As everyone knows there is not any regulation pertaining to being certified or not.
I think experience is a must and I think if you present yourself honestly it would be great to get the hands on time with training, ideally for no fee…..partner up with an experienced trainer and review what you assess and concur with that person.
There was a time when there were no certifications and people called themselves personal trainers.
As a fitness professional, I have to say that it would most likely be a very bad idea to present yourself as a trainer when you do not have a certification backing that up.
Respect the fitness industry and those who work in it by earning the proper credentials to train others, similar to how a doctor doesn’t practice medicine without a medical license.
It’s a matter of principle to me. Training yourself and friends together is one thing, but taking money from someone and providing them with a service is something completely different. I would suggest that if you decide to “get some practice in,” you do it with your friends and you don’t accept any payment from them or set them up with any plans. Legally, that’s the best way to protect your name as a future fitness professional.
People should see you as a professional and not someone who just knows a lot about fitness. Earning that certification is the first step in getting in some legitimate practice. These exams exist for a reason. It’s awesome that you’re going to take your PT exam!
As Jocelyn and Larue have so clearly articulated, just be absolutely careful about what you represent as your qualifications. I don’t know if you can get professional insurance, I doubt it, as LaRue suggests. And that’s a very important reality. Tami’s suggestion to “shadow” a trainer/client is great. What would you do in a similar situation?
I would at the first contact let every client know that you are studying to become a certified personal trainer. Bottom line.. it’s your skill and motivation that really matters. If you’re honest and up front, then many of your “pre-certification” clients will undoubtedly become clients when you complete the certification process.
Karin’s suggestions regarding assessment are so important. As a trainer, certified or not, assessment is the basis of your program design. Within the limits of the tools that you have available, become an expert at assessment of cardiovascular, strength, flexiblity and nutritional fitness. Then you will be an excellent personal trainer.