars, workshops, state or national conferences, advanced course work, or college and university academic courses that are:

  • Directly related to the theory or clinical application of theory pertaining to the practice of massage therapy and the manipulation of soft tissue, massage therapy laws and rules, business practices, professional ethics, anatomy, physiology, hydrotherapy, kinesiology, pathology, or health and hygiene; or
  • Advanced massage therapy or bodywork techniques accepted by the state massage board; and
  • Designed to increase and enhance professional knowledge, skills, or competence in the practice of massage therapy.

Aside from just the subject matter, when making your decision on selecting a course for your continuing education, the instructor of the course is also an important consideration. This vetting process can take some time, as you want to review the instructor's background, knowledge base and if possible speak with them, hear a short lecture, or take an introductory course, prior to committing to an entire workshop/seminar.

Most states have requirements for continuing education providers/instructors which often include;

  • Massage therapy techniques and courses involving the manipulation of soft tissue must be taught or presented by a licensed massage therapy instructor. Advanced massage therapy or bodywork techniques must be taught or presented by persons with licensure, registration, or education in the technique being presented.
  • Courses, other than techniques, may be taught or presented by persons with licensure, registration, education or practical experience in the subject being presented.

Pack Your Bags and Open Your Mind - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark The common areas of required continuing education focus for most states include state massage practice guidelines and professional ethics/boundaries workshops. Training in these areas is important to keep a therapist up to date on policies, legislation and any potential issues related to misconduct considerations.

In addition to the required continuing education from their state board, many massage therapists are looking for unique and specialized continuing education that not only helps them increase their professionals skills, but also helps them to attain a competitive edge, and help set them apart with their community. A variety of specialized courses are not always available in the therapist's area, which may cause the therapist to seek education in another state, and in some cases abroad.

As you are considering training in another location, it is important to first review your state's guidelines to ensure they will accept the continuing education credits earned.

Most state boards will accept continuing education offered outside of the therapist's practicing/licensed state if such education meets specific requirements, such as approval by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

Once you have explored the variety of opportunities available, and verified the course will meet your state board's continuing education requirements, you can choose to attend a course anywhere in the world. Get ready and pack your bags. Whether you dream of learning at a sunny resort on a tropical island, snowy mountain village or even on a cruise, you are welcome to learn and earn education credits, while enjoying a new and exciting environment at the same time.

There are many benefits to choosing a course outside of your community. When you study in another state, or abroad, you will find incredible new foods, social atmospheres and experience different educational styles. Massage therapy is not practiced in the same manner in other countries, as it is in the United States. Therapists have different levels of base education and you might be excited to learn more about how therapists practice around the world.

A major benefit of studying in a new place, is taking the time to explore. Whether you like to visit the local historical landmarks, have a meal with new friends from class or explore a local shopping area - there's always something more to experience when you are studying in a new location. This unique option of educational travel can inspire a new approach in your practice in many ways!

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