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?
One more thought. I think that as our industry and profession continues to grow, and more career paths open up for us, the importance of a formal degree education in certain areas is a necessity. For example as I mentioned in my earlier answer, with so many Universities and Colleges now with degree programs in areas such as Exercise Science, those professors (many who are former hands-on fitness professionals) must have degrees in those areas to teach. The same expectation of a formal education extend to other career paths in our profession (e.g. Strength and Conditioning Coaches, Fitness and Wellness administrators in certain organizations such as Universities etc.)
I think that with more fitness career options comes the requirement for more formal and specialized education.