Licensing Debate: Personal Trainers, Group Fitness Instructors

The November-December 2008 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal (2008; 5 [10], 16) reported on proposed legislation that would require personal trainers in Washington, DC, to register with the mayor and submit fees biennially. Registered personal trainers would be regulated by the Board of Physical Therapy and would operate within a scope of practice delineated by the board. Now, other states are following suit.

On October 6, 2008, Senate Bill 2164—the “Fitness Professional Licensing Act”—was proposed in New Jersey. This legislation would require that a governor-appointed board oversee the licensing and regulation of personal trainers and group fitness instructors.

Should the bill become law, professionals seeking licensure would have to complete “an approved course of study of not less than 300 in-person classroom hours, as prescribed by the board after consultation with the Department of Education and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.” Those hours would include at least 50 hours of unpaid internship “in the presence of and under direct supervision of a licensed fitness professional,” to be provided by the school offering the approved course of study. Upon program completion, professionals would need to pass a final examination.

Trainers and instructors possessing either an associate or bachelor’s degree in physical education, exercise science, exercise physiology or adult fitness would be exempt from the classroom study, internship hours and final exam. Professionals obtaining certification prior to enactment of S 2164 would have to hold a certificate from the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE) or other board-approved organization. They would be required to offer proof of enrollment in or successful completion of at least 150 in-person classroom hours.

Across the board, fitness professionals agree that personal training and group fitness instruction should be regulated for optimal safety. However, some find the proposed legislation inappropriate. “With the increase in obesity among the young, frailty among the elderly and [an] overall decline in fitness, it is outrageous that the New Jersey state senate is trying to balance the bloated state budget on the backs of personal trainers and their clients,” says Joe Stein, president of Renaissance Fitness & Wellness Inc., in Little Silver, New Jersey. “Lowered standards, onerous additional requirements that most certified [trainers] have already met, and increased licensing fees are not the way to help the people of New Jersey.”

New Jersey-based personal trainer and life coach John Allen Mollenhauer disagrees. “I think the respect, quality of service and impact of the personal training industry will be far higher and the opportunity greater for the committed group of professionals when the barriers to entry are higher, like any other profession,” he says.

“IDEA Health & Fitness Association opposes S 2164 for a number of reasons,” say Kathie and Peter Davis, IDEA executive director and chief executive officer (CEO), respectively. “The bill’s education requirements are not in line with current industry practice and require so much time and cost that they would definitely discourage both group exercise instructors and personal trainers from entering the field. Also, the bill is not taking into account the third-party standards set by NCCA and the 10 personal training certification bodies who have become accredited by NCCA. The industry is taking responsible measures to self-regulate, and this bill completely overlooks this very important fact.”

Sal Arria, MSS, DC, president of the NBFE, remains neutral on the subject but believes that, if states adopt licensing requirements, a nationwide license should be offered. “It is in the best interest of the fitness profession to utilize one National Board Examination as a terminal licensure exam in lieu of ending up with 50 different state board licensing exams,” he suggests. “This model has been very successful in some medical and allied health fields, but unfortunately there are still many that require 50 different state board exams in addition to 50 different education and continuing education requirements. Obviously this places unnecessary hardship on professionals who move [from one state to another].”

Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise, also agrees that uniform regulation of fitness professionals should be administered, but finds the proposed requirements for licensure cumbersome. Bryant believes that, as proposed, the bill would “inhibit efforts to both provide protections for the consumer and facilitate growth of the fitness industry in New Jersey.” He suggests using the standard established for other allied healthcare professions through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Institutions offering vocational 2-year programs, 4-year degrees or advanced degrees can receive CAAHEP accreditation.

Bryant also requests that the current standard, as regulated by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), should be upheld instead of switching to NBFE. “Existing codes of ethics, standards of care and a clearly defined scope of practice for the personal training profession are recognized and accepted by the leading fitness certifications organizations accredited through the NCCA,” he adds.

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) mobilized its members and spoke out against S 2164 in October 2008 on the grounds that the bill ignored the great majority of the personal training industry that has embraced accreditation; nominated a single certifying body over an entire market of accredited certifying bodies; established requirements that would increase costs for trainers and consumers; established arbitrary education requirements; and required unworkable and expensive oversight.

