According to a survey conducted by the National Board of Fitness Examiners, the best way to protect the integrity of personal training is through an official governing body. The survey asked 2720 personal trainers their thoughts on testing, licensures, and credentials. Results of the survey showed a strong desire from fitness professionals to keep standards uniform throughout the country and maintain a level of excellence in the field.

The majority of personal trainers surveyed believe they should be able to sit for a national exam, as opposed to passing exams in 50 different states. This would create consistent qualifications from state to state and require personal trainers to have the same skill set and knowledge, regardless of location. It would also make it easy for personal trainers to obtain a new license, should they move to a different state.

The survey shows a desire from those in the industry to maintain integrity through state licensure and national qualifications. There are several ways in which national credentialing would have a positive effect on the personal fitness training industry.

Eliminates Unqualified Trainers from the Industry

One of the main ways licensing helps the industry is to eliminate unqualified practitioners. Many survey respondents indicated they have come into contact with people they believed were not qualified to be working with clients. They believe licensing would weed these incompetent trainers out of the field, thus improving the overall reputation of personal training.

Improves Relationships with Other Heath Professionals

With this improved reputation comes a better relationship with other heath professionals. Approximately 75% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that licensing of personal trainers is likely to increase the perception of professionalism in the public’s eye. Practically the same amount felt it would increase referrals from healthcare professionals. Patients are also more likely to follow through on visits to personal trainers when referred by doctors and other health professionals.

This not only further establishes a solid reputation in health care, it increases the potential client pool and ultimately increases earnings for personal trainers. It should be noted, the majority of respondents do not think credentialing is likely to increase rates among personal trainers, but salaries will rise based on an increase in clients.

Increases Likelihood of Insurance Coverage for Fitness Training

This improved standing in the health care industry is also likely to increase the likelihood of insurance reimbursement for personal fitness training sessions. More than 60% of respondents believe licensure would increase insurance coverage for clients.

Moves the Industry Forward

Overall, most personal fitness trainers believe improved credentialing and licensure is likely to move the industry forward and establish greater credibility. Nearly 63% of survey respondents would like to be denoted as “licensed personal trainers,” if given the opportunity. Establishing minimum requirements to achieve the title of licensed professional, and knowing you and your peers have met these requirements boosts confidence and morale in an industry. Most survey respondents said they preferred a national exam over a state option and the majority of respondents favoring the state option indicated they would prefer national oversight of the exam material.

The survey shows a strong desire among personal fitness trainers to establish professionalism in the field. Ultimately, national credentialing would “… guide the evolution and future of personal training and move the industry forward.”