Friday, December 5, 2008

Certification for Personal Trainers

“Within the last several years, legislation has been introduced in Maryland, Massachusetts, Georgia and California to license or otherwise regulate certain fitness professionals — in many cases, personal trainers. While no licensure or regulation legislation for these fitness professionals has been enacted into law in any state, at least to date, legislation is under consideration in the District of Columbia. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) recommends that its member clubs hire only those personal trainers with a current certification from a fitness certifying organization that has already received, or has begun the process to secure, third-party accreditation of its certification program from either the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), or an accredited organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the United States Department of Education (USDE). IHRSA will recognize other, equivalent accrediting organizations, contingent on their status as an established accreditation body recognized by CHEA and/or USDE. The present industry position on the accreditation of fitness certification organizations began when a group of five established certification organizations were contacted by IHRSA to make recommendations about the need to improve the qualifications and training of personal trainers. These five organizations — ACSM, AFAA, ACE, the Cooper Institute and NSCA — provided input to IHRSA on this subject starting in 2001 and 2002. Eventually, with input from a wide number of other fitness organizations, IHRSA adopted its 2006 accreditation resolution. Since that time, these original organizations and several others have all obtained or are in the process of obtaining accreditation of their certification programs. These efforts have certainly helped move the profession forward, and should result in the more competent delivery of fitness services until, if ever, states move forward to regulate the profession. In the meantime, such "regulation" by the private sector may improve practices, and thus reduce the occurrence of untoward events and related claims and suits.”

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