According to Joe Moore, the president and CEO of Boston-based IHRSA, “the industry should regulate itself rather than have outside forces who know little of our industry do it.

“As an advocacy organization, it is important to us that trainers be qualified,” said Moore. “We want to support policies that help our member businesses grow, and alert our members when the government tries to do things that might hurt their businesses. We have a public policy division that tracks proposals and mobilizes our members to act.”

If passed, S 2164 could set a nationwide precedent. In addition to Washington, DC, and New Jersey, Maryland and Georgia are also considering fitness professional licensure, according to the NBFE website (www.nbfe.org/news/press_releases/stateLicensing_082008.cfm; retrieved November 12, 2008). To read the New Jersey bill in its entirety, visit http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2008/Bills/S2500/2164_I1.HTM.

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Ryan Halvorson

IDEA Author/Presenter
Ryan Halvorson is the publications assistant for IDEA Health & Fitness Association. He is a speaker ... more less
December 2008

© 2008 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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Article Comments

Jerry Maese
On Dec 04, 2008
On the one hand, I agree that there should be a standard that fitness trainers and group fitness instructors should uphold. However, I think that the standards should be set for the certifying organization and not delegated over the individual instructor.

Populations that take Spinning vs Yoga vs Zumba are very different from each other. So I can't understand how legislation will work more efficiently by forcing all instructors and trainers to commit numerous hours and dollars into getting that licensing.

As a personal trainer and as a group fitness instructor there are two aspects that come to mind; business and interpersonal.
The business aspect is the part that I believe legislature is going after yet hiding it under looking after the best interest of the person. The aspect legislators are missing is the interpersonal.

It is a valid point that some instructors may be doing things that may injure people. That is why I believe that each organization is responsible for regulating their portion of the industry. If a Spinning instructor injures someone because he has his class "popping wheelies" on their stationary bike, Johnny G should be the one saying "Hey, that's not how Spinning is done." If a TaeBo instructor has someone in his class break his neck because of some back flip high kick, then Mr Blanks should have some standard that clearly tells his instructors that this move is not part of TaeBo. Same goes with Beto for Zumba.

As a Zumba instructor in Houston, TX, I have been named a winner in the Best Of Citysearch 2008. I have reached large numbers of people and have made huge positive impact in many lives. I have a fantastic team of 7 other Zumba instructors comprising Tropa Zumba (www.tropazumba.com) that have careers outside of the fitness industry, instruct by my side and put a great deal of their personal time to make this possible. What we provide to the public is an intense feel good class that implants something miraculous in everyone that belongs to our "Zumba Family." We co-teach 7 classes together. On top of that, I teach 7 classes independent from Tropa Zumba. That brings me to 14 classes per week.

That said, I can't imagine teaching more classes than that for the sake of making the legislative expenses that might be required just to get started. As an instructor I have 1 of 2 choices. Either I am employed by a fitness facility or I work as an independent instructor. Let's say that I work for a gym, here in Houston, the average rate per class, from my experience, is $35 to $45 per class for a one hour class. The maximum number of recommended classes per week according to AFAA to stay safe is 12 classes. That gives you $420 to $540 per week before taxes, or $1645 to $2115 per month before taxes. Most instructors teach about 3 to 6 classes per week.

As an independent instructor, other expenses/losses come into play. They include, but are not limited to rent for instruction space, marketing and advertisement, liability insurance, equipment and materials such as music, loss of wages and sometimes clients for time off, as well as expenses involved for instructors working in gyms as CECs and certification, transportation etc. That doesn't even cover any start up costs and time spent doing free demos and exhibitions for publicity.

