The Mark of Professional Excellence: Do Massage Therapists need it?


Choosing a massage specialty: Days of research
Choosing an educator: Hours of YouTube time
Attending workshops: Thousands of dollars
Buying support materials: Hundreds of Dollars
Certifications: Priceless?

My educational goal has ultimately been to add more tools to the toolbox……. There’s no such thing as “too much education.” Cultivating new skills is important. They allow you to perform more effectively and appeal to more markets. It also helps keep me fresh in my practice. I’m a big believer in lifelong learning, so I have always dedicated a lot of time to professional development. In the last two years, I have clocked over 150 hours of education from a combination of skill targeted events like BIOTONE's Open House, mentoring, workshops, classes at conventions, online classes, and certification courses. It’s a mix I highly recommend.


After 25 years, I have gotten a little smug and not given certifications much consideration. I had come to believe that my clients care more about their results from work than my credentials. That may be true for the clients I already have, but what about new clients? What if I’m cheating myself out of my full ROI (Return on Investment) from my educational outlay? I decided to rediscover some of the benefits that certification brings:

Certifications are a way to differentiate yourself from others in your market. Employers, educational institutions, and healthcare providers are going to scrutinize your credentials. Also, consider that clients are using the internet to become savvier. Instead of looking up therapists in the yellow pages, they are utilizing their computer. Specifically, they are using the various professional association’s websites as well as specialty massage certification sites. Therapist search systems like Eric Dalton’s Freedom From Pain website is a perfect example. I know clients are doing their homework because their requests are specific. It never ceases to amaze me when a client finds me through one of these sites, and the very approach they require is the one I learned from that specialty training.


Certifications are important professional milestones. Remember the excitement that surrounded your graduation. How many career milestones have you had since? I hope you celebrated every one of them. They are important. Certifying in advanced skills is a great way to regain that level of excitement. Confession: I send thank you notes to my clients for supporting me in my journey to certify in ……It’s a wonderful way to provide your clients a way to celebrate with you. It also subtly but powerfully demonstrates your commitment to your profession and your clients.


There is no doubt that the word “certified” conveys to clients, employers, and healthcare providers a sense of trust, credibility, knowledge, and skill set. There are numerous benefits of holding a well-chosen and carefully selected certification:

  • including increased career opportunities
  • enhanced skill sets
  • market differentiation
  • support from like-minded professionals.


We have many generous and gifted educators accessible to us. I plan to continue learning all I can from them, but I will be more diligent about my commitment to the additional certification process. It is the mark of excellence that makes us all look good.


Be well, Do good work, and share with us what your certifications mean to you.


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