Is it ever okay to work outside of the scope of practice of the certification you hold?
If you are certified, no matter what type of certification you hold we all have a scope of pratice Is it ever okay to take on clients who have needs that are beyond your certifications scope of practice? If you are degreed and have decided not to go the certification route, how do you determine what is your scope of practice?
I would say "sometimes" to working outside the scope of practice of held certifications: What if you have certifications (which we're all required to) PLUS work experience or a degree or two in relevant areas of study? Doesn't what you learned on the job or to obtain your degree trump the deficiencies of certain certifications?
An individual's scope of practice should take into account ALL training and experience one has obtained, not purely in the form of passing the tests for the certifications (please, no offense to any certifying body, but God help us all if we relied solely on certification content).
Our knowledge and experience should be fluid; we should never think we're done learning, simply because we passed a test. The amount of new and exciting research in our field that emerges regularly is staggering. Do you figure you have a handle on that if you simply took your one certification course? Of course not. And, I'm assuming that most of the reputable organizations, like IDEA, ACSM, Can-Fit-Pro, CPTN, would want and encourage us to seek out more information. In my experience, the content in most certification courses is just enough to build a strong framework on which to build; it's not the done deal!
Bottom line: if you are confident in your knowledge and abilities, so much so that you would sign a legal document stating as such, then there is no reason not to try to learn more and help more. If you have serious doubts in your ability, listen to that voice and learn more before acting.
Going outside your scope of practice means that you are, in effect, doing something you have neither the (formal) education or certification to do.
Nutrition has always been a gray area, certifications tell you how to work with healthy client recommendations but can't write a menu. Gray Area!
I hold a couple of active certifications and they all have a different take on "scope of practice". You can always give recommendations or write programs but not prescriptions...its in the wording that defines scope of practice.
Have you for yourself made clearly defined boundaries of what services you will perform professionally and services that you will pass on to a physical therapist. This segues into the question, what is your professional code of ethics?
Thank you very much Louie for the interchange of opinions.
1. "So what is your personal scope of practice?"
2. "What is your niche?"
3. "Do you have boundaries in place for liability issues?"
4. "Are you able to be insured"
Sounds like you have an interesting perspective on this subject, tell us more?
1. My scope of practice is not personal; It is defined by the certifying bodies of the certifications I hold. I don't have a problem with that. Thanks to Idea Fitness Connect, it is easy to find out what credentials I currently hold just click on my name and you will go directly to my profile. Once you see which credentials hold you may visit the site of the certifying body and find out my scope of practice. It's all public.
2. What is your niche? Please feel free to visit my site at www.focusedwellness.com
3. Yes, I do have boundaries in place for liability issues (which thank goodness I've never had to contend with) but for the fact that working within one's professional boundaries edifies our industry. If you are a personal trainer, know your professional boundaries, if you are an athletic trainer, know your professional boundaries, if you are a pediatrician, know your professional boundaries. Why should it be different for fitness and wellness professionals?
4. I am able to be insured. Please visit my profile and scroll down to the bottom to see confirmation of insurance.
5. Regarding my perspective on this, whether one decides to hold a certification or not professional ethics dictates that one have a scope of practice that they abide by. If everyone does whatever they want then we have a wild, wild west situation. I don't believe that is what you are in this industry for
I am grateful for this site because it gives us all an opportunity to thought-provoking questions that bring to light the high level of professionalism among dedicated fitness professionals.
Keep the questions coming.
By the way I LOOOOVE the CALU program!!! I just finished year 3. What made you choose the path you took?
Some of the different certifications you have step into that gray area that I mentioned before. At what point as a NASM CES do you say you need a physical therapist or does the guidlines of your ACSM CEP limit your role as a corrective exericse specialist?
It seems like experts like Mike Clark, Gray Cook and Gary Gray, who put excellent information out there base on their physical therapy practice, have made this area very blurred for personal trainers.
That being said, if you are truly confident in your abilities, knowledge, and expertise in a particular area in which you are not officially certified, it may still be ok to provide services. Provided that, God forbid, something goes wrong, your actions would be found reasonable in the eyes of your peers. If your practice is sound and intelligent and based on universally accepted procedures, you should be ok. But you can never be too careful. A certification, if nothing else, adds to your credibility.
That said, scope of practice can be expanded through education, apprenticeship, and other modes of study.