The senate bill would surely eliminate several instructors that teach in gyms if they only work few classes. And what of the more entrepreneurial instructor that decides to work independent and start his own "small business"? Does this legislation include some assistance in survival like the one recently offered to the large conglomerates. If legislature is able to announce an $85 billion bailout to AIG, who less than a week later treated their top executives to a week long retreat at the luxury St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif., running up a tab of $440,000, to later announce that the U.S. Federal Reserve saw fit to loan AIG another $37.8 billion of taxpayer money, how much of a loss is the government willing to take accountability for when we see the affect on millions of people nationwide when individuals and teams such as our cannot afford to sustain the gift that they have to offer?
Katie Ansted
On Dec 06, 2008
I agree completely with The instructor from Texas, With the expenses that we already have as group exercise instructors and personal trainers added costs will soon outweigh income, and it will be a lose lose situation for everyone, Instructors and clients alike!!!
Martone Fuller
On Dec 10, 2008
I am really against the (law). It is difficult enough for us. I pray that there is something that we as an industry can do, say, act out on to prevent this.
Ryan Hogan
On Dec 16, 2008
I'm all for making the industry more professional. The only way we will ever move forward as an industry and get closer to being aligned with Physios and Doctors is to professionalize. Doing a home study course and a certification exam in one weekend is not sufficient in my mind to be a practicing PT.

Other countries like Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. have had registration bodies in place for ages and their industries are much more respected. Shouldn't the USA be the leader in the field?
Roland Dietz
On Dec 17, 2008
I agree with most of you. There is NO need for this bill and it serves no useful purpose. Another example of a senator with too much time on their hands. Physical Therapy is distinct from personal training and it is unclear to me why the two should be linked.



Roland Dietz
Focused Connections, Inc.
Certified Core Dynamics Pilates
Certified Gyrotonic, Licensed Gyrokinesis
Mark Jackman, PhD
On Dec 17, 2008
As I read your article, it seems that this is a power play by the NBFE to impose their vision of "professionalization" on the industry. The article stated that Sal Aria, the president of NBFE, "remains neutral on the subject". Excuse me? Has anyone explored how NBFE would profit from succeeding in this gambit?

And, just why is licensing needed? To protect the public? From what? A few years ago I contacted companies providing liability insurance to personal trainers. They said they had very little claims activity, mostly for trip and fall incidents. If trainers presented a major risk to the public, trainers wouldn't be able to buy millions of dollars of liability protection for a few hundred dollars. As we've seen in many cases, licensing, even of physicians, doesn't guarantee public safety or even competency. I think licensing would add yet another expensive and power-hungry bureaucracy to deal with.

That said, I do think the industry needs to make some changes to beef up certification. Too many classes teaching some narrow fitness topics offer "certifications" which are not really certifications but certificates of class completion. Many, if not most, personal trainer certifications do not meet any quality standards such as those set forth by the NCCA. I believe the industry should adopt as a standard fitness certifications that are NCCA accredited, and that individuals calling themselves personal trainers have at least an NCCA-accredited personal trainer certification; obtaining advanced certifications should also be encouraged. Then, the industry leaders should collectively and vigorously advertise to consumers to educate them about the value of an NCCA-accredited certification. This would address the "protection of the public" issue that licensing attempts to address in a heavy-handed way.

I would not be opposed to a reasonable requirement for a hands-on training apprenticeship for newly certified trainers. This apprenticeship would have to be completed after passing the certification exam, but before the certification is awarded.

If licensing appears to be imminent, the industry should fight very hard to grandfather in trainers that already have NCCA-accredited certifications, making them exempt from the other licensing requirements. The industry could use this as a political bargaining chip.

Marjorie Geiser
On Dec 22, 2008
This topic has been bantered about for years, but it sounds like some are taking it to the next step. I have to wonder if my education, certification, and over 15 years of experience will all count for nothing?

Many allied health professions, including registered dietitians (RDs), are subjected to licensure laws that vary from state to state, and what this often means is just another test to take and more fees to pay. There has been no benefit for RD's in licensure; I don't see a benefit to trainers. I also don't see the necessity for a national standard proposed by the government. Seems more political than practical to me, honestly.

It's always been my understanding that licensure is pushed when there is fear of harm being done. I'd like to see the documentation of harm being done by fitness instructors and personal trainers. Granted, there may be some trainers who could use much more training, but rather than approaching this from a government perspective, perhaps we should approach this from the industry, and all of the top certifying organizations require more education from applicants for certification.

