I am a registered nurse of 13 years with an associates degree. What is the fastest route to become certified?
I want to combine my nursing experience with my love for fitness and wellness coaching individuals with conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. I hope to do this in local fitness clubs, rehabs, and through PCPs. I need certification in order to also become certified in "Exercise is Medicine".
As a Registered Nurse myself I can tell you that fitness is a great match for nursing. I would encourage you to ask "what is the best certification for my needs" rather than what is the fasted route. If you are talking about ACSM's exercise is medicine certification I believe you need a bachelor's degree to work with high risk populations, so you might want to check that out before you decide on anything. Regardless, I would recommend a NCCA approved certification such as ACE, NSCA, or NASM. You might want to connect with the places you plan to work to ask which certification they prefer.
The quickest way to become a certified personal trainer is to take and pass a computer based exam. The various agencies which provide such certification will have guidelines regarding your eligibility to sit for their exam. As you are already considering the Exercise is Medicine Credential, please note that your CPT credential will have to be from an NCCA accredited program. Some of the most recognized NCCA programs include American College of Sports Medicine ACSM, National Strength and Conditioning Association NSCA, National Academy of Sports Medicine NASM, American Council on Exercise ACE, or the Cooper Institute.
To be eligible for the Level 1 Exercise is Medicine Credential, you will have to hold an NCCA accredited fitness professional credential in addition to completing the EIM training course and exam. Level 2 and Level 3 EIM Credentials specifically require an exercise-science based bachelor’s degree, so even though you have 13 years of experience as a nurse, you still may not qualify. (Unfortunately, in the modern world, certification is all about specialized education from accredited institutions, and not about an individual’s relatable skills are experiences).
You already exceed the General Requirements for most CPT exams. These are usually listed as: 18 years old, high school diploma, CPR/AED with hands on component. If they are NCCA programs, they cannot require you to complete any specific educational program prior to taking their test, so if you feel you possess the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) listed to pass the exam, you may choose to take the test at any time. However, most of the organizations will list suggested preparation programs (for an additional fee), and those programs will often require you to purchase separate texts and materials.
These NCCA programs are not the only options you have however, and there are many other programs available. You may wish to start with an organization such as American Fitness Professionals and Associates AFPA, which incorporates your training materials and references as well as exam fees into the cost of the program. There is usually no minimum time to complete the requirements, though you will often have a maximum of 6 months to complete one certification program. I have completed several AFPA programs, and the texts are often materials produced by the NCCA organizations, for example, one of the texts for the Post-Rehabilitation Exercise Specialist course was “ACSM’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities” which is a $60 to $80 text on its own. One benefit to these programs is that you can learn new skills and obtain a verifiable certification at the same time. You can always “upgrade” your credentials by taking an NCCA exam after completing one of these other programs.
Ultimately, it all depends upon the amount of money you are willing or able to spend, your employer’s preferences or requirements, as well as your abilities to market yourself. Good-Luck on your journey.
If you plan on doing "personal training" it would be advisable to get an ACE certification or ACSM certification
the suggestion for an NCCA certification has been mentioned numerous times. There is an additional reason for looking at those certification. It is a requirement for the "Exercise is Medicine" program. Here is the text:
"Any NCCA certified professional is eligible for one of three levels of the (EIM) credential based on your certification, education, and experience.
None of those are fast certifications but they are highly regarded.