I'm beginning to feel like there should be a group for CE Providers where they could come together and share their stories. The ones and the horror ones!
You know the ones, they go like this:
Wow, you've got a good thing going, how can I do that?
How can you charge so much for CEs?
XYZ Provider only charges half of what you do.
How do you get to be an instructor/CE Provider?
Massage Therapists don't make enough money to pay for these classes every two years AND pay for their licenses.
That's not the way I was taught to do that in school.
Let me show you how I do it.
Or the students who constantly have to tell you a story about their mother, or brother or second cousin or something else that they think has to do with what you are teaching, but really doesn't in the end.
Or the ones who are only there the month before license renewal because they need the credits.
And then there are the ones who would like to pay you for the credits, not attend the class and get the certificate anyhow!
The ones who ask inappropriate questions, the ones who tell you that you don't really know the modality you are teaching because they saw a You Tube video and it wasn't like that, the ones who show up at a class 6 months pregnant and can't participate because the first part of the hand's on section has them laying face down for an hour or the modality itself is a total contraindication to massage, the ones that already know everything but again needed the credits, the ones that need to have their phones on because there just might be an emergency at home, work, whatever!
I've seen a lot of all of this and I'm still a CE Provider because I love to teach. I love to share my knowledge with others who want to learn from me. But I am tired of those who think it is easy and an easy way to make big money. It's not!
I've spent a lot of hours creating handouts, updating handouts, redesigning handouts and in general making my handouts! Creating the documentation that you need to get nationally certified to teach my courses is an exercise in itself! I've been Florida certified, Pennsylvania certified and now Nationally certified and each one wants a specific set of documentation. And this doesn't include the amount of time spent in the actual class or classes to learn the modality and the time spent practicing and then implementing the modality on clients in order to hone the skills to be able to teach it. (And by the way, knowing something does NOT mean that you can teach it responsibly!)
My biggest pet peeve right now is that I have a 20 page Ethics document that the National Board will not approve as an online CE, however I just downloaded a 4 page document that would probably take me 20 minutes max to read that apparently has been approved by the Board for 4 hours of CE! And the online Ethics class that have used for the last 12 years has not changed since I first took it and also is less pages that the document that I submitted. But I digress!
Teaching Continuing Education to massage therapists has been very rewarding to me but students need to understand that for the most part CE Providers have a lot of time and effort into creating their classes, preparing for their classes and teaching their classes. We (as CE Providers) need the same respect that hopefully was given to the instructors in your original Massage Therapy Program at whatever school you attended.
Oh, and the money part? Remember that as instructors the amount of money we are paid depends on the location where the class is being held. Each venue has its own percentage that they give a CE Provider and some locations pay by the hours on site or by the CE hour. When you factor in travel and expenses it is not really as much as you think. So stop wondering why a class may have been cancelled. An instructor that has to travel and stay overnight at a location for only a few students is losing money! So when your instructor shows up and there is a very small class count yourself very lucky indeed.
I guess the comment that gets me the most has to do with the price of classes. I have taken classes that required me to travel and pay more that what most would think is fair, however they were classes that I wanted to experience more than just needed for licensure. These were classes that have been something that I have added to my massage toolbox. Modalities that my clients have benefited from not in direct proportion to the monies that I had spent in learning them. But if they are also classes that I benefited from in being with the instructors. Classes that I have in turn gotten "stories" from and grown as a therapist. Every instructor we meet on our journey has a story and gives a little of themselves to each and every class - good, bad or indifferent. We have instructors we loved and ones not so much. Hopefully we learned something from each one. What to do and what not to do. The cost of the class was the price to learn that lesson.
The comment that massage therapists don't make enough for XYZ class is a result of the industry overall not paying therapists enough and therapists not being willing to charge enough for their service and knowing their worth. I know that this is harsh but as a group we sometimes find it hard to charge money for something that we love to do. As a therapist we need to make the decision that we are worth what we charge (remember the expenses part of the job) and that it takes work outside of the therapy room to have enough clients to make a living. If you aren't making enough to take the classes required in your state or pay for your license you need to step back and take a look at your practice or the place you are working. Are you being paid fairly at a job or are your expenses too much for the number of clients you see in a week? If you need more clients then go out and get them. Having a business requires more work especially in the beginning to get a client base. And if you are working for someone maybe it is time to start looking for something better. BUT, the bottom line as far as having money for classes really comes back to you. I would like to share a post from a Facebook group that I belong to about just that! And as one poster said - this applies to massage for you as a therapist also! If you are going to do the work you have to get the work! Here it is:
"Usually it's about 24 CEs every two years. CE classes can range all over the place in price, but you want to be able to take classes you're actually INTERESTED IN, and those won't always be the cheapest, particularly if you're traveling to a magical venue like Bali, or Hawaii. Now I'm not going to suggest that's where you take your CE's, just opening that possibility, because manifestation begins with potentiality. What I will do, is the math. 24 CE over two years give you 2 years or 104 weeks to pay for them. Lets' round that to 100 and you can take 4 weeks off. If you look, plenty of QUALITY CE classes in your local area are priced between $20 and $30 an hour. That means with 100 weeks to pay for them, you need only put aside $4.80- $7.20 each week from tips. Skip one trip to Starbucks each week, tip yourself instead. Get an envelope."
This is an excellent summary of what is needed to be able to "afford" those "costly" CE classes!
The rest of the stories will be for another blog post! You can see what I teach and the exorbitant prices that I charge on my Current Classes page on this website!
Paula J Kaprocki, LMT
I am a Licensed Massage Therapist with thoughts, aspirations and opinions - much like any other person on the planet!