Action Plan to become a qualified therapist

The Burren College of Complimentary Therapy will be posting a series of blogs on suggestions on how to become an accredited qualified complementary health therapist.  The blog will cover topics such as:

Getting an Accredited Qualification in Complementary Therapies.
How to approach a study plan to get the best possible result.
How to approach exams.
Professional Indemnity/Membership
How to set up a home practice.
How to build a clientele.
Ways to self care.

Action Plan

It is important to set realistic goals in your Action Plan that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.  

Therapists will rarely have just one speciality and practitioners will often have two or three qualifications in order to offer clients a range of treatments to suit their needs – for example Massage Therapy can be physically taxing for a therapist to preform, but Reflexology will be less tiring on their body.

So, you will need to plan ahead and give yourself up to two years to achieve a suite of qualifications and gain experience in your chosen fields.

How do you decide what therapy to study?

There are so many options available it can be confusing as to where to start:

It is most important to remember that if you are spending good money on a course that it should be fully accredited and recognised by professional indemnity insurance companies and organisations.

Picking a course that will be a good foundation to springboard into other courses is highly recommended.  A course such as the Diploma in Holistic Massage (which includes Anatomy, Physiology, Business and Professionalism) is a great course to start on. Successful completion will mean the therapist can start work immediately while continuing to study another therapy to add to what you have achieved.

Once you have decided what your entry course will be, you should make an appointment with a recommended therapist to have a treatment in the area of your chosen subject.   This will help you to find out if it is something that you can see yourself in doing in practice.

Where to achieve an Accredited Qualification?

Questions to ask when researching a course:

  • Which school/college to pick? Check out a number of institutions to see how they compare in areas such as commencement dates, exam dates, class numbers, types of tuition and cost (including the cost of exams).

  • Is there an easy payment scheme available?  The course could be more accessible to you if the fees could be paid over the period of the programme.

  • Is the college recognised for funding by agencies like Fás, Department of Social Protection, and St. Vincent de Paul etc.?

  • What is the time-scale of this course? Knowing how many hours of theory, practical, and case study work are involved will help you plan ahead.

  • When and where will exams take place?  This is important to know because you will need to keep your calendar clear for these dates.

  • Does the school/college suit you? Different organisations have different approaches, so see which one will appeal to your learning style and your approach to education by making an appointment and visiting it first-hand.

  • What happens if you miss classes? Check if there is there a system in place to help you catch up with the rest of the group should you miss classed due to illness etc.

Adults returning to education

I have found that many adult learners who have been out of education for a long time may lack confidence and feel they are unable to retain anything they will learn in a new course. This could be due to apprehension over examinations or bad past experience with education systems. However, my own teaching experience has shown me that the proper support in the initial stages of a return to the classroom will help build self-belief in an older student, and their ability to learn and retain knowledge. It is important for the adult learners to know that this assistance is available to them in their new educational endeavour.

For a positive start, it is necessary to feel confident in the teaching and learning processes.  Adult learners have gained many life experiences and it is vital to the classroom environment that there is a space for this experience to be expressed – everyone in the class can learn from these contributions.

Watch out for next topic which will be ‘Best practice for Study and Learning’


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