Should Personal Trainers and Coaches Be Licensed by The State? Should Personal Trainers and Coaches Be Licensed by The State?

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Thread: Should Personal Trainers and Coaches Be Licensed by The State?

  1. #1
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    Default Should Personal Trainers and Coaches Be Licensed by The State?

    • starting strength seminar august 2021
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    by Mark Rippetoe

    What is the difference between me and the kid at Gold’s with a BA in some version of Physical Education and a piece of paper from the National Strength and Conditioning Association? Besides the 40 years experience, the books, the journal publications, the number of athletes and clients we’ve trained, the seminars I’ve conducted, and the organization of coaching professionals my company has educated, developed, and maintained? In the event the State of Texas passes a law requiring that exercise prescription be administered by a “Licensed Professional,” he can be licensed and I cannot.

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    As an aside to Rip's larger point about state intervention, all this would impact is how SS advertises itself (to a marginal degree). As I see it, a very good argument can be made that what's really being done is the coaching of a competitive sport (weightlifting, powerlifting, what have you). How trainees choose to use the knowledge, i.e. whether they ever compete, is up to them. However, I highly doubt that a state would enact such a measure in such a way that every single little league coach had to have a special degree.

  3. #3
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    Yes great article, and so true.

    "The primary concern of the accrediting body is your office procedures – at no point in the process are the accreditors concerned with the quality, the accuracy, or the veracity of the actual material you teach."

    In my previous life I would prepare our team for ISO 9000 audits and remind them to consider any request or questions from an auditor as a legal inquiry or deposition. They are not there to help you, they are not there to make us better, they are there to nit-pick holes process oriented BS. So give them exactly what they ask for nothing less and nothing more. A firm could easily design life jackets made out of cement and as long as all the process documentation was in place “the company” would be certified yet the products would kill the end users. Audits do not certify results in any fashion what so ever.

  4. #4
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    Good, lucid article. States are capable of most anything. Is there a specific drive to legislate accreditation or licensing? If so, what states are the key proponents? If so, what organization(s) is greasing what politician's palm?

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    State occupational licensing has become a fucking outrage.

    "Today nearly one-quarter of all U.S. workers need a government license to do their jobs. The prevalence of occupational licensing has risen from less than 5 percent in the early 1950s with the majority of the growth coming from an increase in the number of professions that require a license rather than composition in the workforce." FACT SHEET: New Steps to Reduce Unnecessary Occupation Licenses that are Limiting Worker Mobility and Reducing Wages | whitehouse.gov

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyP View Post
    As an aside to Rip's larger point about state intervention, all this would impact is how SS advertises itself (to a marginal degree). As I see it, a very good argument can be made that what's really being done is the coaching of a competitive sport (weightlifting, powerlifting, what have you). How trainees choose to use the knowledge, i.e. whether they ever compete, is up to them. However, I highly doubt that a state would enact such a measure in such a way that every single little league coach had to have a special degree.
    In Canada we have 'Health Spending Accounts' and 'Medical Spending Accounts' as common perks through work. This sort of legislation may limit the ability to use these sources of insurance on a SS coach. I don't know how common these sorts of things are in the states.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NCKen View Post
    Good, lucid article. States are capable of most anything. Is there a specific drive to legislate accreditation or licensing? If so, what states are the key proponents? If so, what organization(s) is greasing what politician's palm?
    The effort is driven by the certifying agencies who are trying to codify their bullshit certifications into law to drive business. A few states try it every year. Keep track of NC for us.

  8. #8
    Brodie Butland is offline Starting Strength Coach
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyP View Post
    As an aside to Rip's larger point about state intervention, all this would impact is how SS advertises itself (to a marginal degree). As I see it, a very good argument can be made that what's really being done is the coaching of a competitive sport (weightlifting, powerlifting, what have you). How trainees choose to use the knowledge, i.e. whether they ever compete, is up to them. However, I highly doubt that a state would enact such a measure in such a way that every single little league coach had to have a special degree.
    Oh no, it'll go a lot further than just screwing up our advertising--it will make it impossible for our coaches to do any personal training in states with licensure requirements, unless they have one of the approved certifications. We know this because we've actually seen the state law proposals over the last decade.

    http://startingstrength.com/contentf...re_butland.pdf

    Here's the DC law's definition of a personal trainer (which is pretty close to the definitions in other states), which actually passed in 2013 but after substantial efforts by Crossfit, us, and a few others, was mercifully repealed last year:

    a person who develops and implements an individualized approach to exercise, including personal training and instruction in physical fitness and conditioning for an individual and a person who performs similar physical fitness training regardless of the designation used.
    Even if someone is preparing for a competition, their trainer is "develop[ing] and implement[ing] an individualized approach to exercise, including . . . instruction in physical fitness and conditioning for an individual."

    And even if you could develop a clever syllogism to explain why this law shouldn't apply to coaching for competition, how likely do you think it is that the state agency charged with enforcing the regulations will accept that argument? And how many people do you think are willing to bet a criminal record on it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brodie Butland View Post
    Oh no, it'll go a lot further than just screwing up our advertising--it will make it impossible for our coaches to do any personal training in states with licensure requirements, unless they have one of the approved certifications. We know this because we've actually seen the state law proposals over the last decade.

    http://startingstrength.com/contentf...re_butland.pdf

    Here's the DC law's definition of a personal trainer (which is pretty close to the definitions in other states), which actually passed in 2013 but after substantial efforts by Crossfit, us, and a few others, was mercifully repealed last year:



    Even if someone is preparing for a competition, their trainer is "develop[ing] and implement[ing] an individualized approach to exercise, including . . . instruction in physical fitness and conditioning for an individual."

    And even if you could develop a clever syllogism to explain why this law shouldn't apply to coaching for competition, how likely do you think it is that the state agency charged with enforcing the regulations will accept that argument? And how many people do you think are willing to bet a criminal record on it?
    You're right, that's quite broad. How are coaches for other individual sports (golf, tennis, figure skating) impacted by something like this? Is there an exemption for those who've been deemed "professionals" by an established athletic association (such as golf and tennis teaching pros)?

    I suppose there is some argument that a SS coach taking someone through the mechanics of the basic BB lifts and their first LP doesn't entirely fall into this category, since it isn't particularly "individualized" and is a standard group of lifts, programmed in a specific way. Or the seminars, since it's group instruction

    But I seem to recall it is you, not I, that is a practicing attorney, so I defer to your interpretations.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Do you mean the State that runs the motor vehicle department and the Veterans Administration hospitals, ensures Social Security is solvent and conducts US foreign policy?

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