Marjorie Geiser, RD, NSCA-CPT
President, MEG Enterprises, Inc.
http://www.meg-enterprises.com
http://www.californiabasedpublishing.com
http://www.megfit.com

If you want all of the benefits of true licensure or registration, you should not accept another profession regulating your profession. Run, run as fast as you can from this legislation! Garner your own support from legislators if your intent as a profession is to be recognized, regulated, and established as a unified body. Sincerely, Karen D. Fennell, MS, LAT, ATC
Tom/ Dawn Terwilliger
On Jan 01, 2009
Although I do agree that the field of personal training is growing beyond its own attempts at self-regulate and that the entry level standard has dropped to an alarming level I also feel strongly that the proposed bill would make it next to impossible for many certified, experienced, dedicated, and hard working trainers to continue serving their clients.

Personal trainers are the grass roots of the fitness movement in America and if it passes S 2164 would have thousands of clients metaphorically out into the streets to fend for themselves.

I oppose the bill based on its proposed and imposable requirements but more so because I am adamantly opposed to big governments condescending approach to telling us what’s good for us. Organizations like IDEA, ACE, IRHSA, and Coaching Leadership Excellence are working hard on behalf of the industry, it’s members, and the public to raise the standers by which we are all expected to practice. The possibility of 50 different exams with over 150 classroom hours and internships in 50 different states would do nothing but undermine the efforts of those hard working organizations. We need to do everything we can to keep the local or federal government from imposing regulations on the personal training community

Tom Terwilliger
Coaching Leadership Excellence
www.TomTerwilliger.com
Lloyd Takeshita
On Jan 07, 2009
While I do not agree with NJ efforts to establish another certification process, I do agree that "all" trainers, including Yoga, Pilates, etc., need to be regulated by a universal standard. I do not believe inventing a state level certification board/requirement will enhance the quality of service we provide, since part of what makes up a quality trainers program is his/her initiative to stay abreast of current changes in the health/fitness field and their "personal" or people skills and professional philosophy. There are good and bad professionals in any field, so how is adding a state level certification going to alleviate this problem. Instead, maybe all states should require all trainers to register with them as a "current" certified trainer/instructor and establish a process whereby they have to refile upon expiration of their current certification. All NCCA certified organizations issue a standard NCCA license, showing their affiliation, ACE, ACSM, NSCA, etc. This should apply to even those with educational degrees, to validate their practicing in the health and fitness field. Addtionally, that they maintain their professional skills knowledge by completing CEU/CEC's.
Roland Dietz.duplicate
On Jan 12, 2009
Further to my earlier post on this there are some more things to consider. If we start with "personal trainers" and than gradually include yoga and pilates teachers, where will we end with this... do dance teachers fall under this regime as well? Injuries from improperly taught or executed dance moves can be just as severe if not worse than some other modalities mentioned here.

As body-mind-spirit practitioners we know that just having formal education, even if it is at university level, is not enough to be a good teacher. The movement patterns and required coordinations we use are quite complex and need to be introduced in a certain way to establish a successful and safe execution by the client. I have first hand experience with medical staff not even beginning to comprehend the methods and effects. Each of the various disciplines have their own respected certification institutions that know what they are doing and what constitutes a good practice. We do not need others to supervise this from a perspective that may or may not be in full understanding of what constitutes good practice for that particular discipline.



