** The following article is provided for the edification of our WEB readers, who are striving to be their very best!
"Getting certified" as a Personal Fitness Trainer or Group Exercise Instructor first began about 21 years ago. The need to qualify an instructor's ability to lead people in safe exercise was a good thing. The fitness industry stepped up to lead, rather than waiting for state regulations.
The media soon began telling consumers to ask about certification. And now the media faces a harder task - that of helping the public unravel the maze of regional, national, and international certifications.
Most certifications are accepted at face value due to their longevity or marketing clout. But, what do the certifications really say about a health club or instructor? What is the philosophy of a club regarding training? Can instructors safely lead from a "national or international" certification after graduating?
The criteria in chart A raises answers as well as questions regarding certification qualifiers. The information was compiled from 11 certification companies' brochures and follow up phone calls to their headquarters. The categories and results may surprise you.
Many management teams select training/certifications based on convenience; in other words, the certifiers will come to the club and complete their task in one or two days. Other management teams make their choice based on the cost factor.
Although these reasons are understandable, what is the message insofar as the facilities' commitment to health care?
A happy, safe ground can be found for both clients and health clubs.
The average aerobic training for well-known training/certification programs is 8.2 hours. The average personal training hours of training/certification is 12 hours. Can a newly certified instructor with 8.2 hours function effectively? And, how much of this total training focuses on practical versus textbook?
Incidentally, two excellent advanced programs - the Cooper Institute and ACSM - have prerequisites to attend their five-day schools.
How do people get up the first rung in the ladder when no one should or would hire an instructor without experience? The certifiers have only three in each area of aerobics or personal training that even focus on the novice. However, all certifications polled claim that their programs could easily be used by novices.
Selection, progression, and standardization of certifications have evolved on simple supply-and-demand criteria. If you want better, ask questions: What did their certification training involve? How many hours of hands-on experience did the trainer get? Have the club trainers all passed tests in both practical and core knowledge application?
You can never ask enough questions when it involves your well-being .
|Certification||Cost||Core Hours||Practical Hours||Internship||Written||Practical||Exam Cost||Pre-Requisites||Days Taught||Textbook Included||Retest||College Credits||IACET Recognized||BOC Recognized||AOTA Recognized||Veteran's Training|
|ACE||$499-699||Home Study||Home Study||N||Y||N||Included||Y||Home Study||Y||$200||N||N||N||N||N|
|AFPA||$395||Home Study||Home Study||N||Y||N||Included||Y||Home Study||Y||$50||N||N||N||N||N|
|IFPA||$399||Home Study||Home Study||N||Y||N||Included||Y||Home Study||Y||$79||N||N||N||N||N|
|ISSA||$599||Home Study||Home Study||N||Y||N||Included||Y||Home Study||Y||N||N||N||N||N||N|
|NFPT||$329-569||Home Study||Home Study||N||Y||N||$329||Y||Home Study||Y||$119||N||N||N||N||N|
|NSCA||$235-420||Home Study||Home Study||N||Y||N||$420||Y||Home Study||N||$320||N||N||N||N||N|
|W.I.T.S.||World Instructor Training Schools|
|AAAI/ISMA||American Aerobic Association International / International Sports Medicine Association|
|ACE||American Council on Exercise|
|ACSM||American College of Sports Medicine|
|AFFA||Aerobic & Fitness Association of America|
|AFPA||American Fitness Professionals and Associates|
|COOPER||Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research|
|IFPA||International Fitness Professionals Associations|
|ISSA||International Sports Science Association|
|NASM||National American Sports Medicine|
|NFPT||National Federation of Personal Trainers|
|NSCA||National Strength & Conditioning Association|
|NAFC||National Association for Fitness Certification|
|Recognized and Accreditations|
|ACE||American Council on Education|
|IACET||International Association for Continuing Education and Training|
|BOC||Board of Certifications|
|AOTA||American Occupational Therapists Association|
|Updated: January 2013|
Approval and recognition by these leading organizations!
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