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Jay’s Corner of the Industry – How We Stepped Out Of The Shadows

By Jay Del Vecchio W.I.T.S. President & CEO

A little bit of history:

25 years ago at the urging of CEO’s at a Club Industry Conference we went national. This came about after I revealed in a roundtable that we had a regional certification with these very same titans in the industry. The problem was simple to these CEO’s. The other certification groups were not bringing them good overall solid employees to build their businesses. In 1993 we set up our first site with the Virginia Beach Adult Learning Center in Virginia, we then added Mercer County Community College in New Jersey. Our national certification was launched and we were ready to improve the industry. I knew we could do better than just having candidates for this profession read a book or take a weekend review course followed by a written exam to be a “qualified” Certified Personal Trainer.

One by one we added higher learning institutions. Why, because W.I.T.S. was going to be directing health occupation fitness professionals to work with people’s moms, dads, sisters and brothers. If we were going to be “the” leader in the industry and if we were going to hang my families name on the education, training and certification exams, we had to be more than the minimum industry standards. Why not be the best for our alumni and employers.

Our next step was to add vital credibility reviews from 3rd party similar occupations that worked with the public. We got approved by Athletic Trainer groups, Massage Therapy groups, Occupational Therapy groups and most importantly college credits through the American Council on Education (2000 college institution members). After 15 years we also added the International Association of Continuing Education and Training . We wanted to make sure our continuing education met the worlds standards. At this point the industry made up its own alphabet soup of standards to meet their business model. To me this seemed more like a cash grab from continuing education providers than about requiring a true industry standard for developing the best professionals in the field. We will talk more about this in the very near future.

Finally we added the NCCA Accreditation. As a self-regulating industry, a few of the certification groups decided to use the NCCA group as a minimal standard to secure industry credibility. I like having 3rd party groups review our certification. Reviews just make you better. At this point adding the NCCA was another step up that ladder so we got accredited. The NCCA structure is about having the agreed upon job description of a professional position tested psychometrically & validated by a solid exam. It is one third of what we consider the whole package of education, training and quality testing. The proper testing including practical skill competency is critical. W.I.T.S. is the only certification in the 40 year old industry to lead and require this to be able to train the public at large. It did cost us more to build out the practical testing infrastructure over the 25 years but like your dad told you as a kid, do it right or do not do it at all.

Be proud as a W.I.T.S. graduate since your accomplishments are the highest in the industry. Next month we will share even more to help you share all of this valuable info with your local media, clients and employers. It is time to engage and increase your value so you are appreciated even more!!

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