William DeSimone
On Feb 06, 2009
This Monday I attended the State Senate Commerce Committee Meeting with this bill on the agenda, and was the only person to speak other than the sponsoring senator and his two personal trainer allies. It was withdrawn from the process by the senator sponsoring it, as it was obvious from the questions from the committee members that it was going to be rejected. There was a definite suggestion from the committee that some kind of regulation was appropriate but that the measures of this specific bill were not justified. Specifically: one senator said he made inquiries of the Attorney General's office to determine the scope of the problem, and that the AG had nothing to report. Another asked if consumers were demanding action, because he asked around his health club and was impressed by the lack of interest. A third asked for data on injuries caused by trainers, and pointedly specified "data, not anecdotes". The chairwoman's comment was that while the supporters of the bill pointed out how everything bad about personal training came out of the current certification/non-regulation system, so did everything good. In effect, the supporters of the bill didn't make the case that such an extensive program was necessary, and the senators on the committee did not want to expend state resources without compelling evidence.
It did sound, though, that some kind of nonmandatory state certification/registration system would be considered favorably, as a precursor to a licensing program.
Dave Parise
On Feb 09, 2009
I am writing in regards to the S-2164 senate bill. I am not saying I am in opposition of this bill, or proactive. I am saying there is a way to enforce a solution. I have a more predictable outcome of "Application Knowledge" for the personal training industry. Let's take IDEA conventions as an example and think about this intuitively. The top presenters are in a classroom setting, call it a weekend of schooling and lesson plans. It is informative, challenging, insightful, and of course fun! The negative aspects are that it is impossible to retain and understand all the information. The conventions give us a bench mark or platform to start a journey or a thought process. In addition, the conventions set the stage, build confidence, and inject a more positive attitude about the fitness industry. "Personal trainers now take it more seriously". The workshops are not designed to assess every individuals posture and active range, so we just get to move and sweat. Today it is to easy to obtain a certification, I personally am more than appalled by how this industry has taken a application deficit . I personally believe regardless of the text book lessons we learn, the tests we pass, the 150 / 300 hour class room has no correlation with how we apply ourselves hands on. Personal Training Certifications do not demonstrate or develop one's hands-on ability. Personal Trainer Examinations do not effectively delineate between qualified and unqualified personal trainers. Application is knowledge, however passing a test, exercising, or having a certification doesn't make you a Personal Trainer. The National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE) has not enforced a mandatory prerequisite essential to one's hands-on capability—which leads to increased revenue, moreover correct principles of personal training. The principles of personal training, and proper exercise mechanics are what make a 'qualified" trainer. Accredited organizations do not mandate that trainers have a certification. However, they do gain informative "book" knowledge. This makes you nothing more than a smart textbook "rent-a-buddy" not based on science but "gym" talk. Over the last three years I personally have visited over 42 fitness center and gyms across the country. I had to see first hand what the majority of trainers were actually doing hands-on. The results of my survey was more then dysfunctional and disappointing. I interviewed over 100 trainers, all could write grays anatomy, talk the talk and throw an array of high tech words, but had no common sense when applying resistance to the body. Instead of state licensing, we should organize a state by state task force. A representative body from each state would be responsible for the tactile hands on lessons. Not text book exercises based on the way it feels, or the start finish position. On day one, most of us learned exercises by memorizing a start position and a finish position, as well as what is supposedly “worked” in between. Progression of the exercise simply meant adding more weight. “Knowledge” was simply progressed by adding more exercises to one’s repertoire, memorizing more starts/finishes. But memorizing exercises in a one-size-fits-all protocol-oriented fashion is not progression... or professional at all. It is simply repeating the same mindlessness over and over with no real ability to objectively analyze what each exercise really is or what it is doing beyond the mythological gym-science that plagues the industry. It’s like “painting by numbers” and that’s hardly professional. Kathy I see this on a daily basis. Why do we keep going back to the same objective...its not about passing a test. I have had over 45 applicants in my office over the last four months. They all have two accredited certifications, and a boat load of 'text book" knowledge. When asked to demonstrate specific joint motions and positions they crumbled! Also there are many organizations that teach old school exercises based on hypertrophy in a 'fixation" environment. The text books are correct but once they introduce application its based on high risk movements from the 'Arnold" days. I personally spoke to one of the writers from a national federation and asked why he had said exercises in his manual. He replied with "well they worked for me" Enough said. I have developed a thought process / solution that will solve this issue, put it to rest. Yes we should pass a test. We will always need IDEA and other organizations to continue our education, but that is the icing on the cake. We need the main ingredient...APPLICATION!
The end result if this bill passes...more revenue streams for the board, less trainers, more lawsuits, larger lawyers suits- lol, and were still stuck with 'rent-a-buddies" and brainless trainers. I apologize for being a bit hells kitchen, and critical however we have to move on to the next level of personal trainers, and its not repeating the same lessons over and over. It's not adding a more demanding syllabus. It is about choosing the correct group of seasoned fitness professionals, and defining the personal training industry. Personally we have not yet defined the industry based on 'who are clients are". We can't have old school bodybuilders write manuals, and teach students high risk exercises based on someones athletic ability. We need to stop organizations who train athletes and expect those movement patterns are one-size-fits-all...because we can micro-progress. I personally believe there are several 'segments" to specific markets. We are personal trainer educators , yet we expect our students ( pre -certified trainers) to learn in a text book, a video, a 150 / 300 hour test, and or group setting. When we take this more personal "hence the name" we then are being proactive and one step closer to a solution. A task force of educators state by state, and all follow the same process. We form a union of 'qualified professionals" this is when we all can take a deep breath and watch this industry exceed our expectations. I am always open to talk more about this idea.

