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Do I Need to Get Certified in Fitness? Which one?

Do I need to get certified in fitness?

The first quick answer is “NO”.

The second, ‘business smart’ answer is “YES’.

Let me explain:
No, you do not legally need to be ‘certified’ to train people in fitness.  You have a license as a professional nurse to care for people.  Exercise is definitely showing and demonstrating care.  You may be a fitness enthusiast and have read over 1,000 books and articles on the subject of fitness and exercise and health.  I say, “Bravo!”  If you are comfortable with your knowledge base (are even an avid exerciser yourself) and feel you don’t need any more initials behind your name, you can do it without certification.  Here comes the big ‘but’ (pun intended)…

The business smart, for the long term success answer is “Yes”.  Because if you want to be taken seriously by the health & fitness field, by your educated consumer for the long haul, as a serious business owner and entrepeneur in the health & fitness industry, you should get the minimum standard recognized by that industry.
That recognization is a fitness certification. 

Here’s the great news! 
The fitness industry is not uniform in which certification that you must have.  Unlike nursing, medicine, law, accounting, physical therapy where we (everybody that wants a license to practice in that particular state) have to pass a state board exam; fitness professionals can get certified over the internet, in weekend certification courses to college degrees.  There is talk of changing this.  But until they do, I encourage all nurses interested in Fitness Nursing to get certified the quickest way possible without compromising quality and integrity at the most reasonable cost.
Fitness recommends NESTA. Their link is to the right on our blog roll. 
Now, if you want to sit in a classroom setting for a weekend and do a gym practicum, Fitness Nursing recommends 
We realize the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) and ACE (American Council on Exercise) are big hitters in the industry and are also great places to get certified.  Remember, you are already a nurse, so a lot of the anatomy & physiology will be repeated…but the exercise physiology and kinesiology, and guidelines of the ACSM are critical for you to learn.  (All fitness certification programs follow the ACSM guidelines).  We like NESTA because they offer quality fitness AND coaching programs via the internet at a reasonable price from the comforts of your home.  ISSA also offers an online fitness certification.
AFAA has a ‘practical component’ to their certification workshops (Personal Fitness Trainer) in a traditional classroom setting.

Which Certification Course?
Well, that depends on what you like.  You don’t have to get certified as a Personal Fitness Trainer, (described above).  You could become certified in an exercise specialty group for breast cancer survivors, seniors, arthritis, etc.  You can get certified in group fitness or in Yoga or Pilates.  You can also get certified in strength training and stretching/flexibility.  These courses vary in length and what you need to maintain them.  Remember you are a nurse first and this is what identifies our own specialty with the health & fitness industry AND the healthcare industry.

COMING SOON in 2010…Certified Fitness Nursing Course! 
Prerequisites will be a licensed RN or LPN and a certification in fitness. 

Once you get certified (or even if you don’t) and you need a few more tips in what to do…make sure you go to (if you haven’t already) and get your free report on the “5 Steps to get Started making Money in Fitness Nursing”.

How many of you are already certified in fitness?  Are you thinking about it?

Lori, Fitness Nurse, Certified Food Psychology Coach for Bio-circadian Nutrition


About fitnessnurse

President & Founder, and Creator of Certified Fitness Nurse Academy, Paleo Fitness Nurse

3 responses »

  1. This is fantastic information! I have to agree with you Lori, because for most of the specialty areas of nursing there is a certification or national certification that can be taken and that cerfitication signals that you “KNOW” your specialty. Fitness Nursing is definitely a specialty! I will support, and will consider the certification for myself too.



  2. I am so excited to see this website. I am in Canada and am TOTALLY interested in going in this direction of nursing. I am a registered practical nurse, and would like to interact with the public in a different way, and this is it!

    Very exciting!

  3. I am also Canadian and also EXTREMELY excited about this new and coming area in health care! I have a degree in Kinesiology, and have also recently graduated with a degree in Nursing. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to combine this education to make a difference in the health of our population. Are there any movements being made in Canada regarding this specialty?


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