In any profession…in life overall, we value a high return on investment.  As fitness professionals, we learn every day that those returns come in many forms.

We quickly understand the need to learn and grow far beyond the base our initial certification laid in order to move toward a successful career in our chosen industry.

Enter continuing education.

While obtaining continuing education is required to keep our certifications current, it is not just something we “have to do” to get that updated certificate.  Continuing education is vital to us meeting our commitment to our clients…and to ourselves.

Our clients’ trust is of the utmost importance to all of us.  These clients depend on us to stay abreast of the latest information available within our scope of practice on exercise, nutrition, exercise equipment, weight management and so much more.  They look to us to have the knowledge to keep them as safe as possible while helping them reach their goals.  They want us to provide new and challenging workouts that make the most efficient use of their time.

As fitness professionals, we all want to feel confident and to excel at our craft.   We want to be well paid for our services.   We want the opportunities to better serve our special populations and reach new and different target audiences.  We need to learn about new exercise modalities and equipment to stoke creative juices.    We want and need to network with other fitness professionals.   We need to be challenged and moved out of our comfort zone. We want to find ways to set ourselves apart.

Continuing education is the means to all those ends.

But, with so many choices to obtain fitness continuing education, we must take time to create a plan that will help us optimize the investment being made.

A continuing education “roadmap” will help guide us through the vast number of choices available.  While renewal of your certification through obtained CECs/CEUs is an obvious milestone, your plan should allow for continuous and sustained learning.  Here are some considerations as you create your plan:

  • Set a budget for continuing education.
  • Search for CEC/CEU options through a nationally recognized certification agency that are affordable and offer “memberships” or other course bundle options to make the most efficient use of your budget.
  • Identify continuing education options that are flexible and convenient and that fit well into your schedule.
  • Options that offer online study materials, online exams, study videos and that allow you to print your certificate of completion are good choices.
  • Plan for hands-on learning opportunities. Live workshops and conferences along with online study makes for a well-rounded fitness learning experience.

Consider continuing education that will help you bring more value to your existing clients—look for courses that build on knowledge of your base certification through advanced courses.  Also identify options that “complement” your base certification, such as courses in nutrition or regarding a new type of equipment.

Choose continuing education options that will increase your value and income as a fitness professional by positioning yourself to appeal to new client bases.  There are many specialty certifications/courses that will allow you to increase your marketability by adding new formats to your offerings while obtaining the CEUs/CECs you need.

Give considerable thought to what you are passionate about.  Identify continuing education topics that present an enjoyable learning experience for YOU.

Continuing education should not be something we think about only when it is time to renew our certifications.   Careful planning for this education will optimize our returns and our value.  Bottom line, it allows us a lifetime of learning that is beneficial to all.