The Future of the Personal Training Industry
Understanding the industry is critical to positioning yourself for growth and success. Just as the stereotypical personal trainer of ten years ago would not be successful in the market today, you, too could become outdated if you do not keep up with the rapid changes that are taking place. Successful businesses are those that make educated predictions about the future of their industry by looking at present trends. By being aware of and involved in the huge changes taking place, you cannot only keep up with the industry, you can set the pace!
Standardization of Certification
There are likely to be some major changes in the industry in the coming years. Education is becoming more of an emphasis and priority, and those with inadequate education will be left behind. As with physical therapy and athletic training, people are pushing for government regulation of the profession and legal standards for those who can call themselves personal trainers. This will require a national certification exam and state licensure requirements. It is widely believed within the industry that this will bring more credibility to the profession. This will also decrease the escalating numbers of organizations that offer certifications and limit them to offering continuing education. This is yet another reason to be sure you are certified through a reputable organization.
Eventually, every personal trainer will be required to have a college degree in a related field and a certain amount of hands-on experience before they can become certified. The result will be more qualified, safer, and more professional trainers. This may also prompt the development of assistant personal-trainer certifications. If this does occur, assistant trainers would not be required to have as much education. They would probably perform tasks such as prescreening or stretching, but would not be able to create programs for clients.
Because of the appealing hours and good compensation, there are an increasing number of physical therapists and athletic trainers choosing to become personal trainers. This raises the bar, as people in the allied health professions are highly educated, are qualified to work with special populations, and have a great deal of hands-on experience.
Teaming Up with the Health-Care Industry
Insurance companies already acknowledge that personal training is preventative health care, and that for every $1 spent on prevention they save about $10 on treatment. That is why many insurance companies will now reimburse their members for part or all of a gym membership. In the future, they may also reimburse for the services of personal trainers, which would make training more affordable and more appealing to the average person.
The medical field as a whole is also recognizing the importance of prevention and the benefits for their patients of working with a personal trainer. They are also realizing that reciprocal relationships with trainers can help their businesses be more successful. There is an increasing amount of cooperation between the medical and fitness industries in the effort to increase the number of people living healthy lifestyles. Personal trainers are aligning more and more with doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and other medical professionals, opening up another market.
The leading and most respected organizations are ACSM, NSCA, and NASM. If you want to be prepared for the impending changes in the industry, obtain a certification with one of these organizations. If personal training is more of a hobby or part-time job, one of the other organizations listed in Chapter 1 will be sufficient.
What Do These Changes Mean?
Any and all of these changes will increase respect and demand for personal-training services. With an increase in demand comes an increase in compensation. Personal trainers as a group will be more educated, better qualified, and more professional. People will be willing to pay more because they know they are getting more. However, if you want to be a part of this exciting growth, you need to have adequate education and a respected certification.
More and more colleges and universities are recognizing personal training as a viable career for the future. They are offering degrees in personal training that enable their students to become certified through a reputable organization, as well as providing them hands-on experience and training. If this interests you (and it should), it should be relatively easy to find a college in your area that offers this type of degree. If you obtain this level of education, you will be prepared for the time when there is a national certification exam and state licensure for personal trainers; you will not have to scramble to get the proper schooling after the fact. You will also be contributing to the growing level of professionalism within the industry.