Is Continuing Education for Massage Therapists Important?

Continuing education By Gary Eaton LMT

One of the first things you learn when you become a licensed massage therapist is that your training never ends.  Or at least it probably won’t end for many years to come.

The reality is that there is so much to learn about our bodies and how massage can positively impact them, and there are so many techniques and different modalities out there, but there just isn’t enough time for anyone to learn it all.

Once I was done with massage school and started working in the profession I realized that, although I received a good education, I didn’t know nearly as much as I would have liked.  I am the type of person that loves to learn, and massage is a profession that I can never know it all.  This continual, lifelong learning was very appealing to me, and was one of the many reasons I chose massage therapy as a career.

For many people, hearing that you are required to get a certain amount of continuing education after getting your license is a negative.  But the reality is that continuing education is not only great for learning new techniques that will help your clients, but it also provides a great way to connect with other therapists as well as energize your practice.

The amount of continuing education required for licensed massage therapists varies by state.  In Oregon, where I practice, it is 25 hours every two years.  In reality, this isn’t very many hours.  And although some continuing education classes can be expensive, if you pick the right ones they will more than pay for themselves.

For many massage therapists, continuing education classes is where they really learn their craft.  After massage school, many therapists are unsure what type of massage they want to practice.  After a year or two in practice they have a better feel for what type of career they want, and it is at this point that they are able to take continuing education classes in a specific modality.

When it comes to choosing a class, a lot will depend on what you can afford and where your interests lay.  If you aren’t near a major city it can be more difficult to find classes.  However, most massage schools offer classes.

If you want to learn a specific technique, like cranio-sacral therapy, lymphatic drainage techniques, or even shiatsu or thai massage, there are classes held all year round all across the country.

The great thing about these continuing education classes is it allows you to grow as a practitioner.  You can take your knowledge and experience, and then add in some new techniques.  You will learn how better to serve your clients and this will result in happier customers, more referrals and a more financially successful practice.

Gary Eaton is a licensed massage therapist and writer living and working in Portland, Oregon. He manages a thriving therapeutic massage practice and is a featured writer for Massage Schools Guide.

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  1. John says:

    This article was very helpful. Massage therapy is not an easy profession to choose but a very rewarding one. A certain degree of patience and persistence is definitely required to become a skilled practitioner. It’s easy to extend that to a continuous upgradation of one’s skills.

  2. Stephan says:

    What I find disappointing is that so many massage therapists pass on the opportunity to actually continue their education and end up taking nutrition and anatomy courses over and over. Not taking the basic refresher CE courses would force providers to create a more unique course offering which would be better for the whole profession. Stephan

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