Over the past two decades, Personal Training has grown to be the #1 internal revenue generator in the fitness industry. This same fitness industry has accepted the majority of certifications without much thought about the vast discrepancy in qualifications among various certifying bodies. In many cases, if a job applicant holds the same certification as the fitness director, it is accepted. In other club groups, acceptance of a particular certification is based “self-regulation” and propaganda.
Some highly professional fitness facilities have done their homework. They pay attention to the numbers, and these businesses know that a true education-based certification like W.I.T.S., with complete comprehensive testing in written knowledge and practical skills, will produce long term success. Our direction has always been to align our standards with health occupations like EMT. A true educational approach with research-based testing and internship requirements provides a qualified pool of job applicants from which employers can select the best of the best!
In today’s market, it is very hard to find qualified talent to meet clients’ needs and ensure a steady flow of revenue from personal training. The low bar that has been set and accepted has created a monster that, after 20 years, has undermined the industry and sidelined personal training as a legitimate and sustainable career path. Taking the easy way has led to the sad and desperate approach of hiring as many Personal Trainers as possible and then throwing them into the mix to see what sticks. Fitness employers themselves have created a vicious cycle of rapid turnover and low revenues.
Knowledge Without Skills Won’t Cut It
Today’s certification associations (ACE, NASM, NFPT, NSCA and others) still only require a written exam qualification for certification, to work in a hands-on industry. Imagine visiting a dentist who has never used a tool, but only learned the theory and science of dentistry. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters trust these book-smart trainers, even though many have no practical experience. Establishing a format for hands-on practical labs at universities to learn the trade and then creating a standalone infrastructure to test individual skills is a big deal.
An important side issue is that the public at large does not know who is really working with them. Is a trainer with no practical experience qualified to provide a safe and effective science-based workout? Failure to address this side of the coin has created a cataclysmic cycle of job training and turnover for fitness Human Resources departments all over North America. Both mom-and-pops and big box chains are in constant hiring mode.
Imagine a chain of clubs hiring 4,000 trainers in a year and then having to rehire another 3,000 personal trainers again the following year. Why? The trainers that were hired from certification mills with written-test-only requirements were not fully qualified, and this has created an endless cycle. These shortcuts have created a loop of issues that repeats itself, to the detriment of the entire club industry. The Band-Aid standards approach on the part of certification mills is costly for overall operations. Desperation leads to bad decision-making by clubs, scrambling to fill vacated positions.
W.I.T.S. is here to help clubs that want both the highest standards for their clients and long-term business success. We do this alone, but it needs to be done the right way. W.I.T.S. Personal Trainers and Group Fitness Instructors are internationally recognized, but that is secondary to the fact that our graduates are ready from day one to perform on the job, with no additional training needed. Unfortunately, other certification groups are taking a short cut, which cheapens our profession as a whole.
Apples to Apples, Nope!
What does this mean for you, the W.I.T.S. Personal Trainer? You are the diamond in the rough. You have accomplished 3 times more in your training, testing and internship qualifiers to be certified than most trainers with other certifications. You are in a great position to ask for higher pay than a common certification mill trainer who only passed a written online exam. W.I.T.S. trainers perform! Club management does not have to hold a W.I.T.S. Certified Personal Trainer’s hand. Instead, a Fitness Manager or club owner can match your job performance goals to their program goals. Be polite, be professional but point out the difference a W.I.T.S. Certification makes, and how it can help a potential employer` succeed. Sell yourself! You are worth more, so dress to impress and get the position and income you deserve!
Read Club Industry’s solution to the fitness industry’s high personal trainer turnover problem.