While living in Peru in the last 2 years, I became certified to teach a style of cardio kickboxing developed there. I am back in the US and would like to teach kickboxing here but have found that I need an additional certification as a group exercise instructor. This is a little frustrating because I have my bachelors in kinesiology, my masters in athletic training, and my doctorate in physical therapy. I work full time as a physical therapist, and I just want to teach once or twice a week because the class is really fun and I want to share it with others. I am willing to get the certification but because of my background and the cost, I want to know which is the BEST cert for group exercise instructors. I want to be able to do this once, learn something, and be able to use it at any gym. Thanks!!
Some gyms will have a list of certifications that they will accept and some gyms will take you if you have any certification even if they have never heard of it. On top of that some gyms will hire you as a personal trainer but require that you have individual class certifications like Les Mills etc which is really specific. I would check with the gyms as to which they like to see or require; you can even inquire as a potential client to see what they say. That could also give you some good insight as to the type of gym they are and whether or not it is a good fit for you.
In general ACSM gets my #1 vote and ACE #2.
ACE, ACSM or AFAA depending on which you want to choose as the others have listed above the differences between them. But I would first check with the gyms you want to teach at to ensure they accept that certification or if they have a preference. Some even sponser certifications and may have one coming up that you can join. Many gyms hire people who have taken the certification class through them.
I would personally go with ACSM or ACE.
Although ACSM’s current group-ex certification has only been out since 2011, this is not their first experience certifying group exercise instructors. If you look at both textbooks (I own ACSM, ACE, and AFAA’s current texts), ACE cites ACSM as a resource, not the other way around.