Continuing Education for Massage Therapist January 22, 2016 12:41

In most states within the United States massage therapist (MT) are required to attended courses which offer credits recognized either by various organizations that support education for the field or by state regulated courses by providers that meet a criteria for education. Portions of these credits (ce's) usually can be taken as online instruction with another portion taken as "ground" classes which must be attended in a classroom setting.

In many cases when renewal of a state MT license comes due a copy of these courses must be submitted as well as CPR renewal and now in some states child abuse recognition and reporting course must be completed.

As an educator and an MT licensed in two separate states for 24 years I find this practice common and acceptable. Since renewal is normally every two years it is great to choose various courses and learn different techniques and modalities. There is so much to learn and it keeps you as an MT in the "loop" not only with new technique but also meeting other therapist and networking. All of this classroom time develops the continual growth of the therapist. A Seasoned Therapist understands this and it shows in the unbelievable work they perform. Seasoned therapists are able to use many various techniques to address client's needs and that is what keeps clients returning to them. The power of healthy, gifted touch speaks louder than any advertisement a special spa manager/owner can dream up.

However, even though continuing education can be considered costly to some it is vital and important not just to the therapist but also the spa/salon. Sometimes a MT may cut corners and if not audited or if submission of paperwork is not required fraudulent statement in regards to ce's might be reported.

I don't think any of this is malicious at all. Yes, maybe an individual might be lazy, but I also think cost and not being supported by an employer might have an influence on this. In busy facilities MT's can be expected to work long hours with minimal breaks and if they do not have adequate support along with low pay it can be disheartening. Eventually the client base will be affected. Let's remember bad remarks travel fast. What is worse than hearing "I had an awful massage there"!!

Maybe managers/owners and MTs need to share in the continuing education experience. What would happen if managers/spa, salon owners would be on top of the education awareness? What if they knew what their hired MTs were getting education in and either financially supporting a % of the cost or paying the therapist a bit more for such time they have invested to further their expertise?

My experience on both ends of this topic have proven that supporting your MTs and really knowing the work they are capable of doing through continuing education creates dynamite capacities of growth. This growth is good for all, especially the client on the table who will come back time after time because of the talented hands that reach deeper than words can express.