Personal Trainer Certification
I?ve decided to pursue personal/fitness training as a career, and I am
in the process of choosing a certification program. I?ve done a bit of
research and found several articles on the subject, but I?m still not
sure which certification is right for me. I?d like some help sorting
through my options. The ideal answer will weigh the pros and cons of
the programs I?ve listed below, and possibly include the programs I?ve
left out (such as Cooper or NFPT).
Here are the programs I?m currently considering:
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
The American Council on Exercise (ACE)
The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)
These are the programs that seem to be the most reputable, widely
accepted certifications in the industry, but I?d like to know what
program, overall, is the most marketable and the most highly regarded
in the industry, and which best fits my current experience and
interests. I?m definitely a beginner, having never worked in the
industry. I do have a Bachelors degree, but it is in a non-related
field. After I become certified, I would like to gain employment at a
health club before venturing out on my own as a self-employed trainer.
I?m interested in overall health and fitness, not just strength
training, and as I gain knowledge in the field, I believe I would like
to explore specialties such as Pilates/yoga training and nutritional
coaching. I?m female, and I?d prefer to work with female clients.
So far, I?m leaning towards NCSA. NCSA boasts that it offers the only
nationally accredited program ? here?s what their site says:
The NSCA Certification Commission's prestigious Certified Strength and
Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer
(NSCA-CPT) certifications are the only certification programs in the
fitness industry nationally accredited since 1993 Earning national
accreditation from the esteemed National Commission for Certifying
Agencies (NCCA) means that a credentialing body has demonstrated an
ability to develop and administer psychometrically sound certification
examinations that effectively discriminate between qualified and
unqualified professionals. This ability to identify competent
individuals who possess a sound knowledge of the principles of
strength training and conditioning and personal training is what makes
the NSCA Certification Commission's credentials so valuable to
employers and certificants alike.
However, from my reading, I understand that an effort is underway by
both the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association
(IHRSA) and the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE) to regulate
certification programs. I understand that they are working with all of
the agencies I?ve listed above, not just NCSA. Does the accreditation
held by NCSA matter at this point?
Suppose I decided to further my education in the field (such as a
degree in exercise science) after becoming certified? will it matter
which of these programs I choose? For instance, UCLA offers a
certificate program in fitness instruction for which you must be NCSA
or ACSM certified. UCLA must know what it?s doing when it picks its
Knowing this, in conjunction with the fact that NCSA is nationally
accredited, NCSA tends to stand out from the rest.
Still, other professionals claim that ACE or AFAA are the best
options, and I hate to rule them out simply because they don?t claim
national accreditation just yet. NASM is also mentioned frequently,
and happens to be very convenient to where I live (northwest of Los
Angeles), so it would be no problem to attend workshops there.
Here are some of the articles I?ve read that relate to the subject.
MSNBC - Is your trainer fit for the job?
Trainer Training, Simplified (washingtonpost.com)
Putting a Trainer to the Test (washingtonpost.com)
Trainer Wanted: Must Fit (washingtonpost.com)
Certification Accreditation Deadline on Hold
Hottest Business Ideas for 2002- Personal Trainer
Philadelphia Inquirer | 08/02/2004 | Body Language | The trainer who
will work out best
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