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Health and Fitness Industry Licensure and Certification

When entering a particular career field, researching the requirements and the legal framework that regulate the area of interest is essential for successful studying and hiring process. Regarding personal training, laws associated with the sphere differ between states. As it concerns the state of Kentucky, Werner (2017) claims that there is no particular legal requirement to hold a certification or licensure to become a personal trainer. However, most employers, such as gyms and fitness centers, require applicants and future employees to fit a particular list of criteria. Firstly, the fitness trainer has to be a high school graduate or have a General Equivalency Diploma (Werner, 2017). Additionally, a degree in the field of physical education, nutrition, and other related fields is preferred by many employers. As it concerns the certifications, the vast majority of fitness facilities require their workers to have a certificate proving their proficiency from a nationally approved institution. Furthermore, that certification must be renewed every two years to prove competency over long periods and ensure the professionalism of trainers.

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Certification that many sports institutions require has to educate and prepare a person for a professional training career and possible work-related crises. The studying process to receive the needed certification includes gaining a set of skills and necessary athletic knowledge, as well as additional mandatory certification in current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and an automated external defibrillator (AED) (Werner, 2017). The competency in both areas enables personal trainers to assist their clients in case of cardiac arrest with a defibrillator device or by performing CPR to restore one’s breathing and blood pressure. It is important to note that athletic trainers, as opposed to personal trainers, are obliged to receive and renew licensure every three years to practice “preventing, recognizing, evaluating, managing, treating, reconditioning, or rehabilitating athletic injuries” (Kleinhenz, 2020, para. 6). Furthermore, one has to receive additional training from an accredited university or a “nationally recognized organization that is a part of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) every two years” (Werner, 2017, p. 2). Fulfilling all the criteria listed above is essential but not mandatory for a person to become a personal trainer in the state of Kentucky.

As it concerns other health and fitness industry professions like massage therapists, yoga instructors, nutritionists, dietitians, wellness coaches, acupuncturists, chiropractic examiners, and others, various legal practices apply. Generally, occupations like wellness coaches and yoga instructors who do not directly influence clients’ health but provide professional guidance do not need a legal licensure to perform the job duties (Werner, 2017). However, nutritionists and dieticians in Kentucky are obliged to acquire a license from the Medical Board and renew it periodically for maintaining an adequate level of education to help rather than harm the patients (Department of Professional Licensing, 2020). The same is true for massage therapists, chiropractic examiners, acupuncturists, and other health professionals who directly manipulate customers’ bodies and have the potential to harm them out of lack of training. Additionally, acupuncturists should complete examination and training of more than 1,100 hours administered by the National Commission for Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine to receive a Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure approval to work (Beahl, 2020). Apart from mandatory licensing, however, all the professionals listed above are encouraged by employers to complete additional courses and receive certifications to improve the quality of care.


Beahl, D. (2020). Acupuncture. Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure. Web.

Department of Professional Licensing. (2020). Licensure requirements: Dietitians & Nutritionists. Web.

Kleinhenz, T. (2020). Athletic Trainer. Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure. Web.

Werner, A. D. (2017). Personal training: Historically unregulated occupation with change on horizon. National Law Review, 7(31), 1-7. Web.

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