I agree with all that has been said here. Certainly, online education is the wave of the future. But I also think that we should consider this – online training or education is not appropriate for all types of learning or professions. Would you want to go to a physician who obtained his education online? A lawyer? The key to those two professions, as with ours is that it handles such an important aspect of our client’s lives (their physical or financial or legal health) that in-person training is a necessity. I think that with certain “hands-on” professions (think doctors, nurses, massage therapists, and yes personal trainers) you cannot discount nor ignore the importance of hands-on training BEFORE certification or licensing is handed out. So, while I think that a certain amount of what we do as trainers CAN be learned online, I think that personal training is not one of those professions that can ENTIRELY be learned and certified online.
I believe that the trend is actually moving in the other direction when it comes to our profession. All you need to do is read some of the latest discussions and debates in some of the state legislatures – there’s definitely rumblings if not an out-and-out movement in some states (and even within the insurance industry and medical profession etc.) to have trainers with a certain level of knowledge, education and experience in order to satisfy their licensure requirements or in the case of physicians for them to feel comfortable referring patients. Like it or not, I think that our industry is actually going to be forced to move away from strictly online certifications in the future.