Hello Aerobics & Fitness Association of America (AFAA),
It seems to be that many courses which should probably be CECs are called certifications. It comes down to trained professionals teaching the proper health and fitness instructions safely. If it takes many certifications to do that, so be it. My goal is to help my fellow man achieve the best health possible; therefore, I take all my learning seriously.
How many of AFAA certifications are accredited or just specialties? A base certification then some specialization seems to follow accreditation guidelines for meeting a minimum requirement. I have had a few accredited certifications and can say that they are all lacking something even though they meet a minimum for accreditation. I have also learned more practical application and specific knowledge from certifications/specializations that are not accredited than from any one certification.
I couldn’t be more disappointed in AFAA! They make it so difficult to earn CEC’s from any other organization but their own! They don’t even accept online courses Idea Fit offers. I am seriously considering going with NASM, ISSA or ACE-these organizations are much more professional. They work with you, not against you!
“Does the industry want more good content and training at a competitive price?”
AFAA your question is a thought provoking one.
I’ll start by saying that when I earned my first group fitness certification it was in London, England and it took me six months to complete. For the exam there was a theoretical portion and a practical portion. For the practical portion, it was necessary that I bring 15 people to my exam and teach before independent evaluators from the Royal Society of the Arts. The theoretical component required that I design a 10-week illustrated progressive exercise plan for a complete beginner. I had to draw stick people performing all the movements in a progressive manner from week to week. That experience set a very high bar for me. I had to work hard in order to earn my “Exercise to Music (ETM) credential as it was then called in 1990.
I share this with you because of the question you posed and that fact that you differentiate yourself from all the other certifying bodies because a practical component is included in your exam.
Let me say AFAA, from all the many certification exams I have taken since I’ve been involved in this industry, AFAA’s was the least challenging. Too, in all due respect, I was left a bit disillusioned at the quality of the practical component and the practical exam. It is common knowledge among Zumba instructors that passing your exam is “easy.”
I personally believe the fitness industry in the United States has a long way to go before it is on par with Europe.
For this reason, instead of the constant nitpicking, I believe it is high time that all look at their educational delivery system and continue to be proactive about growing and improving. Instead of comparing oneself with what is happening in the US compare yourself with what is happening outside of the US. In this way you are in a better position to be objective.
Again, thanks for your response and posting such a thought-provoking question on the IDEA Fitness Connect portal.
I have to agree with a lot of the other posts, as well as some of the comments in your blog.
I started out in this industry with a group certification from AFAA, and while I learned a lot, it has been the easiest certification I have achieved to date. While, yes it is true that there was a practical application portion to the exam, the instructors prior to the test, gave many clues as to what they would ask and what they would be looking for as to answers. While this was helpful to some, it certainly did not weed out those who were not yet ready to take the test or apply the knowledge they had learned. Of course, this may have just been the instructors who were at my particular test, but it was my exerience.
On that same note, I do not believe that any class, CEU or certification can fully prepare you for what you will or may encounter when teaching a class or instructing a client. Sure, some certifications are not held to the same standard as others, and yes, I believe that this can “soften” the industry as a whole, I think the problem is bigger than just “soft” certifications. As another person put it, till there are some regulations within the industry that are required for all personal trainers, group instructors, etc, there will be issues. I also believe that practical, hands on, experience should be required before training clients. Much like nurses, physical therapists, etc, have to have a certain number of hours of practical application of their skills before they can sit for their exams. If we, professionals in the fitness industry, truely want to be incorporated into the continuum of care with the medical community, then we need to up our standards as such.
But just as there are “soft” certifications and CEUs in the medical community, there will always be “soft” certifications within the fitness community.