Give Yourself a Career Advantage With Fitness Certifications Before Earning a Degree

Learn about the benefits of getting a fitness certification on the path to becoming a personal trainer.

Sports TrainerAfter four years of high school, you're ready to take on the world. Many of your friends are still trying to decide what they want to do or where they want to go, but you've always known what you want to be. Fitness certifications offer great career options; and if you want to help people live better, move easier and experience a higher quality of life, you should consider them.

A four-year degree in exercise science or allied health may help you advance your career later on, but you don't have to wait until graduation to get started. As long as you're 18 years old, you can earn fitness certifications like a Personal Trainer Certification and put your passion to work right away.

"I started working the front desk at a fitness center and then became a personal trainer, and that's how I paid my way through college," said Todd Galati, Director of Credentialing at the American Council on Exercise (ACE). "When I finished my bachelor's degree, I had that and four years of experience in the field, so I was getting offered jobs that my friends weren't."

Once you decide to go for a certification, the next step is choosing what organization to trust. With more than 300 offering certification options, you can narrow the field by considering only those that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

With many employers, a certification from an NCCA-accredited organization can be the difference between getting hired and getting passed over. The International Health and Racquet Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and the Medical Fitness Association (MFA), two of the leading health club associations in the United States, both recommend that their member facilities hire professionals with NCCA-accredited fitness certifications.

Your certification will serve as a representation of your knowledge and expertise, much like a résumé. A cut-rate, $49 online certification exam won't do much to attract clients or help them achieve their long-term fitness goals. You need to consider whether an organization offers continuing education and career support to help you after you pass their certification exam. Pay special attention to organizations that offer the tools you will need to connect with clients in the beginning and chart a long-term path later on.

Remember, the goal shouldn't be how fast you can earn a certification; it should be choosing one that helps you learn what you'll need to be a better personal trainer.

ACE was among the first certification organizations to achieve NCCA accreditation, and it has successfully maintained it for all four of its core certifications, including Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. ACE also partners with hundreds of four-year colleges and universities across the country on curriculum that may end up being a part of your degree program.

As a nonprofit, ACE is driven by the same passion for fitness that prompted you to seek a certification in the first place. It's what has helped ACE build a 50,000-strong network of certified personal trainers, group fitness instructors, lifestyle and weight management coaches, and advanced health and fitness specialists.

We want people to live their most fit lives. And that's a passion we know you share.

Help us make a difference by earning your personal trainer certification. Find out more by visiting our website or calling our team of experts at 800-825-3636, ext. 782.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: FITNESS | HEALTH | EXERCISE | TRAINER | CERTIFICATION | PERSONAL TRAINER