Being in group settings when it comes to exercising can be a motivating experience for some people. With group fitness certification you can lead a group of people in specific exercise routines that help them get into shape, be social, and have fun.
In some people’s minds, they don’t want to be the weakest member of a group, so individuals work harder in a group as opposed to exercising alone. As a group trainer, you can learn how to teach different movements from multiple angles to groups of people.
Group fitness instructors can teach multiple types of classes, like strength training, yoga, mind and body, Zumba, and more. If you are considering teaching fitness, here’s how to become a certified group fitness instructor.
1. Get Your Group Instructor Prerequisites
To sit for a group fitness instructor exam, many certification bodies require candidates to be at least 18 years old. You may also need to possess a government-issued photo ID, be CPR/AED certified and have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
One of the most popular places is through an international humanitarian organization, such as the Red Cross Society. Just visit the organization’s website to find a Red Cross CPR/AED class near you.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to have all the mentioned prerequisites in place when starting your group fitness studies. You mostly will be asked to produce them when sitting for the exam.
2. Choose a Group Fitness Certification Program
There are numerous fitness classes available. To be sure you really like a group fitness certification, it’s a good idea to try out different programs to be sure you choose the one that interests you the most.
There are several factors that may make a group fitness certification the best fit for you. First, you choose an NCCA-accredited program. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) is considered the baseline in the health and fitness industry, and something the best clients have come to expect.
Other factors you may want to consider include length of the program, cost, prestige of the brand, and continuing Education Units (CEUs) requirements. You also need to consider the setting you want to work in (specialty studio, medical fitness facility, a health and fitness club, etc.) and where.
As mentioned, you want to try out several classes before deciding on the most appealing. So, take into account what your instructors teach in these classes and ask yourself if you could replicate that.
Try several different classes like dance fitness, bodyweight training, aquatic, strength training, and mind-body. Also, attend classes where instructors use a variety of different types of equipment.
Notice the things your instructor does and says in the class, particularly pay attention to what you like and dislike about the instructor. Notice the techniques that work well and those that don’t and have an idea of how you could use the ones that work well.
3. Enroll in a Group Fitness Instructor Certification Program
Most employers require group fitness instructor applicants to have a certification. There are several different organizations that certify fitness instructors, depending on what you want to teach.
Remember, for some types of exercises, you’ll need specific certifications before you can teach. Such certifications are only needed when teaching specific forms of workouts, or for a particular type of business. For example, to become a CrossFit coach, you’ll need to be CrossFit Level 1 certified.
For other forms of group fitness classes, you’ll want to enroll in a certification program that’s recognized by a governing body. The easiest way to register for certification is through an organization’s website.
Different countries have different group fitness certification requirements. In the United States, for example, there are 5 organizations that certify instructors─ each with different benefits and downsides.
The 5 group fitness certification options you may want to choose from include:
- Group fitness certification from the National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)
- Group fitness certification from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of American (AFAA)
- The American Council on Exercise (ACE) group fitness instructor certification
- Certification from the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA)
- Certification from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
Note that each organization provides different offers, so you may want to look into a certification program’s exam fee and study material costs before pursuing it.
If you want to teach yoga, Pilates, or indoor cycling, you can enroll in a group fitness class near you. This means, your local gym or studio could be offering this type of certification. Remember, if you’re interested in teaching Pilates or yoga, your training will require a certain number of hours, requiring more commitment than other types of fitness.
Sometimes, all you want is a general certification that you can supplement by follow-up training from a particular gym or studio. In that case, you should consider looking into the AFAA, Group Instructor programs from ACE, or accredited by the NCCA. These forms of certifications need a set amount of CEUs regularly so that your knowledge and skills remain up-to-date.
4. Pass Your Exam and Become a Group Fitness Instructor
And yes, it starts by registering for your exam. Once you’ve studied so hard and participated in training sessions, you should be ready to sit for the exam. Some of the best fitness certification organizations like NETA provide several options for candidates.
For example, you can register to take the exam in any over 500 testing centers in the United States. After successfully passing your certification exam, you’ll be a certified group fitness instructor. Most organizations give certified group fitness instructors wallet ID cards to verify their credentials to potential employers or clients.
Become a Certified Group Fitness Trainer Today!
Group fitness certification will allow you to be an instructor anywhere you want to teach. Plus, as you can see, getting your certification isn’t difficult, but it takes a lot of practice and study.
Want to learn more about getting involved in group fitness training? Sign up for our free trial today.