It's no surprise that the entry requirements into the fitness industry are pretty low.
For the most part all that is necessary is that one have a high-school diploma be 18-years of age, prepare for the certification exam and pass.
For this reason I became an educational partner with the American Council on Exercise. I decided that at my studio I would offer the American Council on Exercise's 16-week university level course designed to prepare would-be fitness professionals to sit for and pass the ACE GFI, Personal Trainer or Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach courses so that potential fitness professional would have the minimum knowledge, skills and abilities to begin working in the fitness industry with a measure of confidence.
In the interest of self-disclosure the cost of the course is $999. Included in the course are the course materials and the course is taught live. The exam, which is $209 is not included. The course follows a university semester schedule. Classes meet twice a week for two hours. In total there are 32 contact hours. FYI, the course materials cost on average $110. If one does the math this works out to about to $27 hourly.
I preface this blog with the above because today a most interesting thing happened.
Some time ago, I was contacted by someone who expressed interest in taking the ACE approved personal training course. As I do with all individuals, I explained the course curriculum and let the interested party know what to expect from the course. This individual was very anxious to become certified in order to and begin working and wanted to have the right credentials in order to do so. This is admirable.
Well, today I received an email from the interested party informing me that he/she had passed their ACE exam. The individual also expressed disappointment that the course he/she. took was a fraction of the cost of the courses I teach The course, by the way was two days long and cost under $200. Course materials were not included and the exam was not included. From my calculations the investment this individual made in their career is approximately the same amount of money he/should would have spent if he/she purchased the ACE study bundle direct from ACE and he/she would have had access to American Council on Exercise study resources.
FYI, the ACE requires that education partners and continuing education providers meet certain educational requirements in order to teach their courses and/or teach continuing education courses. For the most part this includes earning a 4-year or a masters degree.
One would think that if one invests time in pursuing and earning higher education they would inspire others to do the same. I guess that is naivete speaking.
I've been brainstorming for quite some time now about what can be done to raise the bar on the entry requirements to become a personal trainer or a group fitness instructor.
I end this blog by sharing with you that I earned my first fitness credential in London, England and the course was six months. We met twice a week and I had to pass a theoretical exam as well as practical exam. On the practical exam, I had to bring in 15 people and lead a group fitness class in front of examiners from the Royal Society of the Arts.
After that course I was ready and confident to lead exercise to music classes as they were then called in 1990.
A similar system would be ideal here in the US.
The dilemma is.....
It costs money.
What are your thoughts?