Dave Parise CPT FPTA
Results Plus Personal Training
3013 Dixwell Ave
Hamden CT. 06518
EM: daveparise@resultsplus.com
Web: www.resultsplus.com
Office: 203-288-8822
Cell: 203-675-5575
Fit-Pros Academy / School
www.fitprospersonaltrainingschool.com



Dave Parise
On Feb 09, 2009
1) In this climate, creating a new board with licensing responsibilities is just not something the state can do. The governor's budget that she announced on Wednesday called for the elimination of 22 of these types of boards across state government, so creating a new one would be DOA this year (and probably next year if the economic climate stays as expected).

2) I assume this would be very controversial. Whenever there's a proposal to create new licensing requirements for professions, there's always strong push-back from those who would be subject to the new rules, but I can envision LA Fitness coming in, claiming this will add to their costs and hurt their business. They are noted to be the worst trainers in the industry.

3) Because of 2) above, you really have to develop a case for why this is a good idea. Perhaps we can get a coalition of professionals from CT and other states who can articulate why we need to regulate the profession, and what current problems exist and how they will be solved through regulation. They only will be solved by determination! We need to pull together as a team and sift through the "just do it trainers" who dismiss the science completely!

Dave Parise CPT FPTA
Results Plus Personal Training
3013 Dixwell Ave
Hamden CT. 06518
EM: daveparise@resultsplus.com
Web: www.resultsplus.com
Office: 203-288-8822
Cell: 203-675-5575
Fit-Pros Academy / School
www.fitprospersonaltrainingschool.com





Joseph Stein
On Mar 26, 2009
Is this bill back in play again in NJ? I just saw a IHRSA Legislative Alert on 3-26-09 which seemed to imply this bill is alive and well.

Does anyone have any additional information?
kelli martin
On Apr 01, 2009
I completely support this bill or some similiar attempt to raise the bar for fitness professionals. I am beginning my search for more information and both my partner and I will donate whatever time or input necessary.

As a business owner, I have interviewed several 'fitness professionals' who have no business working with the public. They come to us looking for a position with no formal education and (maybe) with a weekend certification. While it escapes me why anyone would consider shirking college, I also fail to see why anyone would even feel a certification that they can mail in or even one that they can get in a weekend is equivalent to a four year college degree and an accredited certification.

My most recent shock was from a website that was sent to me by a medical professional in the small town where I was raised. The lady featured in the site was a former 'fatty' who within a few months of losing weight obtained a not-so-great- personal training certification and a mail-in nutritional specialist certification and was proclaiming her ability to help others. No degree, no education and no real knowledge. The public as no real way to discern a properly credentialled professional from one who isn't and this type of trainer is potentially dangerous.

Our profession deserves to be treated like one. The cost is no big deal.

John Stevens
On Apr 30, 2009
The governement's job is not to pre-screen fitness instructors. Furthermore, one-size fits all licensing is a bad idea. You simply cannot have one licensing body for all of the different types of Group Fitness instructors; Zumba, Kickboxing, Yoga, Personal Trainers, Kettlebell, etc...

A licensing Body is only concerned about quantity. Quantity of class room hours, quantity of question you can answer, the quantity of dollars it's licensing process brings in. It will never be about quality, it never has. Look at any other licensing body, there are bad doctors and lawyers and appraisers and real estate agents that have all simply had the cash to invest in the licensing process. Licensing ultimately means nothing more than you had the time, money and or connections to get licensed.

