As Featured in:

Fit Business Insider – Personal Training Business – Fitness Business – Fitness Marketing

Personal Training Certifications: A Different Perspective

I’m going to start this off by saying that I fully expect many of you to disagree with what I say here.

Oh well.

Talk about personal training certifications and you’re bound to get a bunch of opinions and some people get pretty worked up over it.

I’ve heard plenty of fitness professionals complain about people being able to get certified in a 1 or 2 day weekend workshop or do a home study certification.

I’ve also heard a few guys scoff at people when they created their own certifications.

This is where I’m about to lose half of you.

Get over yourself.

See, coming from working in a University setting – this is how we looked at the educational hierarchy:

Level 1: Certification

Level 2: Associate Degree

Level 3: Bachelor’s Degree

Level 4: Master’s Degree

Level 5: Doctorate

Ummm, which is the lowest in this hierarchy?

Yep – Certification.

In my opinion – a Certification is a starting point – and only a starting point – for someone who wants to become a personal trainer, or in the case of specialty certifications – become more proficient in a particular discipline.

Let me give you another example outside the fitness industry that hopefully you all are familiar with.

CPR Certifications.

I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t take 6 months to get one of those. And if we’re equating importance of knowledge acquired with length of the course – shouldn’t it?

We’re talking about someone learning to save someone’s life, right?

If you’re going to give someone CPR, shouldn’t you practice more than an afternoon?

Shouldn’t you practice under adverse circumstances – because it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll actually be using what you learn in anything other than adverse circumstances.

To quote the American Heart Association: “The CPR Certification is a basic program designed to give you the confidence to respond in an emergency situation with skills that can save a life.”

But you wouldn’t assume that going through a CPR Course qualifies someone to be an Emergency Room Physician, would you?

You wouldn’t even say that qualifies them to be an EMT, right?

No – the Certification is simply a workshop where you learn a set of skills and some specific knowledge –and then are tested on the material that was presented to assess your proficiency.

Isn’t that what most fitness certifications are?

A workshop or specific material with a test to make sure that you were actually paying attention?

Personally – I wish more people had certifications where they gave a workshop and then actually tested you on the material that was presented.

These guys may hate me for saying this, but do you think the industry would be more or less effective if Mike Boyle was delivering workshops and the attendees were tested to see if they actually ‘got it’ when they came to training athletes?

What about if Alwyn Cosgrove gave a workshop on fat loss programming and the trainers were tested on their understanding of the material?

That would be bad?

Not from my perspective.

Personally, I don’t think that ‘too many certifications’ is the issue at all.

The issue is that some people think that Certification = Expert.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

If you get a Certification, this is what it means to me: you were willing to fork over some money and invest some time and effort into learning more about a particular subject and are willing to be tested to measure your knowledge / proficiency.

It’s the starting point.

To become an expert, you don’t wait on your Diploma to arrive in the mail – you continue to study, research and work.

When you get your Certification – you know CPR – you’re not a doctor.

Let me know what *you* think about personal training certifications below.  Do you think I’m wrong?  Tell me why.  Do you agree? I want to know.

Dedicated to your success,

Pat Rigsby

Pat Rigsby is a Co-Owner of the International Youth Conditioning Association & the youth fitness franchise Athletic Revolution as well as a fitness industry consultant serving thousands of personal trainers and fitness entrepreneurs. Sign up for his fitness business free newsletter to discover proven marketing, sales and business strategies, along with blog updates, news, and more! While you’re at it, follow him on Twitter.

Facebook comments:

Wordpress SEO Plugin by SEOPressor