Basics of the Article are Good – But it confuses certification, accreditation and most importantly standards.

This article has a great example about why creating standards is a liability or noose for any industry. The article has the following quote:

“Many members of the fitness community are expressing their opposition to bills that ignore the high accreditation standards already in place, and that could have the dual effect of reducing the number of fitness professionals providing personal-training services, and, in turn, the number of consumers pursuing physical activity programs,”

Of course the term that caught my eye was “high accreditation standards”. Granted the combination of accreditation and standards can be

Personal trainer showing a client how to exerc...

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confusing but the simple fact is creating high standards creates lawsuits. Standards are not goals or operational levels but the lowest acceptable level of operation. If you have an accreditation (marketing) program in your industry, make sure you don’t confuse helping a member achieve a level of business to market itself to the public (accreditation) and the operational levels below which you have violated a duty to someone (a standard).

The article was written in response to attempts by several states to create statutory requirements for personal trainers. At present there are none. There are certification programs seemingly dozens of programs. However a certification is only as strong as the person teaching the course offering the certification. Here certification is also being used to market the level of competence of the person holding the certification rather than proof of education. This seems to be the general evolution in the minds of the public, promulgated by marketing programs to have the word certification mean more.

And I agree and doubt that any state government can do a good job of certifying anyone in the personal training market. The statute will be very watered down. (This from someone who lives in a state where anyone can be a licensed therapist, you need $15!)

The article also brings up the issue that certification can be provided by anyone. You can become a certified personal trainer by completing online courses. I would want my personal trainer to know a lot, and getting that education online is OK. But I would think that stretching, lifting and aerobics would require a little more effort to learn than what you can do with a keyboard and screen.

Again, it does not matter what the certification is, it only matters who issued the certification and what was taught and/or tested.

I’ve have always said that lawsuits start when marketing makes promises that operations cannot meet. Here again, marketing of programs has started a nightmare that will come back to haunt the industry if they do not get organized and stop.

See Certification Update: Self-Regulation at Risk, and Attacking Industry Standards,

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