I am interested in working with seniors. Should I first become a personal trainer in order to later get certified as a senior fitness specialist? If so, what is better: a person trainer certification or a group fitness trainer? I want to work both one on one and in groups with seniors. What is the best organization out there to get the best education?
I too work with Seniors and have both a Group Fitness Cert. and my Personal Trainers. I would say that the Group Fitness would not have prepared me to work specifically with this population, but is a great certification as far as learning how to lead a class and safety concerns for the general population. I would definately pursue your Personal Trainers and then when selecting your continuing ed credits there are numerous courses that are for the Senior population. Also helpful will be CEC courses that guide you through training persons with knee, shoulder & hip issues which you will encounter a lot. I have found numerous courses of specific interest through American Council on Exercise.
Best of luck to you!
I'm beginning to think that this a very widely held certification. You would need to have a degree in health or fitness of some type or be a certified trainer before getting this certification. Start with an accredited personal trainer program from NASM, NSCA, ACE, or ACSM.. if you can. I Know you can do ACE's program. Then go from there! Maybe get group fitness certified while you're working with some clients? Then on to bigger and better things in your chosen field!?
It's great that you have identified specifically the population you wish to work with once you satisfy what's required in order to reach your goal to become a senior fitness specialist.
Here is what I would suggest. If you want to train seniors in a group setting as well as on an individual basis, you will have to earn two certifications, one as a group fitness instructor one as a personal trainer. It is important for you to know that the scope of the personal trainer certification and the group fitness instructor certification is different.
As you mention, it is a great idea to follow up your certifications with courses designed to help you to be the best with the population you will be working with.
More importantly, it is vital that you understand how the body of the older adult responds to exercise. There's some changes the body goes through when we all age and these changes have to be taken into consideration when we train this population.
I hope this give you a bit of direction as far as your career goals are concerned. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to shoot me an email.
I work predominantly with seniors, and it is a most rewarding field.
You'll probably need both certifications, as a trainer and as a group exercise instructor. I suggest you check out the Senior Fitness Association at this site http://www.seniorfitness.net/. What makes this organization appealing is the fact that they focus on senior fitness and do not offer a broad array of specialties. Thus they are a great resource.
As Joanne said, working with seniors will present you an incredibly wide array of abilities but also pathologies. If you are dedicated to this group, you will need to continue to learn and widen your knowledge base.
I work with mostly seniors and I have to say it is very rewarding. ACSM, NSCA and NASM, give you some idea on how work with older generation. However, the Amercican Academy of Health and Fitness has a training certificate for Senior Fitness. It is a great resource and well worth it.
I say go for the Group Certification first, you will get more exposure by doing group training, then once you get your Personal training Certification you can get more specific!
ACE or ACSM
Good luck. It's great that you're interested in working with this population.
As far as "best" certification, that's very subjective. You should take a critical look at several factors including cost, requirements to sit for the certification exam, industry recognition etc. What I always recommend is that perhaps you check with some local gyms and other fitness organizations like the local YMCA to ask what certifications their trainers and group exercise instructors hold. Then start by looking into some of those organizations.
Good luck with your career!
Congrats on choosing such an awesome field to work in! I have a full time job working with seniors in a retirement community and it's incredibly fun and rewarding. From my personal experience, I would say that starting with a Personal Training certification would be more beneficial if you can only choose one. It will give you a good base of knowledge and a lot of the information can be carried over into group training as well. Which one you choose will be up to you. You may want to start your research by talking to people who have similar jobs to the one you'd like to end up in and see where they earned their certifications.
Some other advice I can give would be to network with some physical therapists and even physicians if possible. I've found that they can be a huge help when working with older adults. They are very helpful when I am unsure of limitations that a certain medical condition may cause. A few times, I've had clients with problems that extended beyond my scope of practice and it was great to be able to refer them to a physical therapist who works specifically with older adults as well. It works the other way too, sometimes they will refer their patients to me when they've finished working with them in therapy. That way, there is a seamless transition and the client can continue to exercise knowing that their physical therapist is encouraging it.