There are many certified personal fitness trainers (PFT) who have a lot of years of work experience and advance education. I believe some PFT have attained the same amount of education through taking courses in college and/or private organizations as well as other resources. I believe state license professionals such as physical therapist (PT) should be the only one using the term and performing rehab exercises for persons with injuries. They should not be prescribing exercises. PT have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in fitness-related field, attended Pt school and has pass a state exam. A PFT with just 1-2 certification doing the same work sounds scary. When I was in school earning my Kinesiology degree, we has to learn and be tested on information before we were allowed to start working with the clients. Their programs were designed by college kinesiology teacher who had a PhD. I believe certain PFT who have advance theory and practical training can implement a program that was design by a PT or higher. As PFTs, we should work under the supervisor of PR or higher. I read a lot and attended a lot courses on the legal issue of being a fitness professionals. In certain states, it can be a bigger issue if PFT work beyond their scope of practice.
My advise for people who want to work with special populations;
1. Earn a minimum of bachelor’s degree in exercise science, kinesiology, etc.
2. Attain multiple ADVANCE certifications through different organizations such as ACSM, ACE, AFAA, NSCA, etc,
3. Attain advance theory and practical courses in these specialize areas. Courses should be taught by PT, ATC, PhD, etc
4. Always have a network of degree fitness professionals to consult with and make referrals to.
5. Check out PRC Publishing – Subscribe and read Exercise Malpractice Reporter,
Michele Blake, BS (kinesiology)