The Fitness Zone
Once you complete your course at the AIF and begin your fitness career, you may hear the acronym ‘CECs’ floating around, referring to continuing education credits. Here’s why this is an important part of your ongoing career.
Remaining registered as a fitness professional
Once you’ve become a qualified fitness professional, achieving your Cert 3 or Cert 4 in Fitness, you’ll find that you hear people talking about industry registration.
You might intend to run your own studio or training business in the future, but many new trainers will start out by working for a gym or contracting to a studio. Most operators of such facilities will require you to be registered with a fitness industry registration body, because registration helps to maintain high industry standards. How? It does this by requiring proof of ongoing education.
Registration bodies and CECs/PDPs
There are two main registration bodies for fitness professionals in Australia. These are Fitness Australia with whom you will be an AusREP, and Physical Activity Australia. To maintain a current registration with these associations, members need to show that they are still learning and staying up-to-date with the latest information relevant to the fitness industry and training clients.
You can do this by completing 20 Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for Fitness Australia, or 6 Professional Development Points (PDPs) for Physical Activity Australia. Your registration will last for 2 years, after which you will need to renew your registration by proving your next round of ongoing education.
Learning valuable skills
In addition to enabling your ongoing registration with the industry bodies, continuing education and professional development can advance your career by improving your existing skills and helping you develop completely new ones. By adding corrective exercise, female-specific training, boxing for fitness routines, CrankIt or kettlebell exercises to your sessions, for example, you will have the potential to expand your business and client base.
How do you earn CECs?
CECs or PDPs can be gained through a variety of sources, including:
Online courses through Australian Fitness Network (details below)
Boxing courses, e.g. Australian Combat & Exercise
Seminars e.g. SmartShape
Conferences e.g. FILEX
Generally a full day workshop will gain you 7 CECs or 2-3 PDPs. There are hundreds of recognised course providers throughout Australia, many of which can be found under the ‘Find CECs’ tab on the Fitness Australia website, or the resources tab on the Physical Activity Australia site.
Online CEC courses
Becoming a member with ongoing education provider Australian Fitness Network, which has been an industry supplier since 1987, is a convenient way of earning the CECs you require for registration. Membership includes access to 8 CECs (or equivalent PDPs) annually, or 16 in each 2-year period - making it a cost-effective way of earning most of the 20 points required by Fitness Australia. Membership also provides discounted rates on its large range of 60+ other online CEC courses, so finding a course to earn the remaining few CECs isn’t a problem.
It’s good practice to keep records of all courses you complete. For many courses, particularly online ones, this will be in the form of certificates of completion, issued automatically by the course provider upon completion. You can also keep a record by academic transcript, code, receipt or statutory declaration. Failure to obtain the required CECs or PDPs can lead to a personal trainer’s industry registration being suspended or even cancelled. This can negatively impact their employment status and, in some instances, may even require them to complete their fitness certification all over again.
Remember, continuing education and professional development help advance your career, expanding your business and clientele base, so always look on it as a positive thing.