As an accredited personal trainer and group fitness instructor who has a lot of “soft certifications” under my belt I see both sides to this argument. I hold multiple “soft certifications” because I love to learn. I love attending workshops and meeting other fitness driven people. I have learned more about the industry from these workshops than I have from my NCCA accredited exams. Now did I learn more about the basic fundamentals needed to understand how and why we as trainers do what we do in terms of anatomy, body movement etc. Sure didn’t.
But to my main point that I got from this blog. In it AFAA stated “will employers easily be able to fully identify the differences between these soft certifications and actual accredited certifications?” – – – As the hiring manager at my facility it is the first thing I look at. If someone comes in with a specialty certification in which their certification states “Certification of Completion” vs an actual certification – should I hire them? Well if they hold an NCCA accredited PT certification and a KB “soft” certification of completion and are applying for a PT job than why not? If I am hiring a kettlebell specific group fitness instructor and that certificate of completion tells me they spent maybe 2 hours getting it maybe not. Then it may be time to look for a more accredited certification.
I like to think that the people in position of hiring trainers and instructors do their research and know the difference. My list of soft certifications is what sets me apart from other trainers. My soft certifications show (to me) that I am willing to constantly learn and better myself, to travel across the country and pay out of my own pocket to train and learn from some of the top professionals in the world. It should show that I take my continuing education seriously. I know trainers who rather than do any continuing education courses they simply retest in 2 years with their NCCA accredited organization.
Is there a right or wrong here? Does any type of education make any one trainer a better trainer. No. But we live in a country that really has no set regulations for our industry. It is essentially in the hands of those who do the hiring.