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Retain Club Members by Hiring Qualified Personal Trainers

Club operators should consider the quality of a personal trainer’s certification as an important part of what gets results and retains members.

Retaining club members is about providing members with benefits that help them meet their training goals. One of the most important aspects of maintaining club members is to provide them with a personal training staff that is personal, certified, and qualified. Of course, personality is an inherent trait that people either have or don’t have that can easily be determined during a standard interview process. However, when it comes to providing service to that member, clubs can look at the quality of a personal trainer’s certification to help improve the member benefit of belonging to the club.

First, and foremost, trainers must be certified. Many reputable certification organizations exist that work to enhance the professional development of personal trainers. Not all certifications are created equal, though, and the certification that your trainers obtain can make the difference in the member experience and your exposure to risk.

Each of the certifications in the market has its own special niche. Certification is designed to measure the knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform a particular job. But how is a club operator to determine the quality of the certification that trainers hold? And which certification should a personal trainer hold?

The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association recommends that IHRSA-member club owners hire personal trainers with certifications from agencies that have been accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA) or have had their curriculum accredited by the Council for Higher Education and Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education. NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), which created NCCA to help ensure the health, welfare, and safety of the public through the accreditation of a variety of certification programs that assess professional competence.

According to ICE: “Accreditation provides third-party oversight of a conformity assessment system. It provides a mechanism for the organization to demonstrate to the profession it represents and the general public it serves that its credentialing program has been reviewed by a panel of impartial experts that have determined that their program has met the stringent standards set by the credentialing community.”

A complete list of accredited certifications can be found on the ICE website and on CHEA’s website.

Club owners who hire personal trainers with an accredited certification provide their members with the highest quality trainers on the market. In addition, mitigation of risk can be accomplished by hiring qualified personal trainers. Knowing that the trainers you hire have achieved a certification with the highest level of standards will help the club reduce liability issues (the ones that come from hiring unqualified personal trainers) and will enhance your members' experience while at the club.

Continuing education is another important aspect for clubs to consider when hiring personal trainers to enhance the member experience. Organizations who offer accredited certifications also have a specified path of continuing education that will continue to help professionally develop trainers. The fitness industry is an ever-evolving field, and the only true way for trainers to keep up on the required knowledge, skills and abilities is to ensure that they are certified by an accredited organization that offers education to continue to develop them as professionals. With this, clubs will see a significant difference in the members' experience and ultimately their results.

Various organizations offer accredited certifications that give personal trainers the opportunity, education and certification to advance their career. In a market full of competition for members, the right certification can give your club the edge it needs to meet members' needs and keep them coming back to the club. And after all, isn't that what it's all about?


Torrey Smith is the certification director at the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). Learn more about the NSCA’s NCCA-accredited certification programs at

TAGS: Step by Step
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