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.
It’s an interesting field, it’s so wide open and limitless yet it takes a certain quality of tenacity to thrive in it successfully.
At the present moment I think it would behoove anyone wanting to get into the fitness/wellness/health world to get a degree along with a hands on mentorship. This is the key component missing in the fitness world.
I also believe we are only as knowledgable as we want to be, we are only on “the cutting edge”if we put ourselves there, we can basically become whatever we wish in this business.
I think this industry is personal, by that I mean I have seen some really smart instructors and personal trainers who had more knowledge than most and they could not, for the life of them, teach group exercise, they could not “connect” with their class and did not have the interpersonal touch to be a personal trainer, on the other hand I have seen some amazing teachers with ACE only.
It totally depends on the person. The great thing is that we have so many resources and organizations and fitness connect etc. which allows us to expand our thought processes and allows us all to continue to grow and learn.
If we HAD to have a college degree, this industry would be a lot different!
Aim for a broad scope of professionals.
I would throw in that you should get people that have a background in lifting, running and swimming workouts.
I have met people with doctorate degrees that could explain the bio-mechanics of a squat but couldnt demonstrate one to save their lives.
Bodybuilding and powerlifting are two fields that are highly underrated for being dangerous and extreme, however no one is better than them at maximizing the change of body composition than these people.
The health industry needs to realize that professionals need to have a little sweat and blood in the gym before they can teach others.
Id highly suggest you enroll in extreme lifting regimes for a while to really understand the gym.
Bryant, can we add cycling to your list?! All of the answers are right on. All of the academic education in the world won’t make you a good personal trainer. It comes from inside your heart, caring for people, caring to help make them stronger.. And it only comes when we take good care of ourselves, too.
Take care, Danny