Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2009

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ten for today BY REBECCA JONES HOW TO SHOP FOR CEUs Two things typically motivate massage therapists to enroll in a continuing education class: they are genuinely looking to learn something new or they simply need the continuing education units (CEUs) to keep their licenses current. Those in the latter category don't have to look long or hard to find a class that will do the job, as long as they're not picky about how satisfying the experience is. But for those who hunger for something more, choosing the right continuing education classes is more challenging. Choose wisely, and the classes can invigorate a burned-out therapist, reinvigorate a stagnant practice, or nourish a longing for community. Choose poorly, and the experience can be a waste of time and money and, in some cases, can even do more harm than good. Given the range of options— everything from quick and inexpensive online courses and weekend classes at nearby massage schools to professional association meetings and longer-term immersions in far-off locales—how does a bodyworker choose what's best? There's no one answer, but following are some things to consider when deciding how to invest your continuing education dollars. 1. DON'T PROCRASTINATE "Be proactive about your continuing education," advises Anne Williams, director of education for Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals and a workshop provider. "A lot of times, people are just reactive: 'Oh no, I've got to take a course this weekend because it's due on Tuesday!' That's setting yourself up for spending money on something that's available, as opposed to something that inspires you." Plan early, figure out what you want to do this year, and start saving the money for it now. 2. INVEST FIRST IN THE PRACTICAL That might mean taking a class in marketing or business communications. "The first question to ask yourself is whether your business is where you want it to be," Williams says. "If not, then is another technique class really your best strategy?" Ruth Werner, education chair and president-elect of the Massage Therapy Foundation, teaches classes in pathology for massage therapists—a topic she acknowledges isn't sexy. "My classes don't compete well with the cool, great new neck technique going on next door," she says. "But the people who take my classes are incredibly glad they did and wonder why others don't." She advises shoppers to ask themselves these questions: Where does my career or my education need some shoring up? What do I not know enough about? The answers may lead to classes that are hardly glamorous, but eminently useful. 88 massage & bodywork november/december 2009

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