Most states have adopted into their statutes, rules and regulations for massage therapists to follow in renewing and maintaining their professional licensure. This includes taking and completing continuing education coursework.
Continuing education coursework is typically offered in several formats with the most common being participation in a live ‘hands on’ seminar with instructor interaction. There are also online and home study formats which involve reading and answering test questions.
Massage practitioners usually complete continuing education courses that increase their knowledge and improve their ‘hands on’ skill set. And, there is no limit to the number of different courses that a massage therapist can take in learning new techniques or modalities.
In addition to being able to choose coursework, massage therapists also have to take mandatory subjects as well. They must stay up to date and well informed on such topics as laws and rules, professional ethics, client communication, confidentiality, prevention of medical errors, personal hygiene, CPR, and communicable diseases.
The reason for this is that massage therapists are considered ‘health care providers’ whose primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of each client while maintain the integrity of the profession.
A few states have no massage therapy licensure and often rely upon local cities or counties to regulate the profession. In addition, many states utilize professional massage associations and national organizations or certifying bodies to make sure that massage therapists uphold the highest standards in the profession.
Continuing education requirements vary from state to state, so massage therapists should be well informed of the licensure renewal requirements where they live.
When seeking your continuing education coursework, it is advised to take courses from providers that are approved by the individual states and by the national certification board for massage.
As technology has improved, the process of keeping track of and reporting completed coursework has significantly improved. This means that there is a system of ‘checks and balances’ in place to monitor the massage therapists.
Continuing education providers are required to report the hours of completion (electronically) to the states requiring the coursework. Employers typically require their therapists to keep certificates of participation, and show proof of course completion and licensure renewal.
The public can feel safer and more informed knowing that massage therapists continue to learn new techniques while increasing their knowledge on the profession.