AFAA wasn’t my first fitness certification. It was a “newcomer on the block” to England back in the mid 90’s when I was entering my fitness career. I wanted to get my AFAA as it was the only Personal Trainer certification in our area at the time. Back then certifications were few and far between, unlike now where everyone and their mother are holding PT certs! Anyway I decided on AFAA and attended the one day workshop to attain my group exercise instructor certification. Then 3 months later took my personal trainer cert at the 3 day workshop.
AFAA is shorthand for the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. The company has been around since 1983 and since then has issued over 250,000 certifications to fitness professionals from 73 countries worldwide. AFAA is the world’s largest fitness and TeleFitness® educator, and each year, health clubs and studios host over 2,500 educational workshops nationwide.
10 Reasons I love AFAA
- Practical and Theory – not everyone is cut out for group fitness. The practical component of the testing gives examiners a chance to see you “in action” as you would be leading a class. I remember in my first certification a great gal who was in our class that could NOT keep to a 32 count beat. She had NO timing whatsoever, and couldn’t “feel” the music. That’s not to say all is lost, Chalene Johnson has admitted that she was one of those people (look at her now!), but these are points you’ll have to work on in order to pass your certification and become a great instructor. Conversely you maybe do terrible in theory but excel in practical. Both components are required to pass.
- Practical element to the exam – AFAA is the only fitness exam with a practical element to it. For me this puts it head and shoulders above the ACE cert and other similar certs.
- Variety of certifications – from Group fitness, kickboxing, step, and personal training.
- Specialty certifications – one thing I LOVE about AFAA are the specialty workshops they hold. Each niche of fitness is covered, including group cycling classes, yoga, pilates, core training, aqua and so much more. Once you have your group certification and then take a specialty workshop you are certified in that format. The anatomy and physiology remains the same after, just the specificity of the class format changes.
- Ease of recertification – 15 CEU credits are required every two years. I’ve never had an issue gaining those CEU’s. 2 are given for CPR/AED so really the requirement is 13. Honestly I usually end up with double that. If you are smart about your education you can pick up enough CEU’s for your recertification for under $100 a year!
- Price – hands down the best certification to get because of the APEX weekends. Twice a year AFAA holds special weekend events nationwide which you can attend for $99 a day. This means you can get your group ex, kickboxing, step certifications for $99 each! Or Personal training for $99 a day (x 3 days). Or maybe attend a specialty workshop for $99 to gain knowledge and CEU’s.
- Nationwide & worldwide – available and recognized practically everywhere. Heck I took my first AFAA certs in England, UK! Now they are everywhere!
- Education – AFAA has revamped their certifications, continues to hold workshops, and has a great online education program which honestly having used this a couple of times now (for my yoga specialty certification) I can honestly say it is easy to use, and provides all the info you need for your CEU’s.
- Reinstatement – If like me you let your certifications lapse whilst you take a break from the fitness world. Rather than retaking ALL your certifications again (for me that would be a cost of $1000) they offer a reinstatement exam for $249 which was well worth the cost for my (then) three certifications with AFAA. I passed the exam and got my certificates reinstated.
- CEU’s – I mentioned that the CEU’s are easily available well it seems almost every opts to apply for AFAA CEU’s so lots of other certifications you may go on to study for will count as AFAA CEU’s, along with conventions attended etc. IMO they are the most recognized certification for group fitness.
AFAA Group Exercise, AFAA Step Instructor, AFAA Kickboxing Instructor, AFAA Personal Trainer
PS. It goes without saying that in order to work in fitness, you need to LOVE fitness. Class participants can always tell when instructors don’t enjoy their jobs. Trust me, you don’t want to be “that” instructor that everyone complains about!