Continuing Education and Professional Development Buyer’s Guide

Why is continuing education and professional development vital to my practice?

Medicine and science are constantly discovering new information about our bodies, our environments, and everything in between.  It is important to stay regularly updated with these breakthroughs to offer your clients the most current knowledge and skills. 

National, state, and professional associations, require continuing education for certification and membership.  These credentials will establish or reconfirm your dedication to professionalism and distinguish your practice from potential competitors, while also expanding your personal network of qualified peers.  

Generating new business, retaining a loyal customer base, and increasing income for more diverse or specialized services are a few reasons to prioritize your continuing education.

How do I identify which courses are necessary?

Requirements for continuing education vary by the governing state or organization.  Generally, continuing education must include the following components:  research, ethics, and self-care.  It is also important to take into consideration your personal interests, strengths and components to improve upon. 

What are some professional associations that I should consider applying for membership to?

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) is an independent, private, nonprofit organization founded in 1992.  The mission of NCBTMB is to define and advance the highest standards in the massage therapy and bodywork. In support of this mission, NCBTMB serves the profession through Board Certification, Approved Providers, Assigned Schools and entry level State Licensure Exams.

American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) represents more than 58,000 massage therapists.  AMTA works to establish massage therapy as integral to the maintenance of good health and complementary to other therapeutic processes; to advance the profession through ethics and standards, continuing education, professional publications, legislative efforts, public education, and fostering the development of members. 

Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) is a membership organization serving the massage, bodywork, and somatic professions. ABMP competes effectively for members by providing the best value and most responsive, knowledgeable service.

Where can I find information about my State Board requirements?

A copy of current regulations can be obtained from contacting your overseeing State Board directly.  The AMTA provides information about state regulations, contact information, and legislative updates HERE.  The NCBTMB provides links to State Board websites HERE.

How are CE hours measured?

Generally, one CE hour equals a 50 to 60 minute time period.

What does CEU mean?

CEU means Continuing Education Unit and normally equals 10 contact hours.

What is the difference between “licensure” and “registration”?

You must complete eligibility requirements (education, passing exams, obtaining insurance) per your governing board to become licensed.  Once licensed, you are generally required to be registered in the state of your practice (this is usually not transferable from state to state), and this registration must be renewed regularly.

How many hours do I have to complete?

Depending on the governing body, you will be required to procure anywhere from 8 to 36 CE hours per renewal period.

What are renewal periods?

Renewal periods are the amount of time you have to complete your continuing education hours, lasting generally two to three years. 

Can I carry over extra hours to upcoming renewal periods?

While regulations depend on the governing body, many states will not allow you to transfer extra continuing education hours from a current period to a future period. 

How do I know which courses are approved?

Most of our courses are approved by at least the NCBTMB, and other state boards, and described as such.  A handful of our courses have not been officially approved but may still be accepted by your organization.  You will need to check with your appropriate governing board for more information about approved CE courses within their specific guidelines.  

How much time do I have to finish the course?

Some of our programs do not have a time limit while others must be completed in 30 days.  If you cannot finish the course in 30 days, it is common to be granted an extension upon request.

How do I receive credit for completing an acceptable course?

You will usually receive a Certificate of Completion which will include pertinent information regarding the details and content of your course.  

Can I be audited?

Yes, state boards audit licensed massage practitioners to confirm compliance with continuing education requirements. You may be required to provide course or program certificates of training or transcripts.  

How long should I keep documentation?

Keep documentation of your continuing education for four to six years.

Are there any other options if I can’t invest the time or money right now?

Prioritizing continuing education is essential to the growth of your skillset as an individual and as a business.  We do offer many Educational DVDs and Educational Books to supplement on-line CE courses and assist you on your path of continued learning.