If you are a member of a reputable industry association for massage therapists in Australia, you will be required to undertake Continuing Professional Education (CPE) as a condition of your membership and to maintain your Health Fund Provider Status.
CPE ensures your personal growth as a therapist, your compliance to industry standards and professional currency for both “old”, new and emerging treatment modalities.
Unlike the Nationally Recognised Training (NRT) like the Diploma of Remedial Massage, the delivery of CPE is not regulated and the quality of the courses on offer is wide and varied.
Here are the 3 questions you should answer before you commit your hard earned dollars and time to a CPE course.
1. Who is the course delivered by and what is their level of qualification and experience that equips them to teach others?
To teach any NRT at a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), the trainers must meet certain criteria. They must have:
· vocational competencies at least to the level being delivered and assessed;
· current industry skills directly relevant to the training and assessment being provided;
· current knowledge and skills in vocational training and learning that informs their training and assessment. (ie the relevant qualification in adult education).
Keeping these standards in mind it is so important that you look at the qualifications, knowledge and experience of the presenter(s).
It is crucial to making an informed decision. They need to know how to develop course material, deliver it in a manner that maximizes the learner experience and they MUST be an industry expert in the subject they are teaching.
If they aren't qualified and aren't experienced to industry standard, then how can you trust what you are being taught?
2. Will you be able to use what you learn in your practice?
Each Association has a slightly different Scope of Practice. If a modality you choose to learn is outside of your Association’s scope, then you will not be awarded CPE and it may not be covered by your insurance policy.
Additional, higher risk modalities, like dry needling and cupping will require evidence that the training has met at least the standard of the Nationally Recognised Training and been delivered by someone that has the appropriate qualification to train to that standard.
Where you practice may also determine if you can include a new modality to your practice, especially for home based therapists.
Most councils require the facility to meet certain standards and have a certificate of compliance from their Health Department before modalities like dry needling can be offered. It’s better to investigate this before you do your course than find out after. Whilst personal development is great, at the end of the day you want a new modality to add value to your business.
3. Is the training recognized by a REAL Association?
There are several groups advertising in Australia that promote themselves as "Institutes" or an "Academy" that "approve" a lot of courses. Note the abundance of "inverted commas" in this sentence.
Any course can be approved for international recognition if a fee is paid by the course provider to these organisations.
It does not indicate in any way the quality of the content. (My personal favourite is the Internationally Recognized Diploma of Knitting). It may be fun to do, and hey, if you want to learn how to communicate effectively with your dog or how to interpret his dreams then knock yourself out! But to add to your clinical practice. Please NO!
Before you hand over your money, always check if it will be recognized by a REAL Association like AMT, MMA, ANTA etc. And... if it looks too be good to be true - like a "Masters Diploma in Aromatherapy" for $250.... it generally is!
CPE is not something to be feared. It can and will help you to expand your knowledge, lead to personal development opportunities and ensure that treatments you offer to your clients are safe and effective and supported by industry best practice. Buyer beware though if you want it to add to your clinical practice!