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Updating Your Massage Training with Distance Learning

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 7/5/2011

Relying on online CEU massage courses to meet licensing and certification requirements is a cost-effective and time-saving method of undergoing the needed training. Knowing ahead of times what the state-specific requirements are does take the guesswork out of the experience.

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    Are All Online CEU Classes the Same?

    Massage table at Taj Spa by Taj Hotels/Wikimedia Commons There are plenty of venues offering distance learning CEU units without testing and reporting requirements; unfortunately, they frequently fall short of providing the kind of training that certifying bodies look for. Of course, therein also lies the rub: massage therapists are not uniformly licensed, and states have varying licensure and certification prerequisites.

    As a general rule of thumb, when shopping around for online CEU providers in massage therapy and related fields, it is a good idea to look for sanctioning by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). It is noteworthy that 37 states look to the organization to set industry benchmarks with respect to testing and education; 26 states rely on the licensing offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) via its MBLEx exam, which in some cases overlaps with the other governing body.

    In addition to quality, the quantity of mandated continuing education units also differs. As outlined in the 2006 listing of state boards administering massage practice laws, Alabama requires CEUs worth 16 hours on a biennial basis. In Arizona, this number sits at 25. Arkansas, in contrast, only asks massage therapists to complete six hours of CEUs annually.

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    Available Continuing Education Courses: Massage Therapy

    CEU Online

    At $35 per course, the online training provider offers a wide selection of courses that are related to massage therapy but also other disciplines. Examples include “Business Basics for the Massage Field" which carries four CEUs and “Hydrotherapy, Cryotherapy & Thermotherapy" with five hours.

    Chiro Credit

    Start off taking any of the available online courses -- CEU courses for massage therapy in particular – by first discovering state-specific requirements. Taking the guesswork out of these massage courses and their applicability to satisfying state board requirements is cost-effective. For example, Arizona accepts all of their course offerings in general, but only 12 hours of online massage home study courses in particular. Knowing this ahead of time allows the student to plan for the in-person courses she still needs to take to meet all state-mandated requirements.

    Health Positive

    Much like Chiro Credit, Health Positive is one of the online massage therapy schools that provide state-specific information about online continuing education. Massage related online courses are suggested on a state by state basis, together with the number of CEUs and cost; plan on spending between $7 and $58 per class.

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    Why Taking a Massage Therapy Course Online Makes Sense

    For the already trained and working massage therapist, there is only a limited amount of benefit to be gained from do all continuing education work in person. Some classes, especially the more theoretical training on ethics or legal issues, are just as well covered during the spare time the professional may have.


    Relying as much as possible on online CEU massage courses frees up valuable work time and also business hours that are better spent growing the business. Besides, relying on the Internet for continuing education is not new in the medical profession. Those holding a medical assistant certification are already well aware of the copious online courses that help keep their professional credentials current.

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        Photo credit: Massage table at Taj Spa by Taj Hotels/Wikimedia Commons at