man working out at a rowing machine with trainer

Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2017

Thompson, Walter R. Ph.D., FACSM

Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals.

This is a trend that continues now that there are third-party accreditations offered by national accrediting organizations for health and fitness and clinical exercise program professionals and a registry designed for exercise professionals.

There continues to be sustained growth of educational programs at community colleges and colleges and universities that have become accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP, www.caahep.org) through the Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences (www.coaes.org) and more certification programs independently accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA, www.credentialingexcellence.org/NCCA), the newly announced accreditation offered by the American National Standards Institute.

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted and recently affirmed that "Employment of fitness trainers and instructors is projected to grow 8% from 2014 to 2024” (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htm; cited July 17, 2016). As the economy continues to grow and as the market for fitness professionals becomes even more crowded and more competitive, interest in some degree of regulation either from within the industry or from external sources (i.e., government) seems to be expanding.

In 2007, CAAHEP added a Personal Fitness Trainer accreditation for certificate (1 year) and associate (2 year) degree programs. The accreditation for the academic training of the Personal Fitness Trainer joined academic program accreditation for Exercise Science (baccalaureate), and Exercise Physiology (graduate programs in either applied exercise physiology or clinical exercise physiology). Recently, the not-for-profit Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals (CREP) was created by organizations that offer NCCA-accredited exercise certifications. CREP maintains the United States Registry of Exercise Professionals, which is recognized by the International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals.

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