While there’s certainly no shortage of “continuing education” opportunities available to anyone who knows how to Google the phrase, finding a quality workshop or tutorial close to home can often prove much more challenging. New developments in technology and improvements in online delivery platforms have made participating in e-classes a much more viable option for busy professionals who are still constantly striving to hone their skills. Sometimes, however, there’s just no substitute for some good old hands-on training.

What’s the best way to find, vet and decide on a workshop close to home though? Well, some great places to start are:

  • Your local massage chapter
    1. AMTA - Apart from their National Convention (which offers attendees access to 35 hours of continuing education), AMTA also continuously maintains a list of onsite chapter events that are searchable by a number of different criteria including area, date, keyword, and level. (https://www.amtamassage.org/events/index.html) More interested in growing your business or personal wellbeing? They've got over 50 online classes worth, between 1-4 CE hours apiece.

    2. ABMP – Here too you can earn CE credits through on-demand courses and online webinars as well as register for live workshops. Those interested in BizFit Live or Instructors on the Front Lines, can register for or get information on these and other ABMP-endorsed events.

  • The NCBTMB website
  • This is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive and informative resource available to massage therapists worldwide. With information available on almost 1800 CE courses from Alabama to Vietnam, for the 2nd quarter of 2014 alone, and a searchable database of all NCBTMB assigned schools finding a course in your area is a breeze. You can also find answers to commonly asked questions about the different types of credentials available to massage therapists and much, much more.

  • Reliable industry publications
    1. Massage Magazine
    2. Massage Today
    3. Massage and Body Work

  • Massage Conferences
    1. AMTA National | Sept. 17 – 20
    2. AMC San Diego | Sept. 19 -21

Then there’s the cost factor…. After taking a small sample of currently offered CE courses, onsite workshops tended to cost slightly less per credit hour than did their online alternatives ($18 vs. $25 respectively). The tradeoff is obviously being able to study at your own pace and not having to sacrifice an entire day or weekend to being in attendance somewhere away from home or work and adhering to someone else’s schedule.

Knowing where to find affordable educational opportunities is just on part of the equation however. Another challenge facing prospective students is the daunting task of filtering through the sheer volume of resources available in today’s marketplace. Knowing what particular area you want to concentrate on can help narrow your search, as can being familiar with some of the industry/product leaders.

For example, therapists living in (or looking for an excuse to visit) the San Diego area can attend BIOTONE’s quarterly open house. This free event offers attendees the chance to network with other professionals, receive product discounts, and learn new treatment protocols as well as other best practices. Participants also have the option of earning CE credit for a nominal charge.

Whether you’re looking to get hands-on assistance and feedback or simply want to connect with other experienced professionals, there are plenty of resources at your disposal to make sure you can keep up to date with relevant ideas, products and techniques. Knowing what inspires you and utilizing your local resources, you can develop your own plan and perpetually challenge yourself to learn and be the best therapist you can be.