When it comes to deciding that you want work in the fitness industry, establishing what qualifications you need and then choosing which course to do can be a giant minefield of information.
Ultimately though, there is much less to choose from than you actually may think, but making sure your qualification is industry (and employer) recognised is a must!
Certificate in Fitness Instructing
In order to enter the fitness industry, you need to complete the standard Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing in the context of Gym/Exercise to Music/ Aqua/ Children's Fitness. You would obviously choose the context based on what area of fitness you would like to work in.
Certificate in Personal Training
If you've completed your Fitness Instructor qualification in the context of Gym, you may well then want to progress onto the Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training qualification. These two qualifications are sometimes bolted together to form what's called a Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instruction and Personal Training. It may look like you are by-passing the Level 2 qualification, but you're not. You would still complete all of the Level 2 units as well as the Level 3 units.
You would need to add up financially if you were better off paying and completing these separately versus booking and completing together as the Diploma...
You then have the option to look into more advanced/specific qualifications/ CPD courses....
A 'recognised fitness qualification' is a course accredited by an awarding body, such as YMCA Awards (formally CYQ) and recognised by the Register of Fitness Professionals (REPs). Training not recognised by REPs include, BTEC's and degrees not REPS endorsed - http://www.exerciseregister.org/cpd-training/training-not-recognised.
Any other course or training offered by a training provider, which is either REPs accredited (worth between 1 and 16 REPs points) or non-accredited, can be defined as a 'CPD course' and not a qualification. Unless you are a member of REPs, CPD courses are not essential, but if you wish to keep your knowledge and services up to date, then progressing or specialising is highly recommended to stand out above the crowd!
Progressing Your Career
Some qualifications or CPD courses you can choose to progress onto include;
Sports Massage Therapy
Lower Back Pain
Obesity and Diabetes
Step Exercise to Music (coming soon to Fit4Training)
Business Skills for Fitness Professionals
Less Mills (Body Pump/Body Combat/ Body Attack etc.)
Dispelling the 'MASTER TRAINER' myth...
Basically, there is no such fitness qualification. A course that has been classified as a Master Trainer Diploma or Advanced Personal Trainer is purely a combination of different qualifications or CPD. You may have also come across courses called Special Populations Diploma or similar, however this is quite often a combination of the Personal Trainer, Exercise Referral, and Pre/Postnatal qualifications, for example/
Be sure to establish exactly what qualifications/CPD a 'packaged' course includes.
Another thing to consider when enrolling on a course, is the study methods. Despite the content of fitness industry courses being exactly the same, the learning and teaching methods can vary widely. They could be, for example;
fully taught intensive courses involving weeks of attendance, often consecutive;
fully taught courses over a long period of time but maybe on half to 1 day a week (typical for colleges);
blended learning, involving both home/online learning plus attendance to taught workshops;
online courses, involving home/online learning plus a practical day.
Choosing what method is best for you depends on many factors such as your availability, how you learn best, how much your willing to pay etc.
Most of our courses at Fit4Training are blended learning. We feel that this is the correct balance and gives you the opportunity to gain direct input from a tutor/assessor, whilst having the flexibility of home learning and no strict schedule. We pride ourselves on the fact that our courses are designed so that they are both value for money and offer a way of learning that suits busy lifestyles.
For more information or for advice, please contact us!