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Question
Posted by: Tarryn | 2009-07-08

ISSA personal trainer certificate

Hi Ross
Please can you offer me some advice regarding a personal training course. You' re in the industry so perhaps you will have a clearer understading. I am keen to do a personal training certificate and have come across ISSA online, based in the States whereby I could complete the certification for personal training. My question is  are they recognised here in SA. ie. would I be able to become a personal trainer by having a certificate with ISSA on it? The fees are very reasonable and everything' s done online, which suits me perfectly. Please advise.
Thank you.
Tarryn

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Our expert says:
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Hi Tarryn

I've not heard of that certificate. I know that there are currently moves to try to regulate the industry a little more - there is a Fitness Convention in Joburg in August where a lot of the new rules and legislation will be discussed. That may see this kind of certification shift from recognized to unrecognized.

So I can't answer the question directly, because it seems to be a moving target at the moment! My advice, though, is to ask what you intend to achieve with it afterwards. Most of our gyms, particularly the big 2, are selecting personal trainers out of the local institutions, like ETA, and so if your ambition is to grab a job with a big chain, then I guess you need to find out from them whether they would recognize your application with this qualification. If your objective is to train clients one on one, or just to educate yourself and do this more as "hobby", then it's different, and the only thing that matters is that you are happy with the content and quality.

On the whole, I think the industry is moving in a direction that will see these kinds of qualifications 'side-lined' more and more. That's not to say it won't be recognized, but just that it won't carry the same weight as a qualification from within. As the market and industry gets tightened and more competitive, the smaller players (and this is a smaller player in the SA context) will carry less and less weight. I think the best is to get hold of a Virgin Active (or another practice or facility, depending where you see yourself in two years), and ask them for their impression of the course.

Good luck

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