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New Jersey Bill Would Certify, Not License, Trainers and Instructors

TRENTON, NJ -- The New Jersey bill that would certify personal trainers and group exercise instructors in that state is currently in committee.

Senate Bill 2164 is in the Senate Commerce Committee, according to a person in the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services. The person added that the bill, which was introduced last year, was not on an agenda this week and that of the several thousands of bills introduced, only about 12 percent eventually become law.

The proposed certification requirement of New Jersey’s personal trainers and group exercise instructors is a change from the original bill’s call for licensure of trainers and instructors. The state’s Board of Medical Examiners would be charged with oversight of the implementation of the bill’s certification requirements, which would include an approved course study of at least 200 classroom hours. Trainers and instructors also would have to be certified through a National Commissioner for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredited program, and certification would have to be renewed every three years.

Health clubs would have to be registered with the state and renew every two years, according to the bill. Nonprofit fitness facilities would be exempt from the bill.

Last week, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) issued a statement vehemently opposing the bill. In May, IHRSA’s lobbyist and the New Jersey Coalition of Fitness Professionals met with Sen. Paul Sarlo, the Senate Majority Leader and sponsor of the bill.

“If passed, this bill will have devastating effects on the livelihood of an estimated 10,000 fitness professionals in New Jersey, and ultimately the health of the state’s residents,” Joe Moore, IHRSA’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “The restrictions the bill imposes are overly burdensome, substantially deviate from current industry practice and ignore the high accreditation standards established for clubs throughout the U.S.”

Other organizations, such as the IDEA Health and Fitness Association, oppose the bill, which could be moved out of committee as early as next week. New Jersey’s legislative session resumed Monday and will end Jan. 12 of next year. If the bill dies in committee, it will have to be re-introduced.

IHRSA says a similar bill in Massachusetts that would license personal trainers will likely not move forward in the second year of that state’s legislative regular session.
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