I very much think our profession needs a professional license. Why do you/don't you agree?
I would like others to see our profession as legitimate, and to be seen this way, I think a professional license is our next big step-one that would ideally be both a written exam as well as a demonstration of skills as judged by a panel. Why do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
For example, Physicians are required by law to have their license to practice medicine, but that doesn't make them ALL good. I used to work at a Hospital and believe me, I've seen some really crummy doctors. Some of the things I've seen and heard would make your head spin. It's so important to build a reputation as a fitness professional as someone who is knowledgeable, but also a great coach, instructor and a motivator to those that require our services. That is something that no license will ever show.
are not a guarantee again this is the reason for ACE and ACSM to mention a few.. the others have to be expose by the industry!Way too much regulation by government as well as fees .Time to MAKE MORE OF AN EFFORT EDUCATING THE PUBLIC ON EXISTING CERTIFICATIONS AND THEIR BENEFITS CHOOSING A PROFESSIONAL FROM THE EXISITNG ASSOCIATIONS
This license thing isn't going to happen anytime soon. The powers that be in this industry can't agree on a test to use. Maybe someday.
It doesn't help that what the industry teaches, whatever the topic, can be held up for debate any given week. Crunches or not, knees over the toes or not, squats or not, olympic lifts or not, HIT or not, run or not...shall I continue?
Licensure opens up a can of worms to much more discussion than should we be licensed or not.
I am proud to say that I have personally been part of the shaping of this process in particular for Mat Pilates, Group Exercise to Music and Personal Training.
We still have a long way to go before every fitness professional has the relevant qualifications but it is a great start.
If you go out there and think you are owed something or that you are going to make 40 k + a year from the start..you are going to be disappointed.
One of my fav things to say to clients and it applies to everything in life. Nothing in life that is worthwhile, comes easy! If it were just handed to you, then you wouldn't respect it like you should, you wouldn't see the value in it. What have you learned? This is a huge process that has to be taken in steps, a foundation needs to be built or what has been created will surely come crumbling down.
I stick to my first statement. I would NOT trade my experience and certifications for some license for anything!
I am all for state license for trainers and I wonder if all of the trainers with degrees would pass. In this economy, not all of us are blessed to be able to afford a college education! I have met so many really talented trainers that don't have degrees and some really bad trainers that do have degrees that just think they are great in their own minds.
I do understand your concern about giving someone else, especially the government, power though but that is for another discussion :)
We do need to figure out a way to keep our guidelines enforced in a sensible way and we do need to figure out which certification is a must....
We attended a 2 hour seminar, then sat for the test. I passed with a score of 97%. Virtually everyone else passed too. Turned out the seminar essentially covered the exact questions on the test, then we took the test.
We were then offered the opportunity to stay for an additional 2 hour seminar and then take the "Certified Sports Nutrition Counselor" exam. Why not, right? 2 hours later I passed with a score of 99%.
I will be the first person to tell you that at that point in my life I was NOT ready to train people, and I was nowhere near qualified to provide nutritional counseling. Yet I was certified in both.
As far as I was concerned, those certifications meant nothing. I have always believed that certified does not necessarily mean qualified.
All of this is my long winded way of saying that yes, I 100% absolutely, wholeheartedly agree that we need licensure. Like any profession, licensure does not guarantee that one will be good at their job, but at a minimum it requires a more stringent standard than what many of the countless require for certification.
There are actually organizations out there that state right on their certification page "Don't pay unless you pass." In fact, the BBB did an inquiry:
While it may cost me more money to become licensed, it will be money that I consider well spent to bring some respect to a profession that I care so passionately about that is being tarnished by not having an industry standard.
Wow, that was a lot. Sorry, just kinda passionate about this topic.
There are a number of States (California, New Jersey, Maryland, Georgia, Massachusetts, and D.C.) considering legislation that would require licensing/certification for personal trainers and other fitness professionals. In 2008, a New Jersey bill proposed a licensing law that was both a title and a practice law, protecting both the titles of “personal trainer” and “fitness instructor” (among others) as well as the actual scope of practice. The proposed requirements were an associate’s or bachelor’s degree or 300 hours of approved classroom instruction and a minimum of 50-hour unpaid internship supervised by someone licensed under this proposed law http://www.nbfe.org/pdf/NewJerseySB2164.pdf. Other proposed state laws specify a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Louisiana has a licensing law governing the practice of exercise physiologists.
Particularly when it comes to the passage of legislation restricting the practice of a field to those with licensing, there is a question of whether this is aimed at protecting the public or protecting turf. Certainly there is an obligation by governments to protect its citizens. On the other hand, once a licensing process is started the requirements for licensing tend to gradually escalate excluding more and more individuals. For example, 30 years ago many States allowed individuals with master’s degrees in psychology to be licensed as psychologists. Eventually, every State required a doctorate. Following that, requirements were increased to include a one-year internship and now a two-year internship is required by nearly every State. Is this really the direction that the personal training and fitness field wants to go?
Yes, licensing creates more administrative hassle and paperwork, but like it or not, as business professionals, we are required to have an administrative part to our businesses. As the movement becomes more and more about "prevention," and a "holistic approach" to health and wellness, we as certified trainers and fitness professionals will have to change and adapt with that movement. Unfortunately, this may require our becoming licensed as the medical and health industry attempts to move more of the patients and purchasing public out of the medical offices and into a more preventive arena such as our fitness studios and gyms.
We can't insulate everybody from everything. We still have to respect freedoms and allow the market to work efficiently. Consumer education is the key. The market will decide. Consumers are smart even though the opposite appears to be the case sometimes.
