I cannot tell you the number of practicing massage therapists who tell me that one of their top five goals in their career is to be able to afford to take whatever continuing ed class they want. To me, that’s sad. It is sad, to me as a practicioner, that there are classes out there that are not affordable to all therapists. And it is sad to me, as an instructor, that the quality of a class is often based on it’s pricing. We all know that cost is the great equalizer when it comes to massage therapy education.
So what is a better way to determine if a class is going to be worth the money? Research the program, and more importantly, the provider, ahead of signing up for the class.
What are the intentions of the provider? Will they answer your questions personally when you get back to your studio and you cannot remember exactly how they said to execute that technique? Also research the quality of the product – the course. Did the provider design the course their self? What is their teaching style?Do they take time to coach each person individually? Will you receive materials to take home with you? Will there be TA to help if the class grows in number? Is the class itself going to enhance your personal practice? These are just a few of the questions you can and should ask when searching for a CE course. They will help you immensely in pursuit of improving your practice, enhancing your knowledge, and spending your time and money wisely.
I once attended a CE class where one of the attendees actually slept thru much of the two day seminar. I cannot imagine how the instructor felt but, as an attendee, I found it enormously distracting because I kept thinking, “Why did you bother to sign up for this? How do you have enough money to be able to attend a class and get nothing from it?” I know that these people are out there, and you’ve probably seen them too. You may be interested to observe or know how an instructor deals with such distractions.
Perhaps the most important question to research is whether the provider is up to date with their accreditations and licensing. Early in my teaching career, I had a student travel to a class in a resort area about 2 hours away from home. He paid for a weekend class, two nights in a hotel, meals, travel, etc. He was, as we almost all are, audited when his renewal came due. He was very surprised to discover that this particular provider was not up to date on their credentials and had actually allowed them to lapse. My student received no CE credit for that course and subsequently fell out of state compliance, fines ensued, not a good situation. Take the minute or two to check on line that your provider is actually in good standing with NCBTMB or your state before you give them your hard earned money.
You may also want to consider the providers portfolio of class offerings. Providers who offer classes in many disciplines can absolutely be as good or better than instructors who focus on one subject, however, you may want to learn specifically from an “Expert” in a particular discipline. Once you find a reputable provider that you feel a rapport with, it’s nice to have the opportunity to return to them. Does the provider have advanced courses in their field so that you can continue your skill set? Or is this class just an introduction after which you will have to find another instructor to further your knowledge? Consider what you’d like to be able to do with your new skills while choosing the provider.
There are amazing continuing education providers all across the nation who are teaching amazing small classes. They are equally as competent and devoted to their craft as those who are large and filling auditoriums. Please talk to them, learn from them, and share the good news when you find those gems in your region!