What should certifications be based on?
What my school taught me is drastically different from what my certifications taught me. School was about exercise science (what is best for clients). Certifications taught me about trends (what clients may want). Should certifications be evidence based or trend based? How do we reconcile what is best for clients with what they may want?
Your question is a bit confusing to me. Is your question pertaining to education or certification.
I am of the opinion that a certification or course is valueless if it does not:
1. Increase one's knowledge base.
2. If it is not evidence-based
3. If it lacks a theoretical foundation.
If a course, whether it is a certification or not does not follow the above criteria for me, then I will not spend my money on it.
I hope this is insightful.
Someone may get a degree from a university and can put the letters that refer to the degree after their name. Some take a certification that allows them to refer to themselves as, for example "ACSM certified". Each supposes a certain level of understanding of the subject matter, though of course, just as certifications differ in rigor so do educational programs.
The point of the NCCA is to address the rigor of certification programs. They do not do so with educational programs, though other agencies do so. In yoga we use the registry, which is run by the yoga alliance. They do not certify or train anyone, they merely vet that programs that claim to certify or train meet certain standards.
Most certification programs exist to make sure the trainer has the understanding of the tools of his or her trade, but current research, such as the research on stability ball training is the purview of continuing education.
Having read your response to your question, I understand your perspective.
Here is where I stand.
For me it doesn't matter whether it is a workshop, course, certification or whatever, even if it is trend, here is what I am searching for from a cognitive perspective:
What is the theoretical framework of the certification, workshop, trend etc.? If the "author" of the certification, workshop, trend, etc. can not respond to the question or it is not indicated in the certification, workshop, trend and the two then I do not subscribe to it.
Here is an unfortunate reality. If you ask most fitness professionals what is the theoretical framework from which they design fitness programs or utilize coaching approaches many won't be able to respond. Hence, your question is quite valid. It is up to us, however, to continue to encourage our colleagues to utilize theoretical approaches when it comes to developing fitness/wellness programs for our clients.
Thanks. Well, both in a way. Is a certification not education?
I'm mostly asking about your #2. Nearly every PT certification lacks a LOT in the way of a base of evidence. They seem to be more trend based.
Is that what trainers prefer and think it (certification) should be comprised of?
Or should they be more evidence/science based (college education in exercise science)?
My answer is no it is not. A certification is a tool to measure and recognize competency in a particular area. A certification, then is more like a degree in what it stands for.
Unfortunately in certifications, as in educational institutions, there are a range of rigor. There is money to be made in giving a certification, and there will always be people who will want the fastest, or cheapest route, rather than the most rigorous. But I think if one sifts through the options there are many that are not trend based, but based on solid understanding of research and principles. I hold ACE in group fit and used to hold it in PT. I have been reading the new book, as I am considering sitting for it again, and I am impressed by what fifteen or twenty years have done: I think it is a good measure of an understanding not just of the relatively narrow area of sets and reps, but really presenting from beginning to end how to understand and practice this craft.
As far as keeping up with current research, that is the role of continuing education. A certification is more about principles and practices based on an avalanche of research and clinical experience. That is one reason I read IDEA Today each month, and I keep track of research bubbling into the mainstream, and continue to take continuing ed. classes, even when they do not add to my required CEs.
Anyway, that is what I think.... I am sure there are others who will have a different take on it.
And I agree ACE has gotten better over time in some respects. But, that brings up my point perfectly.
For example, stability ball training is something heavily taught. But, yet, here is much of the published research showing that it is no different or LESS effective than more standard exercise platforms. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=link&linkname=pubmed_pubmed&uid=1...
It seems they, and most organizations, are teaching to a trend rather than being aware of the actual research or basing recommendations and courses off of existing evidence.
We always want to do what is best for the client. With that said/written, the clients also get bored and need something new to stay motivated to exercise/move.
You may be combining certification with continuing education credits in this discussion.
Certifications must be based on evidence and leave the trends for recertifying CECs (which must still educate).
NAPS 2 B Fit
I was surprised by your question because the certifications I hold have provided me with great education in the field of exercise science. Not one of them deals with 'trends'.
When I look at trends, I assess them against the science I have learned and decide whether to incorporate a trend in my way of training or to ignore it.
Back in the day there was no such thing as a certification. Low and behold, as the "aerobics" industry grew and grew, Kathie Davis had the insight to provide a source for instructors. Of course she was not the only one who saw the money potential, ACSM and others joined in.
As for your question, yes school was about exercise science but I beg to differ on the statement "what is best for your clients" this is subjective
As for your comment about 'trends" , I think clients want what works for them and i think its fantastic that we have so many different modalities and ideas today to draw from.
So, in order to keep up with this fast moving industry, it's important to stay educated. I have known many exercise physiologists who had no idea how to teach a safe and sound cardio class, I have known many exercise science majors who were unable to connect with people on a human level.
I think having access to education in the form of CEC's once certified, having conferences at our finger tips, having Nationally Accredited Organizations offering a vast variety of certifications enhances our work.
Certifications are not based on trends. Granted, there is money to be made with certifications so I can see where some may question the motive but I believe that we have these certs in order to keep up and to learn and be confident in what we do.