If the industry is self-regulating the Government has no business trying to tell us who is and is not qualified. It's just a way for the government to essentially tax us (but call it a license) for choosing our profession and to create govt jobs for it's buddies that it chooses to appoint to the licensing body.

I've met plenty of trainers that had excellent GPAs and book smarts that simply can't teach, or get results from clients. I've met a lot of trainers that have no formal education for their job except a weekend certification and a c.p.r. class that can consistently produce excellent results with their clients.In our industry we teach strength, movement and physical transformation, this simply cannot be learned by a book or evaluated from a written exam. Only clients and employers can be the ultimate judge of that, not some govt appointed licensing body.

I think the whole process should basically work in reverse and forget Govt licensing all together. Go get a weekend cert, start training and learning in the trenches, learn how to get results from clients, then endlessly further your education and improve your skills.
Dave Parise
On Jun 26, 2009
READ THEN READ BELOW PLEASE
Should the bill become law, professionals seeking licensure would have to complete “an approved course of study of not less than 300 in-person classroom hours, as prescribed by the board after consultation with the Department of Education and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.” Those hours would include at least 50 hours of unpaid internship “in the presence of and under direct supervision of a licensed fitness professional,” to be provided by the school offering the approved course of study. Upon program completion, professionals would need to pass a final examination.
MY COMMENT TO THE ABOVE-1-We all must understand how this came about in the first place. People are getting injured by overzealous so called certified professionals. Unpaid internship can only be valued as good as the mentor / teacher / instructor 2- We should not allow any person collect professional fees, without a nationally accredited certification. 3- more text book will not help -today's trainers need hands on application- They need to feel, palpate, and understand. This process will delineate between nonsense, and common sense exercises. The industry as a whole should determine a list of exercises that should never be performed by a certified trainer. This list should be known to the general public. We market and promote all dysfunctional exercises, so to make people more aware should be easy. All too often we dismiss the science behind exercises and true joint function. Knowing also that there's nothing new under the sun &/or that many others share the same common view, then groups (whatever their view may be...usually, ridicule or have skepticism or antagonistic behavior), come to what in their eyes/hearts/minds, is, "the truth" about a particular exercise. They become married to it, or they say “ well look at her, or him it must work! Today’s exercises are influenced by the emotions or prejudices. We invent these exercises done by an individual, and it can never be considered to represent a general and objective belief. So for those that deny there are absolute truths in anatomy and exercise mechanics &/or say all truth is relative, are misrepresenting to create the illusion. This illusion is totally based on a feeling. Objectively exercise is below the skin where the joints tendons and ligaments experience internal forces. We must stop watching pieces of skin moving and equate that to making sense.
The primary concern, must be “safety first”.
Textbook exercises can’t be memorized. Exercises demonstrated by a coach, or some famous body builder are not defined as ‘specific and finite.” Miss fitness age 24 and her genetically gifted body worked hard, but did she work smart? Exercises have to be created, much in the same way an artist takes a few basic colors and creates a never-ending spectrum of colors on canvas. This is the way to be a requested professional... understand a few basic scientific principles about joint and muscle function. This application will allow you to create millions of sound exercises. But all exercises are not created equal. Creating an appropriate exercise is a matter for careful professional judgment. The “general gym members” go through life seeing only the superficial various shapes of skin that move while holding a weight. But there is a hidden reality unseen by most people and some exercise “experts.”
Exercise reality is below the skin where bones and tissue tolerate and generate invisible forces. These forces are really what encompass an exercise. This is what we must learn to understand in order to understand exercise and how to create and manipulate it.
Dave Parise CPT FPTA
Results Plus Personal Training
3013 Dixwell Ave
Hamden CT. 06518
EM: daveparise@resultsplus.com
Web: www.resultsplus.com
Office: 203-288-8822
Cell: 203-675-5575
Fit-Pros Academy / School
www.fitprospersonaltrainingschoo
krisitna williams
On Aug 13, 2010
I agree with the personal trainers that the too much expenses on fitness instructors results in high costs and consequently we'll lose more and more clients. Therefore these costs should be reduced to the minimum so that we can attract more clients.
Lisa Foley
On Sep 13, 2010
