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Continuing Education in Massage: Information for Massage Professionals

Massage professionals can complete continuing education courses as part of voluntary advancement in the field or as part of recertification for massage credentials. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork provides massage professionals with several approved providers for continuing education courses.

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Massage therapists who need to fulfill CE requirements can find relevant educational offerings in a variety of topics.

Why Do Massage Professionals Need Continuing Education (CE)?

All 50 states require that massage therapists hold a license, usually earned by passing a certification exam, and nearly all states mandate a specific number of CE hours to maintain that licensure. The number of required CE hours varies from state to state. These courses are found through a number of providers approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). In addition, massage therapists who are members of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) are required to complete 48 clock hours of CE courses every four years to maintain their membership in this organization.

Massage CE Course Information

Continuing education courses can be found at online and on-campus locations throughout the U.S. Some organizations, such as AMTA, offer online CE courses. The number of CE hours satisfied in each course varies. In addition to single courses, applicants can find packages that contain 3-5 related continuing education courses.

After completing each course, massage therapists are issued a certificate. This certificate provides key information that they can use in the licensure renewal process, including:

  • Therapist name
  • License number
  • Licensure board
  • Course identification
  • Course instructor
  • Number of continuing education hours

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CE Course Subject Areas

The following are some areas that massage therapy continuing education courses address:

Massage Modalities

Some CE courses provide instruction for massage therapists who want to expand their practice to cover a new type of massage. Courses are available in the following massage types:

  • Deep tissue massage
  • Sports massage
  • Hot stone massage
  • Shiatsu massage
  • Ayurvedic massage
  • Trigger point massage
  • Reiki massage
  • Thai yoga

Population-Focused Massage Techniques

Another way for massage professionals to broaden their expertise is to study massage techniques that are specific for particular patient groups. They can take courses that allow them to specialize in massage for patients with:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Migraines
  • Lower back pain
  • Skin conditions

Ethics

Some ethics courses cover the general code of ethics and standard practices in the profession. Others focus on ethical considerations in particular areas, including the following:

  • Office procedures
  • Financial practices
  • Professional communication
  • Treatment administration
  • Client referrals to other health professionals

Business

These types of courses are valuable for massage therapists who are self-employed or hold management positions within companies that offer massage services. They cover a variety of relevant topics, including these:

  • Marketing strategies
  • Malpractice protection
  • Tax management
  • Finance practices
  • Practice expansion
  • Healthcare regulations
  • Business planning

Continuing education courses for massage therapists are available in specific types of massage therapy, as well as ethics and business topics.

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