T Nation

Got the Job, Do I Still Need the Cert?

So I got a job managing the fitness center at a country club in China, and part of the job includes giving personal training and teaching classes. During the interview, they asked about my PT certification and I said “I don’t have one, but I’m looking into getting one online.” Seemed like that was a “close enough” answer, and they gave me the job. Since then, I’ve made some people look a bit better naked, and the cert thing hasn’t come up since.

As a “search” function enthusiast, I’ve found that the general consensus about PT certs seems to be:

“They can help you get a job and maybe a sense of credibility, but they won’t make you a better trainer… Or even a good one.”

Fair enough. I’m confident in my ability to create expedient but safe programs for people, and I’ve had good results so far. I’m also not so ignorant as to think I can stop learning… I’ve never had so many browser tabs open with fitness articles, studies and kinesiology materials, and every training session sends me back to the books to find out more about what I’m trying to do.

On the flip-side though, I’m afraid of “blind spots” in my knowledge, like special considerations for the old or very flabby, or how to assess and work around weaknesses that a client may not even realize they have.

So my questions are:

  1. If the job doesn’t call for it, will it still benefit me to try to find certification online?

  2. What’s the best way to keep educating myself and minimize my “blind spots” in dealing with other people?

Thanks for everybody’s help!

[quote]JaggedG wrote:

  1. If the job doesn’t call for it, will it still benefit me to try to find certification online?
    [/quote]

This job might not, but do you foresee yourself being in that job for life? better to get it done now rather than say you’re still looking when you get your next job, you might not be so lucky next time.

Also, I’m not sure about litigation where you are, but if something buggers up then a lack of formal certification that you know what you’re doing might come back to bite you.

[quote]JaggedG wrote:

“They can help you get a job and maybe a sense of credibility, but they won’t make you a better trainer… Or even a good one.”

[/quote]

I highly disagree with this. I recently obtained the ACE certification and contrary to what many think, studying for it I learned quite a bit and information I knew already or forgot was reinforced. I have degrees in nutrition and exercise phys and knew a bit of the material already, but for someone who doesn’t have such degrees, he or she will learn A LOT from studying for a good certification such as ACE, NASM, or NSCA.

Literally speaking a degree or certification cannot make you a better professional in any field. It’s up to the person to be a competent professional and part of being competent is having the necessary knowledge.

Many meat heads online think they can be a successful trainer but in actually can’t.

[quote]JaggedG wrote:

  1. What’s the best way to keep educating myself and minimize my “blind spots” in dealing with other people?

[/quote]

You don’t minimize blind spots in any profession. If you don’t know something when asked, you say, “I don’t know,” and then if possible find out. I’ve worked with phonies. People don’t respect phonies.

Thanks for the replies, that’s really helpful! I hardly ever hear anyone say anything good about PT certs, so it’s good to hear someone from the other side of the debate.

I definitely have no problem telling someone “Let me read up on that, I’m not actually sure.” My definition of a “blind spot” though is the things that I don’t even realize that I don’t know. I’m not just worried about questions I don’t know the answer to (e.g. “Is it safe for this person to squat deep?”) but the questions I wouldn’t even think to ask. I don’t want to be that guy who thinks he knows everything then is surprised when someone gets hurt.

Thanks again, I really appreciate the advice.