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Tips For Getting Your Group Fitness Or Personal Trainer Certification.

With all the major certifications moving online since 2020, how do you know which one is right for you?

It used to be after you reviewed all the study material sent to you, you would attend a

2-3 day exam. This included a review of all the material, Q & A with a fitness expert, going over what's expected, an anatomy review, and more. After the review, you would complete a written exam followed by a skills test. The skills portion was done in front of a panel of experts taking notes and watching your every move. We would wait weeks for passing results. Now you just take a multiple-choice test online and the results are immediate. But do you feel ready to teach?

Looking back I am so grateful for the in-person exam. It was nerve-racking for sure, but it also taught me so many valuable lessons and set the standard for what kind of instructor I wanted to be. It is rare to find that as an option anymore. Almost all Group Fitness and PT exams are done online unless you go to a major fitness convention that offers it in person. So the question becomes which certification will prepare you the most for teaching?

After extensive research here are my tips for choosing the right certification for you.

1) Make sure it is NCAA accredited. Most gyms hiring will require this.

2) Look for extra training options. Do they offer study groups, supplemental online workshops,

and access to an expert for questions? I want you to be prepared for this exam, so you gotta ask, are they doing everything they can to help you be ready to teach a fun, safe, and effective class?

3) Supportive study materials. You should expect more than just study books. The best programs will have online options to download material, prep quizzes, practice tests, and videos, study groups, and access to a study coach.

4) Get the most out of what you paid for. If company A is offering the certification at the same price as company B but isn't including anything extra, such as the FB study groups, that is a red flag. Basically, get the most bang for your buck.

5) Good selection of continuing education. Browse through the CECs and see what is offered for future training. If you're bored looking at the options, and it seems limited, move on.

6) A simple renewal process. Most certifications have a two-year or lifetime renewal, requiring a certain amount of continuing education credits. This gets costly. Most certs require only a portion to be through the company you certified through and the rest can be done through other programs.

Do you need both a Group Fitness certification and Personal Training if you want to do both? The quick answer is no. But I have heard a few gyms require both. I would love for all my instructors who plan to teach any type of strength training to have their PT. Personal Trainers can teach Group Fitness, but Group Fitness cannot do PT, so I switched my Group Fitness Certification to PT in 2020.

The toughest decision may be deciding whether you get a Group Fitness Certification or specialize. I will tell you from a fitness manager's point of view, I will lean toward hiring someone who can cover other classes. The exception is my yoga instructors who have no desire to teach anything else, like ever. Your bigger gyms will usually require the Group Certification, whereas a smaller studio or yoga studio may only require the certification to be in what you hired to teach. The cost is a factor, I get it. By the time you pay for your group cert, and start adding specialized certs and then half of those require monthly fees, you are spending hundreds of dollars a year on keeping up with it. You gotta love what you do because most of us are not teaching group fitness for the money. We love to teach, we love the reward of sharing a better quality of life through fitness. I hope this helps you choose a certification that fits you best.

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