I’m at the point in my academic career where I’m pursuing college coursework in Exercise Science. I am also studying to become certified through ACE as a Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach. I was looking at the Answers Leaderboard and looking at the “formal” education level of the top 10 answerers. The majority of us either have college degrees or have completed some college. Of the top 10 answerers, less than half have one or more degrees related to fitness or health. It seems as though in this industry, experience (years in the industry) will outpay you faster than higher education. Do you forsee this trend continuing?
In your opinion, what kind of continuing education is “more valuable” or “more easily marketable” today in the world of health and fitness? Were you to hire a trainer for your studio, would you prefer someone with formal education or a trainer with a few (or many) nationally accredited certifications, professional memberships, and plenty of experience? Where do you think time and money would be best spent on continuing education when looking to advance one’s career in the industry?
Hi Marlan. I agree with other posters in that I believe that “the most valuable” continuing education in the final analysis is “what’s most valuable” to you. As I know that you know, the trend nowadays with many national certification agencies is in requiring a certain level of formal education (many require a minimum of a Bachelors degree) to sit for their certification exam. I think that this trend is defining how we as fitness professionals will approach certifications in the future. Additionally with the slow, but seemingly steady march by many States towards licensing fitness professional (i.e. personal trainers), don’t be surprised if the ‘minimum requirements’ for obtaining a license in the future will be some combination of certification and didactic training in a classroom – sometimes leading to a specific degree in the field.
I see our industry as moving towards more formalized education, more standardized levels of knowledge and skill/experience, and minimum requirements requiring a certain level of formal education. Being proactive rather than reactive in my opinion would mean that there is value in pursuing both types of ‘education’ (certification and formal classroom) for the fitness professional. Back when personal training was a fairly new industry, and there were no such things as strength and conditioning coaches etc. you could get by with a certification alone. Nowadays, more and more Universities and Colleges (as you know) have introduced degree programs in Exercise Science, Kinesiology, Sports Performance etc. To remain competitive in this field, I think that we as trainers need both types of education and continuing education. The industry is moving in that direction and we need to move with it to stay competitive and marketable.
I hope that this helps.