Working as a Fitness Leader
Fitness Leaders are people who instruct and/or otherwise facilitate other people to undertake activities intended to improve or maintain individuals level of physical (and sometimes mental) wellbeing.
The job of being a Fitness Leader has changed greatly over the past few decades, and looks certain to continue changing.
In the mid 20th century, fitness leaders were fewer in number, and often just amateur fitness enthusiasts conducting exercise classes in a community centre or hall. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, public interest in fitness increased, as did the capacity of people in more affluent countries to pay people to help them improve their level of fitness.
Growth in interest, demand and economic potential has led the industry to develop in different ways in different countries. What was once dominated by amateurs and volunteers, has blossomed into an industry that employs people in a wide range of roles (eg. "Gym Managers", "Life Coaches", Personal Trainers, "Health Consultants", "Fitness Leaders", "Recreation Officers" etc.). Concerns over legal liability have made it important for these "professionals" and their employers to be protected against legal action from disgruntled clients.
Appropriate legal protection may be achieved through various means:
1. By acquiring skills and knowledge which show an unchallengeable capacity to do the job.
2. Insurance -A professional indemnity policy to protect against any impact from a law suit.
3. Statements relating to Liability -Displayed notices or membership contracts which clients are clearly advised of limited liability prior to using any offered services.
4. Registrations and Memberships -Joining an appropriate professional association and/or registering as a fitness leader under an accreditation scheme can provide an indication that the leader is maintaining professional standing.
CAUTION: Registration as a Fitness Leader alone may not provide adequate legal protection. Registration simply means you have satisfied what a government or industry body has determined as being required for their registration; but if the courts determine you were still not competent to have done something you may still loose a legal challenge.
What Do You Need to Be a Good Fitness Leader
a/ The best training you can get
b/ Professional Indemnity Insurance
c/ In some countries and some situations, it may be desirable to gain registration through an accreditation scheme. Accreditation in one country does not mean accreditation in other countries. Accreditation usually is a result of meeting "minimum" standards set by either industry or government; but be aware that this does not mean you have the best training.
You may often need to do one course to "qualify" for being registered or accredited as a fitness leader; and other courses to develop knowledge and skills that will enable you to do the best job, and offer employers things that your industry colleagues cannot match.
FITNESS LEADERS CERTIFICATE (VRE004)
available through ACS Distance Education (Click here to enrol)
This course focuses on teaching the theory and practical skills needed to work successfully in the fitness field. It was developed by fitness leaders with experience in different countries, so it is globally relevant and can be adapted to any fitness context.
Another Option: Elite Fitness Leaders Certificate (an expanded version) click here for details.
- Understanding Fitness Leader Accreditation
- Some (not all) countries have fitness leader accreditation systems in place, which are designed as a pathway for registration with a government or industry body. Some (not all) employers consider accreditation important.
- Our Position
- With over 20 years experience teaching fitness, we have come to realize that accredited courses are not always the best courses.
- The ACS Fitness Leaders Certificate course is the same course that previously led to registration with the Australian Fitness Accreditation Council; and was well known and accepted by industry for many years. Due to changes in industry the system of registration no longer applies as it previously did.
- We chose to move away from the accredited Australian system when the system moved into the Australian government’s training package system for vocational training. Based on our international experience we do not believe that the long term interests of the student are best served by that system.
ACS Distance Education is pursuing accreditation through other schemes whenever appropriate. For an update on the current situation, please ask.
Accredited Qualifications have limited value.
Obtaining an accredited qualification is useful when you are seeking a job, but accredited courses are usually more focused on getting students through the assessment for registration than they are on providing an exceptional scientific and practical foundation for long term career success.
Look after your long term interests
- Once you have a job, your long term career success will depend upon your capacity to distinguish yourself from other fitness leaders.
- ACS fitness leader graduates will have developed scientific knowledge, problem solving skills and other attributes different to, and beyond a typical fitness accreditation certificate. As such, their capacity to learn from their experiences, read and understand technical literature, and advance their career position will be enhanced significantly.
What Should You Do?
- Recognise the fact that an ACS Fitness leader certificate is not the same as other accredited certificates.
- If you are already working in the fitness industry, you may not need an accredited certificate.
- If you are trying to break into the industry and are finding it difficult, we would recommend doing BOTH an accredited qualification (to gain “official” endorsement) and an ACS qualification, to raise your level of skill and knowledge beyond what is commonly found in most other job applicants.