The perks of continuing education are multifold; not only do they encourage licensed professionals to be more mindful of changes and happenings within their industry, they also ensure that these professionals remain up-to-date on key knowledge and facts. Moreover, most professional organizations require such ongoing learning to occur throughout the year. The field of massage therapy is no different. Continuing education is more than just encouraging licensed massage therapists to sharpen their massage therapy knowledge; it also ensures that they adhere to high standards of professional performance.
In the state of Georgia, every two years (every even numbered year), licensed massage therapists must acquire twenty-four hours of massage therapy continuing education units in order to remain compliant with the Georgia State Board of Massage Therapy regulations. This is to ensure that licensed massage therapists are always current and continue to offer their clients the best massage therapy possible.
By October 31, 2010, all licensed massage therapists in the state of Georgia will be required to renew their license with the state massage board. One of the requirements is to submit proof of participation in twenty-four hours of continuing education courses. To learn more about what is needed to stay up-to-date and remain fully compliant as a licensed massage therapist in Georgia, always make sure that you visit sos.state.ga.us/plb/massage.
Remaining Compliant with the State
Course hours & requirements: Twelve of the twenty-four hours of massage therapy continuing education must be hands-on or technique based, while the remaining twelve hours can be on-line or lecture only. Many licensed massage therapists use this time to choose courses that focus on massage techniques and/or modalities in which they wish to specialize or simply learn more about. Topics include sports massage, cranial sacral therapy, geriatric massage, spa techniques or pregnancy massage. The list of possible massage therapy continuing education courses is endless.An approved list of courses and/or providers can be found on the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) website at www.ncbtmb.org.
Credentials: Before beginning any massage therapy continuing education courses, ensure that the program in which you are enrolling is fully recognized by the Georgia Board of Massage Therapy and that the instructors are credentialed. The program should have a provider code number assigned by the NCBTMB in order to issue credits.
Program documentation: Should you be audited, you will need to have proper documentation of completed massage therapy continuing education courses.
This documentation should include proof of attendance and participation at a hands-on workshop, seminar, conference, or other educational program. Upon completion of the program, you should be given a certificate that includes a massage therapist license number and the approved provider’s number (signed or verified by a program official), and a program or course description detailing the sponsor, course title, date, course, content description, and schedule.
For massage therapy continuing education courses that do not involve hands-on techniques, such as lectures, multimedia courses, correspondence courses, or formal self-study, you will also need a certificate of completion with the information outlined above. In the case of self-study, you will need to have verification by a course sponsor as well as detailed information about the nature of the course.
New licensees: If you are a massage therapist who was licensed within the first year of the biennial renewal period, you will be responsible for acquiring only twelve massage therapy continuing education hours, six of which must be hands-on supervised instruction. Massage therapists who have been licensed within the past twelve months are not held accountable for acquiring any continuing education credits until the next renewal period.
Record keeping: Your renewal application is subject to a state audit. All licensed massage therapists will need to keep a record of attendance and any supporting documentation for at least three years from the date of attendance. During the license renewal application process, you will need to certify to the Georgia State Board of Massage Therapy that you have completed the hours required for license renewal.
The Perks of Continuing Education for Licensed Massage Therapists
Schools across Georgia offer stimulating, interactive new ways of learning different massage modalities. Massage therapy continuing education is a great way to learn something new and perhaps even introduce a modality you had not yet considered. Your employers and massage therapy clients also benefit from your additional education.
With so many choices, picking and settling on your twenty-four required CEs should be fun! Just don’t forget to file away your documentation in case of an audit!
Laurie Craig, the 2007 recipient of the prestigious Jerome Perlinski AMTA National Teacher of the Year award, is a respected health science educator, who serves as a subject matter expert for the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. She has also participated in test item writing for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. With more than 25 years of experience in massage training in Atlanta, Laurie used her in-depth industry knowledge to open Georgia Massage School in Suwanee, Georgia. She combines her teaching skills with a comedic edge that students remember and embrace years after experiencing her classes. To learn more, please visit www.georgiamassageschool.com.