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Speaking Out on Certifications

Read what your peers have to say about IHRSA’s recommendation about hiring personal trainers with accredited certifications:

Dear Editor:
I own a personal training center in Canada and have found the certification process does not guarantee that the trainers coming out of these programs are sufficiently educated to work with clients. Though I do agree that certification is necessary, there are only academic standards required, very little is required for proof of the ability to apply said new-found knowledge. Our certifying body here in our province does not provide valid information that truly educates and prepares new trainers for the industry. The instructors are very opinionated about their specialty in fitness and do not provide unbiased information to these new trainers. What we are missing is a longer period of hands on practicum following initial certification. The myriads of certifications offered are nothing more than a cash grab and do little to truly educate trainers to care for the needs of the fit-minded public.
Yours in health,
David Gilks MES

Dear Editor:
I am certified in personal training by ACE and also NSCA (C.S.C.S.). If the personal training industry wants to be looked at as a profession (similar to a lawyer, doctor or cosmetologist), we should act like those professions. If one wishes to become a certified accountant, for example, one must have several hours of accounting classes plus pass the CPA exam. Why couldn't this be done for the personal trainer profession? Why not have a three-step process to becoming a personal trainer: Step One: several hours of college credits (not necessarily a degree), Step Two: passing a basic national exam (not the one being formulated now--that one scares me) Step Three: passing one or more specialty exams administered by:
-ACE-for general population
-NSCA-for athletic training
-ACSM-for clinical settings
-AFAA-for special populations
No other agencies would be allowed to certify. At present there are how many certifying agencies? That is nuts.

Now tell me I am a dreamer. Maybe this will never happen, but the Berlin Wall did come down, Communism fell apart, and the Broncos did win the Super Bowl (if you have lived in Denver, you know what I am talking about). Well that is my 2 cents.
Best in health,
Al Wasser

Dear Editor:
I am the head personal trainer at the Monroe Athletic Club in Monroe, LA. I firmly state that I think any personal trainer/strength conditioning specialist should have a set form of pre-reqs finished before any attempt at being certified. Unfortunately, I have seen far too many "trainers" in my area taint this field with improper form, information and guidance. I would also like to see only a choice few nationally accredited certifications be accepted at health facilities nationwide. I truly believe that if we cracked down on the scams and phonies who are out there making money off of these fly-by-night certifications, we would see a lot more progress along with a lot less negative experience in the health and wellness world.
With Regards,
Joey Lowery M.S. C.F.T.

Dear Editor:
I understand there is a lot of controversy and confusion on this issue; however, I think that it is justified and long over due. Our industry is one of the few professions that have no regulation on who is qualified to be a personal trainer. Previously, it has been up to the hiring managers to decide this issue. Clearly, there has been some progress made on raising the level of education and qualifications among the profession, but there still remains an inadequate and unqualified individual performing personal training service. Unfortunately, now the only way to combat this is to have a uniform standard in our industry. That being said, there are still issues with who is considered to be an accredited certification and who is not. For instance, I realize that the Cooper Institute is in negotiations to be included on the list but at this point in the procedure they are not. Having taken some of the courses myself and also being a certified CSCS professional, the Institute ranks right up there and should be included on the list. My point of writing to you today is not to complain about the Institute not being on the list, but to express my concern about how IHRSA plans to police this issue and how difficult the challenge is ahead of them. I think that IHRSA needs to focus on getting fitness directors and hiring managers on board with this discussion. IHRSA’s initiative has had its missteps, but it can come out of this if it gets the fitness directors of IHRSA clubs on board.
Thank you,
David McGarry
Fitness Director
Cooper Aerobics Center at Craig Ranch

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