Dinner is served – Multiple ways of becoming a Personal Trainer

There is a variety of new courses for training of Personal Trainers. Individually designed physical activity, fitness training and nutritional coaching can be provided by a Personal Trainer (PT) even without any qualifications. The professional title is not protected. There is an increasing need for quality control, writes Sara Koskinen in Finnish Liikunta & Tiede Magazine.

In Finland there are 25 training bodies for Personal trainers. The figure includes sports training centers, private training companies, massage schools, folk high schools, evangelical schools and Polytechnic Institutes.

Sports colleges have a common line for PT training as part of their major Study programs. The PT studies within these colleges are assigned by the Board of education to meet the quality demands of the original degree programs and occupational standards. Thus the PT studies are an elementary part of the final examination.

Training for Swedish speakers will be provided by the Solvalla and Norvalla sports institutes under the umbrella of Folkhälsan Utbildning AB. Folkhälsan, however, arranges Swedish PT training also as an independent package in addition to a larger educational program.

Companies that offer PT training in Finland are many: FAF, Trainer4You, Trainer in the Lab, PT Coaching Academy (PTCA), Fitfarm, Tsempparit and the International Kettlebell and Strength Training Academy. These companies emphasize that the PT training is only a part of a broader educational pipeline. These training tubes are geared specifically to people with no previous background in sports training with the aim to building a base of knowledge in the health-and-fitness exercise areas prior to the commencement of the actual PT training.

Other educational institutions providing PT training consist of massage schools, folk high schools and evangelical institutions. E.g. the massage school of Pirkanmaa and Carl Wilhelm Academy, provide training in the context of the examination of professional competence of the masseurs and sports masseurs. In some Evangelical institutes the PT training has been carried out as a separate entity or as a part of studies in sports and health sciences. In addition, Kajaani University of applied sciences offers a bachelor degree for physical education instructors including the opportunity to choose PT studies to deepen the teaching module.

Comparability of the variable PT training modules is impossible while the training providers have their individual means of announcing their training contents and accurate educational plans are rarely available. This is mostly due to the fact that educational curricula are not collectively designed, and the providers are severely competing between each other with a need for data protection.  

Education need clarity, and a common ground

 In 2013 about 1.250 new PTs completed their studies. Statistics on graduates in the past do not exist, but the number of new PT diplomas is following an increasing trend year after year.

 New forms of training and practice as a result of PT activity is no longer affiliated with the development of new fitness halls or physical performance of man, but merely the focus of PT has changed into more holistic coaching of well-being. PT services are diversifying, together with the growing interest of consumers with open jobs for new actors.

The joint aspiration of PT training providers is to educate qualified professionals in the sector. However, the essential question is, what type of training is sufficient and high-quality enough to serve the clients with physical exercise, nutrition, rehabilitation, and training programs at the same time in various sports, business and human relations experts of all ages and fitness levels?

An elementary question whether the occupational PT training should take 4 weekends or 4 months or even 4 years, remains unanswered? Without a common quality control system and educational criteria the heterogeneous training will continue …  

 … The original article in Finnish … http://www.lts.fi/sites/default/files/article_attachment/s.koskinen_ptselvitys_2014.pdf