Would you like to know a “secret” about how you can expand student enrollment and earn credibility as a teacher in the holistic health field? Read along and find out how becoming an approved continuing education (CE) provider can open doors for you as an educator. I will share valuable information and tips that I learned while navigating this process successfully with several state and national boards.
I began teaching Reiki in 1996 soon after completing my training. At first I really had no plans to teach Reiki, but a coworker of mine announced that I was going to be her Reiki teacher. There began my journey of teaching Reiki. After my first class, I began letting people know that I was a Reiki teacher. Many of my first students were either massage therapists or nurses. They would always ask if I could provide them continuing education hours. Since I never needed CE hours, I really did not understand how that system worked, who I needed to contact, or what was required of me in order to apply for becoming an approved provider. One of my students gave me the number to the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodyworkers (NCBTMB) and my journey into the world of CE began.
After talking to one of NCBTMB’s representatives, I received a very thick package in the mail. It was filled with forms to fill out about my credentials, my business, and information about each class for which I was seeking approval. I copied the package for my friend that I was co-teaching with at the time. The information sat on our desks for over six months because it looked very intimidating. We finally put aside some time and completed the process in three days. We got reviewed each other’s work, made our copies and mailed them. About two months later we received our certificate of approval in the mail. The process has changed since 1997 when we first received our approval; however, the benefits are the same.
Benefits of Being a CE Provider
There are several benefits to becoming a CE provider. Your enrollment will mostly increase when the professionals that you are approved to give CE hours to find out about your classes. If the professionals taking your classes enjoy their experience, they will spread the word throughout their network. Imagine free marketing! Many professionals are looking for holistic health classes that give CE hours because they can use these skills for their personal well-being as well as for their professional use. Another benefit to becoming an approved provider is that the approval from a national or state board adds credibility to you and your programs or classes. Being a CE provider gives you the opportunity to get your name out into the professional circles. This could open opportunities for you to teach or speak in hospitals, massage schools, community colleges, conferences or in other arenas. I have spoken at a state nursing conference, to social work groups and various networking groups. I have been invited to teach at massage conferences and on cruise ships. All of were due to my ability to provide CE hours. The possibilities are endless.
Investigate the Requirements
There are many national and state boards that require their licensed or certified professionals to acquire CE hours. Most massage therapists need 24 CE hours every two years. Many acupuncturists, nurses, social workers, occupational and physical therapists need CE hours. Most information regarding the boards that need CE hours can be found online. There is no one place that you can go online to get information about all of the boards. However, the book Navigating the Continuing Education Approval Process that I recently updated provides a wealth of information directing you to the resources that you need.
Before you fill out all of the paperwork to become a provider, read their requirements. Make sure that you meet their criteria and that you are willing to fulfill the follow-up requirements of record keeping and maintain the ethical standards that they require before you begin.