UPDATE: serious weight training and all sports coaching is no longer covered by the insurance of fitness professionals with Fitness Australia! Read the update here...
Fitness Australia (FA) would have Personal Trainers believe they require registration to work in the Fitness Industry. They do NOT!
FA imply that insurance is unavailable to unregistered trainers and that CEC points are necessary to maintain certification; both also absolutely untrue!
Most people believe FA is a Government (or quasi-Government) regulatory body. They are nothing of the sort!
FA is a private organisation* (ie a Public Company) run for its own benefit. It has no regulatory power other than as a lobby group. As with any private organisation, being ‘registered’ with them has no meaning to anyone other than themselves. It certainly has absolutely no relevance to insurers or the law. In fact, you could sue any employer who refuses employment on the basis of non-registration with FA!
If you want to work as a Personal Trainer then the critical requirement for yourself and/or any employer is: Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance! Even certification is all but irrelevant because when you get sued you will probably be bankrupted by the legal fees before you even mention your qualifications! I cannot overstate how absolutely essential insurance is to professional services work these days!
Insurance for Personal Training is laughably easy to get without FA registration. (UPDATE: insurance for Fitness Professionals no longer covers bodybuilding style intense weight training or sports coaching at all. Read more here…) In fact, you don’t even need Cert 4 in Fitness! And you absolutely do not need to keep paying for worthless CEC point courses to maintain your insurability. Insurers care even less than you do about kettle bells for old people.
In fact, if you never do Cert 4 you can still get insured for training people. In terms of qualifications for insurance, the Level 1 Strength Coach certificate from ASCA teaches far more relevant and practical content, dispenses with all of the superfluous and irrelevant rubbish in Cert 4 and costs over 90% less! Go to www.sportecoach.com.au to do the theory component online!
In 2003 when I opened the Biologic Labs training facility, I was easily able to get insurance that covered all staff. Neither myself nor Biologic Labs was (or is) registered with FA. And the only certification I could offer was my VicFit certificate from a decade earlier! Nobody had Cert 4. But I was still able to get insurance easily!
Biologic Labs Coaches are now Certified ASCA Strength Coaches plus ISSN and Recomp Certified. Still nobody has FA registration because its utterly irrelevant, unnecessary and even embarrassing! Also, insurance through FA wouldn’t cover Biologic Labs for dietary services like Recomp does!
Why I am I ripping on FA? Because good people are being misled. FA claim to exist to represent the Fitness Industry and raise standards. But the standards of practice in the Fitness Industry are a public disgrace! Even more aggravating for me is that Fitness continues to be grossly misrepresented as being about body recomposition instead of the low-level physical mediocrity it really is.
Good PT’s are being professionally undermined by the thousands (literally) of qualified but incompetent PT’s being spewed out by RTO’s every month. The good PT’s feel they have no alternatives. They believe FA is a necessary evil when it is NOT! No PT needs to be registered with FA and you do not need a Cert 4 in Fitness to work as a PT or get insurance.
NOTE 1: Numerous insurers are happy to cover Personal Training. Most will renege on the policy if you are sued for coaching clients with heavy weights. Only the Recomp Insurance policy covers serious bodybuilding style training with the general public and athletes.
Note 2: Employers are well within their rights to require Cert 4 in Fitness for employment with them. Only REGISTRATION is irrelevant.
This article (and Recomp generally) is aimed experienced trainers who have better opportunity to discuss terms with gyms and employers. For you, Insurance should be the relevant focus of working in any establishment and insurance does not require either FA or Cert 4. In fact, insurance through Recomp is vastly superior in every way.
*FA is a not-for-profit, Public Company, limited by guarantee.