Getting your personal trainer certification is a big career step. It means you’re ready to get serious about your passion for fitness and to earn a living from it.
It’s important to realize that gaining certification isn’t the end of your journey. It’s only the beginning. You’ll need to renew that certification many times over the years if you want to stay in the industry. Certification is a commitment to keep learning about your profession and how to better serve clients.
There are a lot of good reasons to recertify and keep your personal training credential valid. The most obvious is that you want to keep working in this field and need it to keep your job. Even if your position doesn’t require certification, it’s a good idea to stay certified:
Certification makes you a better trainer for your clients. It provides you with current information on exercise science and training as well as trends in fitness.
Most certification renewals require continuing education credits. By renewing, you keep learning about your profession.
Do your clients get bored with the same workouts over and over again? Recertification classes include new fitness routines and trends, so you can keep clients interested.
Continuing education gives you a chance to learn and offer new specialties to clients, like nutrition and health coaching or senior fitness.
Taking additional courses is interesting. You have a passion for fitness, so why not learn more?
If you are a self-employed trainer, you probably need valid certification to maintain your liability insurance. Without insurance, you run the risk of incurring high costs if something goes wrong.
If you don’t have any type of certification yet, find out why a recognized credential is essential for a career in fitness.
Renewing your certification doesn’t have to be a big chore. The most time-consuming part of the process is earning additional credits, but that’s also the fun part. To get through the process smoothly and without mistakes, follow these guidelines.
Once you have earned your certification, make sure you understand the renewal requirements. In fact, it’s a good idea to look at these requirements before choosing and enrolling in a certification course. If you know what to expect, it gives you a chance to prepare and create a plan for the next few years.
Use technology to your advantage. When you have the list of recertification requirements and deadlines, use an online calendar to schedule them. Set reminders that will go to your email account, so that you don’t forget important dates.
Most certifying organizations include continuing education as a requirement for maintaining a valid credential. For instance, you might need to take two courses or 20 credits in two years to remain certified.
If you wait too long to take the courses, you might run out of time to get them in before the recertification period. An easy way to avoid them is to get to work immediately. Start earning additional credits right after you get certified and schedule later courses, so you don’t miss any deadlines.
Don’t forget to keep your CPR/AED certification current. You likely hold this credential separately from your training certificate, so be aware of the requirements and keep it up to date.
Check out this list of all the great courses you can take through ISSA that meet continuing education requirements.
Most programs offer continuing education courses online but also accept courses from other institutions. It’s easy to track those you take with your own organization, but be sure add and keep track of those you take elsewhere. They should all be listed and registered with your online certification account, so you know where you stand and if you’re missing any credits.
Most renewal requirements do not include an exam. Passing it the first time is most often adequate. If you want to gain certifications in new specialty areas, though, you will have to study for and pass those particular exams.
If you don’t stay on top of your credentials, they might expire before you get a chance to re-certify. This isn’t the end of the world, although a lapse might pose an issue with your insurance policy. If it does, you might need to stop training until you get it sorted.
Check with your certifying agency to find out what you need to do. In many cases, there is a grace period of a few months that allows you still renew but for an additional fee. If you let it lapse for too long, you risk forfeiting the certification and needing to start back at the beginning.
If you have an ISSA certification, renewal is simple. It starts with completing the continuing education credits. The ISSA requires 20 credits every two years for recertification. If you have done that, renewing takes just a few steps:
Fill out and submit the renewal application.
Complete the continuing education (CEU) form.
If some of your credits came from non-ISSA courses, get copies of documentation of your completion of those courses.
Copy your current CPR certification.
Send in all of the above documentation with the required renewal fee. If you take all ISSA CEUs, and submit on time, there is no renewal fee.
Renewing your certification doesn’t have to be difficult, and it’s so worth it. To keep working at your best and offering clients the highest quality of service, get on top of recertification.
Before you can renew it, you need to get your personal trainer certification. The ISSA offers a Certified Personal Trainer – Self-Guided Study Program that you can complete at your own pace. Keep up with renewals and ongoing education to grow into a master trainer.
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