Looking for certification in health and fitness
February 2, 2007 12:00 PM   Subscribe

I would like to be certified as a fitness trainer and possibly in diet therapy. In looking at online and corespondent courses it seems there are a lot of different orgs to go through. Some are obviously not so great and a scam in themselves. I have pretty much narrowed my search down to a few: The ISSA, AFPA, and NASM look to be the best options. But there is such a span in tuition and course options. Any recomendations from anybody in the field?
posted by cdavidc to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is kind of anecdotal, but the company I work for prints the business cards for a high-end fitness club/resort. The most common certifications seem to be from NASM, and, to a leser extent, ACE.
posted by lekvar at 12:31 PM on February 2, 2007


I've had ACE Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer certification, since lapsed. I haven't worked in the field, and haven't paid attention to the field for about three years.

That said, last I knew, there's no governmental regulation of fitness instruction. Gyms usually require their trainers/instructors to be certified by some recognized certifying body, and often accept any of them.

NASM is generally considered the most prestigious of the bunch.

If you just want to hang your own shingle, check for local laws, but there's probably no requirement to be certified at all. Choose whatever course of action that best gets you the knowledge you need and best allows marketing yourself to your prospective clients; this may or may not involve certification.

If you want to work at gyms, check the requirements of the particular gyms.

As for diet therapy, again, be aware of local regulations regarding requirements for what certification lets you call yourself what. Many states regulate 'nutritionist' and 'dietician'; make sure you don't run afoul of such things.

If your principal concern is the content of the courses, I don't think you'd go wrong with NASM.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:36 PM on February 2, 2007


There is certification for gaining knowledge and certification for cracking open a career path or progressing along a pay scale. I assume you seek certification because of the jobs, and clients, it may make available to you... but what are you interested in? Personal trainer at a big box gym? Strength coach for a football team? Helping with cardiac rehab patients? Running your own gym? Private, sport-specific training? Is this a career or a job? There are many options, and the certification you pick should be in line with your aspirations and the market you wish to serve.

Don't go with a cert that has an online test. You need to be able to show ID and sit for a test for it to have any credibility.

NSCA-CPT, NASM-CPT, or ACSM-CPT will get you in the door at nearly any big box gym in the country, and all three are NCCA-accredited. NSCA-CSCS (if you have a bachelor's degree already) carries more prestige than any personal training certification, and will allow you to "design and implement strength training and conditioning programs for athletes in a team setting." ACSM offers advanced certifications geared toward those working in an allied health role.

What is your background (potential strengths as a health and fitness professional), and who do you want to train?
posted by chudder at 4:46 PM on February 2, 2007


Doh. It's been so long, I failed to keep the names straight. I meant to give props to ACSM, not NASM. (Thanks, chudder.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 5:18 PM on February 2, 2007


Thanks for all the pointers!! This definately gives me a broader perspective to look at than I had before, as well as more direction with where I want to go.

My degrees are in sociology and philosophy. Having grown up a "big boy", and lost a lot of weight, I would like to get into a field of working with people who aren't healthy and help them get fit. Where I currently live there are "big box" facilities, and really no good facilities at all. So I have more options to consider now.

Thanks again.
posted by cdavidc at 6:38 PM on February 3, 2007


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