Certified vs. Qualified
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the shortcomings in the fitness industry – namely, that there are too many trainers out there who simply aren’t “qualified” to work with people. John Berardi wrote a great post last week entitled, 10 Signs You Need a New Trainer. And just the other day, Mike Boyle announced that he had been banned from presenting at this summer’s NSCA conference for supposedly being “unqualified.”
Coincidentally, NSCA President Jay Hoffman made a guest appearance at my Masters program on Monday night. The main subject of his talk had nothing to do with qualifications, but he did briefly mention that the NSCA was in the process of trying to make it a requirement that all collegiate strength and conditioning coaches be CSCS-certified. He then alluded to one “top Division I strength coach who is neither certified nor degreed.” Not long after (and probably NOT so coincidentally), he also referred to the squat as a “FANTASTIC exercise.” At that point, it was pretty obvious to many of us exactly who he was talking about, and I think anyone there who had seen Coach Boyle’s blog that morning could read between the lines:
If all collegiate strength and conditioning coaches are CSCS-certified, the NSCA looks good and I make money. Therefore, we must make every attempt to squander those who challenge our beliefs. Pass it on.
First and foremost, I whole-heartedly agree that we need to establish some sort of minimum standard to raise the bar in the fitness profession. As things stand now, certifications can be obtained online practically over night. What’s worse is that even these aren’t always required! But the fact remains that being certified alone IN NO WAY makes you qualified.
There are a lot of great trainers out there. In fact, here’s a list. But none of them are great because they passed some test. Their constant drive toward self-improvement, and abilities to think freely and help people safely reach their goals is what makes them qualified.
A close friend of mine from college used to train with Boyle back in high school. She went on to be a three-sport athlete at Colby, set several records and graduate as probably the best female athlete in the history of the school.
Athletic performance aside, she’s also just a top-quality person; and if you asked her, I bet she’d tell you Mike Boyle had a pretty profound effect on her life.
It’s really a shame to think that a well-respected organization like the NSCA would value four little letters more than 25 years of real-world results. Do experience, heartfelt commitment and proven success mean nothing in this industry either? Even after 25 years in the field, Mike Boyle still pursues his education more than most trainers 25 years old. If that doesn’t make him qualified, I don’t know what will.
I’d love to hear what other people think about this…
Filed under: fitness commentary