I think Karin and Harris make really excellent points.
One way to look at it is with the example of the weight loss industry. There is a huge societal pressure to be thin, young, and attractive. So people are willing to and in fact do spend billions of dollars. And people are lining up to sell everything from mascara to wrinkle creams, to weight loss herbs, to exercise regimens. There are certainly people who will try to tell the truth about their products: what is in them, and what they actually do, but advertising that sails near the edge of the truth tends to bring greater profits, and there are certainly those who will vie to see who can get the closest to that edge without wrecking their boat.
Training is like that…. If an exercise can promise an end result that people crave people will buy it, whether there are rumblings about increased risk of injury or not. And there will be trainers who may see someone doing really well financially and feel really tempted to move that way themselves.
Harris is right: having a standard exam for trainers will help to hold us accountable. It will also help the consumer. Now there are tons of ‘certifications’, and nothing to stop a trainer setting up his or her own shop with a less than rigorous ‘certification’. The more our industry works to creating and maintaining high standards the better. It is not a panacea. Even with physicians there are those who get into trouble in one state, and manage to set up shop in another, or those that deal out oxycontin by the handful, in spite of the degree on the wall. But having standards at least pushes the tide in the direction of responsibility, and gives the consumers some protection.
I would like to see more trainers and instructors join IDEA (or in yoga the alliance). Just reading the magazine, and seeing what current research is showing is so important. I wish there were more of a tiered cost for membership, so that part timers, or those who make less because they serve the underserved, or work in markets with less profit, could be able to join
Karin is right. There will always be those who will choose to blow out their knees, or spend a lot of money for caffeinated vitamin water. No matter what we can’t fix everything. But we have some tools available that can help a lot: Strengthening certifications, increasing the availability of education, and promoting venues for interacting with others in the industry, and outreaching with the community.