Are All Exercise Trainers Equal?
Lately, I have been asking my clients, family, friends and just about anyone who would stop to talk with me, if they knew that there were different levels of Personal Trainers (exercise trainers). It hasn't been much of a surprise to find out that most people thought that all Personal Trainers were the same, as in had the same level of education and are all qualified to perform the same duties and roles.
Because of this, I thought I would put together a little table to show what the different levels are and what each one is qualified to do.
The Difference Between Exercise Professionals
|Level of education||Course duration||Qualifications||Scope of Practice (what they're allowed to do)|
|Certificate III in Fitness||3-12 months||Group Classes, Instructor||Instruct group classes, Oversee people in gyms for safety.|
|Certificate IV in Fitness||6-12 months||Cert III + Personal Trainer||Train people 1on1, Write individual programs for specific results, Train Low-Risk People|
|Diploma in Fitness||6-12 months||Cert III and IV, + Specialised Exercise Trainer||Train people 1on1, Write individual programs for specific results, Train High-Risk People|
|Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Sport Science)||3 years||Specialised Exercise Trainer||Train people 1on1, Write individual programs for specific results, Train High-Risk People|
|Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise Physiology)||4 years||Exercise Physiologist||Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) specialise in clinical exercise interventions for persons at high risk of developing, or with existing, chronic and complex medical conditions and injuries.|
You may be thinking, what does this table mean? Well, it’s designed to show you that in the fitness industry there can be a big difference between the type of professional that is either currently training you, or the kind of professional trainer you might be looking for depending on your needs and what you could be expecting from them.
Certificate III Trainers (Instructors) are only qualified to instruct different types of classes in a safe manner, such as boot camps and gym classes. They are not taught how to write specific programs for individuals.
Certificate Trainers (Personal Trainers) are qualified to perform all previous tasks, they are also taught how to write specific programs for “low-risk” (have no risk of injury or health-related conditions) people who might have a particular goal in mind. These are what generally called Personal Trainers.
Diploma Trainers (Specialised Exercise Trainer) are qualified to perform all previous tasks and more importantly, taught how to write specific programs and oversee the training of people in a “high-risk” (may be suffering from some high-risk injuries and or health-related conditions) who might have a specific goal in mind.
Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Sport Science) these trainers got their qualifications from a university. I couldn’t exactly find out the specific difference between them and Diploma Trainers, but they are highly qualified to perform all the tasks from the other trainers.
Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise Physiology) these trainers are known as Exercise Physiologist’s and as far as I know, are at the top of the exercise food chain. They are the only professionals that can get accredited and as such, are eligible to register with Medicare Australia, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Work Cover, they are also recognised by most private health insurers. They can perform all tasks from the previous trainers and much more. They can also deliver high-level specific tests in regards to exercise. That is as much as I could find out.
What I have just covered is only the necessary formal education level of the different qualifications. You will find that many exercise trainers have kept their education growing and are learning new things in specific areas of exercise and health.
You might be able to find trainers that have dedicated their ongoing education and training to more specialised areas that would be beneficial to your specific needs.
Pre and Post Natal
Or you can find more sports specific, like:
Track and Field
So if you’re unsure the level of your trainer or have a particular need to be addressed, it might be in your best interest to find out if the trainer you have in mind has the legal qualifications to do so. Otherwise, you might be wasting your time, paying too much money, or possibly endangering yourself with an under-qualified trainer.
I hope this has helped because I do think it is important to know the difference.
If I have missed something or got some information mixed up, please feel free to comment below.