Certification is a way of adding credibility to your profession. Obtaining a certification shows me value.
We all are self taught to a certain degree and because this industry has no mandatory certification requirements or any way to monitor trainers, I believe it’s vital to be the best trainer you can be which in my mind means being certified by a Nationally accredited organization, to maintain your CEC’s, CPR/AED requirements along with maintaining a high standard of self taught knowledge and experience.
I know you wanted a shorter answer but its obviously not that simple of a question.
personally, I would not take one without the other – either way.
Even with the best of certifications, experience is of extreme importance. That will be the case whether we will have industry standards or not. What a certification ensures, though, is that the person stays up to date on his knowledge through required CeCs, has a valid CPR/AED and has liability insurance. That is the reason why the club at which I teach requires that the trainers hold a nationally recognized certification even when they have a college degree in an exercise related field.
I cannot give you a ranking as you asked for. On the other hand, I do not believe that personal training is viewed as an ‘amenity’. To me an amenity is towel service and a hot tub.
For me it would depend upon the certification and the manner in which the individual earned their credential.
My first credential was through the London YMCA. It took me six months to complete the course. Both the theoretical and practical components were part of the course. The practical exam required that I bring in 15 persons and teach a group fitness class in front of an independent body of examiners from the Royal Society of Arts. In addition, there was a theoretical exam.
For me that was one of the many pivotal experiences in my career. When I finally began working as a group fitness instructor not only did I have a certification but I had the confidence before I accepted my first job.
If a personal trainer or group fitness instructor who took their course through the 16-week university level course offered by an ACE education partners, I would feel confident hiring him or her. For me that fact that both pivotal components are included in the course is increases the likelihood of their knowledge of ability being put in to practice.
#1 Credentials/Certification – who they are certified gives me information on how challenging those certifications are and what they took to achieve. As well as what types of courses and things they’ve done to continue to maintain their certifications. It provides me with information as to how they think….do they go for the easy out or like a challenge and value?
#2 Experience – how long have they been doing what they do? Do they have a mentor? Recommendations and results. Do they have experience with a group I’m interested in them working with? How did they get that experience? Examples of challenging situations/clients.
#3 Age/Gender….not really a consideration….