Many fitness corporations are hiring individuals with only a high school degree and are predicating their entire search criteria on sales experience and communication skills. Individuals who accrue a single personal training certification are calling themselves fitness professionals which is mind boggling to say the least. I also find that many managers have an overtly biased outlook on personal training certifications and place an emphasis on hiring individuals who are certified with the same organization.
I would not call the field a joke. There are so many knowledgeable and great trainers out there. However, I do see many trainers who lack professionalism, never change their program, do not correct their clients form, and rely on high risk exercises. I find this very frustrating, in fact, this is why I started a blog, hoping to inform consumers, so they know to search out the good trainers. I do agree that too many gyms hire minimally certified (weekend or online) trainers, and that most of us are biased towards our certification organization.