As a Personal Trainer in Wirral UK I wholeheartedly agree in a highly regulated industry that provides the necessary credibility to those PTs who act and deliver with the utmost professionalism.
However, as a recent comment points out, the cost of such needs to be managed so that it is not just another way of squeezing yet more money out of the relatively low paid personal trainers. It's got to be a balance.
Regulation? yes. Exploitation? No!!!
Michele Williams
On Dec 26, 2010
I think getting a fitness certification should be sufficient. For me getting this credential at least shows that you're dedicated to the profession besides you're continuously updating your skills via CEC's. It has not been my experience that licensing will ensure professionalism, I work with professionals who are licensed and not all of them are professional.
As for pay I think that it should whatever the client can afford to pay. I think we're setting a "standard" by getting a certification. What we should focus on is getting world mentally and physically healthy. It's ashame that the majority of adults in the United States are overweight and the kids are not to far behind. Let's work on prevention and maintenance.
Noelle Brownson
On Feb 17, 2011
There used to be a similar situation decades ago in the Athletic Training profession. There were many people working in the scope of professional AT's, but with little or no formal schooling, since none was offered.
Becoming a certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) now requires formal schooling in an accredited program, passing one national exam, and annual continuing education. These provisions have made it into a true profession. There were growing pains in the process and I'm certain that not everyone loved it, but it worked.
I feel it is long past due for personal trainers to be required to complete a formal education. Our work is no less demanding of a thorough knowledge base than the work of ATCs. And the consequences of not having a thorough education and a systematic approach to training clients could be just as disastrous as that of someone performing the tasks of an ATC who is not qualified to do the work.
So I for one, feel that licensure would elevate the profession tremendously. Without it, we are requiring a public who isn't educated in health and fitness to know how to find a qualified trainer: to know what certifications to ask for, to know what college degrees to ask for, to know what continuing education to ask about. It's just not fair. Could you imagine having to know all these things when trying to choose a doctor, dentist, or even hair stylist? It's unfair to expect consumers to be able to sift through it all.
Gautam Gautam
On Jul 03, 2011
I am agree with you. This topic on which you discussed has been bantered about for years, but it sounds like some are taking it to the next step. Nice topics, thank you for providing with a lot of valuable information. i shall be waiting for your next blog.
Gautam Gautam
On Jul 03, 2011
i think that what you said is right. This topic on which you mentioned has been bantered about for years, but it sounds like some are taking it to the next step. . Thanks for sharing it and looking forward to seeing new posts.
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william meadows
On Aug 09, 2011
Becoming a fitness buff and guru takes a lot of challenge and knowledge! You need to have the right motivation and tools to make the cut. This is a lucrative business in which everyone who likes to be healthy and fit are allowed to have this profession.
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Train Smart
On Nov 29, 2011
Personal training should be licensed so that these so called certifications disappear. Certifications are just a way to scam money. I hate that I have to spend $300 to take a personal training certification test that insults my intelligence. Those who aren't confident with their knowledge get sucked in to buy pricey "textbooks" and "practice exams" only to find out that the information is extremely basic and common sense. So why are these ridiculous certifications out there? It's all about money. These big certifying organizations oppose the bill because they'll lose A LOT of money. Think about how much they make from exams, recertifications, textbook, practice exams and continuing education classes. Anyone with a BS in kinesiology can pass these stupid certification exams. Also, it's fine to have the Board of Physical Therapy determine our scope of practice. They use evidence based exercises with patients and require detailed notes to track progress. If all fitness professionals used evidence based training methods and documented progress in a more detailed manner, the world of personal training would be a lot more safe and effective overall. I'm certified under one big organization, but refuse to get another certification with hopes that a license will eventually become a requirement.
kelli martin
On Feb 28, 2012
Trainsmart,

And many WITHOUT exercise related degrees are passing these tests, EVEN the major ones.

As of last year, I no longer carry a certification. I don't have to - everyone I train knows that I have the education and experience. Same for those who ask me to speak or present exercise related programs. I refuse to support an industry that perpetuates such a lax standard.

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