However, I agree with those comments stating we prove ourselves in our work. So a license shouldn't be necessary. I also would not want to go back now and get a license after I have worked so hard on many different certifications and a full blown education.
So its a toss up to me!
When I look at my ACE CPT Certificate it states clearly that I have "met all the requirements of the American Council on Exercise to develop and implement fitness programs for individuals who have no apparent physical limitations or special medical needs."
If personal trainers with credentials as the above working within their scope, I don't see a need for licensing.
Just as there are licensed doctors, attorneys, and phlebotomists who are substandard, there will be the same issue in licensed fitness professionals, no argument there. But I can not use that straw man argument to say that since such a thing could occur, we should trash the idea of licensing for all those individuals altogether. Licensing by a minimum competency standard prevents an innumerable number of people who would otherwise take advantage of an easy money scenario from becoming surgeons simply by hanging out their shingle next week. I am no fan of big government either, but I genuinely believe that in this particular case, the benefits outweigh the risks to the public. And as a fitness professional, the public's longterm safety and wellbeing are my primary concern. And if you're a fitness professional reading this, I bet it's yours too.
The First Definition of Exercise - By Ken Hutchins:
Exercise is a process whereby the body performs work of a demanding nature, in accordance with muscle and joint function, in a clinically-controlled environment, within the constraints of safety, meaningfully loading the muscular structures to inroad their strength levels to stimulate a growth mechanism within minimum time.
Quoted from www.renaissanceexercise.com
I think this would be entirely feasible in the world of personal training & other exercise-related certifications, and would be much less complicated than a licensing process. If a similar concept were adopted in our industry all the governing bodies (ACE, NSCA, ACSM, etc.) would have their name included in the by-line of the coalition, so there could be less vying for the title of top dog. This way all the professionals could agree on their common ground while still allowing for the specializations that each individual nonprofit (or other) certifying body provides, and the standards would be recognized (possibly even endorsed) by the national government. This would eliminate the problems associated with state-wide and similar licensing. As a side-note, the talk of a lifeguarding coalition first began in 2003 and the agreed-upon materials were only released this January (2012). Let's get the ball rolling, people!
All these interventions require one solid component. Knowledge. As one prior respondent stated, if a nail salon has to be licensed, a hair dressor needs to pass a national exam and obtain a license, a occupational and physical therapist has to take and pass a national and state board, how is the fitness profession any different.
Respecting the >100 personal training certifications out there, the two that are consistently scientific and research based, which are ACSM and NSCA. Both clearly have a scope of practice.
As uniquely BOTH an experienced physiotherapist and personal trainer, I do believe the time has come. I don't think necessarily licensure is the option, but definately some form of regulation.
Just because someone has passed an ACE CPT exam, it does not give them the right to work with any population. In addition, the personal trainer still has to have and understand fundamentals, that are not being understood and carried out. I am making this comment from the past 16 years that I have worked as a personal trainer in gyms in the east coast, mid west and west coast. There is a discrepancy in knowledge base and with knowledge comes confidence, safety and results. The proliferation of Kettlebells is a fine example. I had a 60 yo patient who was working with a personal trainer and he had her perform a snatch to press with a 20+ kettle bell. Not only did she injure her shoulder, she had a medium tear to the supraspinatus.
There has to be some form of regulation now. The time has come and all personal trainers really need to learn the science behind the movement, have a sound understanding of anatomy, basic biomechanics, pathology, and truly understand exercise prescription.
A great topic to talk about and most of all, needs to be addressed more seriously!
TV shows do not help, as mentioned above. How would people feel if a doctor started yelling at their patients? It gives people a notion as to how we work as well as gives an unprofessional light to us.
Certifications and degrees go a long ways, a background and experience goes even farther.
Gyms willing to hire low budget trainers that show dangerous moves to clients should be weeded out.
Being able to charge insurance companies, or have doctors prescribe personal trainers would go a LONG ways for us as well.
In any case, I think it will be awhile longer!
Licensing might increase the rates of personal training, and unfortunately, people are already deeming the prices too high. This might deter people from personal training and more toward group training or just training with their friends. I'm also not sure what it would mean for trainers that are already certified either. Imposing new laws on them would result in an ex post facto law situation that would need to be remedied. That could be damaging to the industry.
At a foundational level, the science being taught across the different certs is pretty consistent, which is often the MOST important component anyway. They all tend to solely be opinionated in program design and the ways they choose to present their data to the interested parties. So, are we trying to standardize the science which already seems self-standardized, or are we trying to force everyone to use the same programming?
The only way that I would support licensing would be if trainers gained new permissions such as the ability to create meal plans or perform rehabilitation services. This would then give the trainers new skills and permissions worthy of licensing.
Nevertheless, as it currently stands, licensing seems like overkill. If the goal is to make things more difficult for personal trainers to become personal trainers just so that a few can feel a bit more superior and/or secure in their career because they've met the requirements of licensure, then they should also consider the cost of such an imposition at a broader scope beyond themselves. There's a whole country out there battling an obesity and unemployment epidemic; the more trainers the better to help take out two birds with one stone.
Pros would be that we would finally have some uniform guidelines and over site so the "bad eggs" of the world would possibly be fewer and wouldn't make it through whatever verification steps are made.
If this happens in your state, BE ACTIVE and BE INVOLVED! Policy like this would be made by a bunch of "representatives" of the interest groups in a room under stressful conditions and deadlines of the respective legislature.
Hire a lobbyist and get a group together when this happens so we can make sure people that want to change careers aren't restricted by cost prohibitive education requirements and that the regulatory agency understands that this industry is constantly changing!
I shall step off my soap box now :)