Build an Audience

Yes, therapists are required to take massage continuing education courses in most US states, but getting people to sign up for your courses is not as easy as you think. Before you go down the road of getting approved by NCBTMB, start working on building your audience or finding an audience you can join in on. The approval process does take time, so begin cultivating your email list, social media following, and website first; then start developing your course and get approved. I spent a year building my audience before selling them anything. When selling online, rule of thumb is, 2% of your audience will buy from you. That means, for every 1000 followers you have, 20 people will buy. Can you see why selling online courses isn’t as easy as it seems? Trust me, I thought it would be so easy. My courses are awesome, LMTs need to have continuing education, of course I am going to make millions! Ha! I’m getting there 44 dollars at a time…

If you do not want to build your own audience to sell massage continuing education courses to, you do have other options. Check with massage schools to see if they are looking for online or live instructors. You can also connect with online providers that are looking for more courses to add to their current offerings. Heck, I would be up for that! I already pay for a monthly subscription to teachable, if I found a provider and I liked their style, I would absolutely be open to putting their course in my online school. It would mean more offerings for my students and I would make royalties. Win/win!

Choosing a Course Topic

So now that you have begun building your tribe of screaming fans, now you start creating the course. Hold up, it’s not time to design those hand-outs just yet! You need to test your idea and make sure that people are looking for what you are selling. I am sure there is a topic you are very passionate about and you have already decided what you want your massage continuing education course to be. However, I would hate for you to put all the time and effort into creating a course that no one wants. Ask your audience if they would be interested in the course you are considering creating. If you do not have an audience, go into the massage therapist forums and Facebook groups and ask there. If you find people that are interested – get their info. When it comes time to sell, you will already have a warm audience.

Keep in mind, NCBTMB has specific requirements for their courses. Make sure you meet those requirements before you create your course. This list is directly from

Acceptable course content includes, but is not limited to:

  • Applications of massage and bodywork therapy for specific needs, conditions, or client populations
  • Anatomy, physiology and kinesiology
  • Research literacy
  • Client assessment protocols, skills for client record keeping, strategies for interfacing with other health care providers
  • Use of external agents such as water, heat, cold, or topicals
  • Body-centered or somatic psychology, psychophysiology, interpersonal skills – which may include communication skills, boundary functions, phenomena of transference, counter-transference and projection
  • Standards of practice, professional ethics or state laws
  • Strategies for the marketing of massage and bodywork therapy practices
  • Theory or practice of ergonomic science as applied to therapist or client
  • Hygiene, methods of infectious disease control, organization and management of the treatment environment
  • The use of massage therapy tools and their specific needs (tools may not be sold during class time and the instructor must be able to supply students with the tools during class)
  • Working with the muscles within the oral cavity for specific treatments, i.e. working on the masseter muscle in conjunction with TMJ Disorder
  • Self-care courses concentrating on nutrition and/or diet only, but only as it enhances the learner’s knowledge about the practice of massage therapy
  • Perform yoga/yoga teacher training programs (acceptable for therapist’s self-care only)*
  • Active strengthening/physical training  (acceptable for therapist’s self-care only)
  • Advanced science courses that contain content which goes beyond the massage therapist’s scope of practice (as defined by state and/or local legislation), and that is instructive in understanding different systems of the body or human behavior more in depth. Click here for more information
  • Energy work that includes “’professional therapeutic hands-on applications.”

*NCBTMB only accepts 4 CEs per renewal period in Self-Care. Self-Care is NOT a requirement.

Where Do I Design My Online Course?

I really like Teachable. You can load video, pdfs, text, files, and most users are familiar with the platform. It is super easy and affordable to get started. I know how scary it can be to pay for a platform when you don’t have any course sales yet. Teachable also offers courses that are included in your subscription that teach you how to launch and sell your courses. I highly recommend and am an affiliate for Teachable. If you decide to use the platform – please use my affiliate link HERE. No extra cost to you, but I get a commission. Woohoo!

How Much Does it Cost to Apply?

The cost to apply to be a massage continuing education provider from NCBTMB is $225 plus and optional $50 for a New York waiver. New York and Florida continuing education requirements differ from NCBTMB, so you need special permissions to offer CEU to LMTs in those states.

New Instructor Qualifications (All New Applicants)

Before you apply, make sure you meet NCBTMB’s requirements to be considered as a continuing education provider. From

•Holds a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or a substantially equivalent accrediting body of a foreign sovereign state, with a major in a subject directly related to the content of the program to be offered; OR

•Has completed at least five years of professional experience in the practice of massage therapy; OR

•Has a minimum of two years teaching experience; OR

•Has completed an NCBTMB approved teacher training program in the area of interest; OR

•Has completed at least 100 hours of non-entry level education in the subject matter to be offered and has a minimum of two years of professional experience in the subject

I am Approved, Now What?

Now, it is time to sell your massage continuing education course! Remember when you were asking who would be interested in your course topic? Go back to those massage therapists that said they were interested and contact them to let them know the course they were waiting for is here. Blast social media, your email list, and tell any massage therapist you know about your course. If you get this far and need help promoting, let’s set up a mentoring session to make a plan.

Want some inspiration? Check out my online courses!