IFA Certification FAQs

Why should I get certified?
What steps do I need to do to get certified?
Why isn't there a practical test or a CPR requirement?
Is IFA recognized by all gyms?
Is this certification for Aerobics Instructor or Personal Trainer?
Are CEUs required for recertification?
What is required for recertification?
How long will it take to get my certification card?
Can I get a certificate also?
How can I pay for the certification?
How do I pay if I took the test a month ago?
How do I pay for my employees?
What if I fail the test?
How many times can I take the test?
Can you send me a copy of the book?
Don't I have to put my CI number on the Credit Card page?
I'm not comfortable with paying online. Can I phone it in?
Is IFA's certification valid in my country?
Is the book available in another language?
Do you offer liability insurance?
Why can't I get my credit card approved?
What can I do with this certification?
Can you detect test answer sharing?
Can I use the letters "PT" after my name once certified as a Personal Trainer?
Can I use the letters "CSN" after my name once certified as a Sports Nutritionist?
What is the minimum age for certification?
Where can I get an IFA logo for my business cards?
As a trainer, can I aerobically train or weight train children?
What is the rate for Independent Personal Trainers working at gyms?
What letters can I use after my name once I am certifed at the Advanced Level?
What is a "CI Number"?

Why should I get certified?

There are basically only two reasons to get a Fitness Instructor certification. One, if you plan to teach aerobics or plan to provide personal training expertise to clients, then you will need to be certified. Most insurance companies that provide liability insurance require you to be certified. If your certification lapses, your insurance may lapse as well.

But, what if I don't ever plan to teach or train clients? Then, it's not necessary to receive certification. However, being a certified Fitness Instructor provides you with a comprehensive training background which you will need to train yourself. It will also provide a level of commitment to yourself that does not necessarily exist when you just simply go to the gym for a workout. Being aware that you are a Fitness Instructor may provide you with the added incentive to strive for a healthier lifestyle, a more disciplined workout regimen and the satisfaction that comes from knowing your are maximizing your results and minimizing your efforts.

What steps do I need to do to get certified?

To certify, just follow these steps:

  1. Download the Fitness Manual and read it from the Download Manual Link on the left panel.
  2. Then when your ready, take the test from the Certification Exam Link on the left panel.
The test is automatically graded and the results are returned to you immediately. If you pass, you can pay for the certification from the PayHere link on the left. The Certification Card link also shows what your card will look like. The Get Certificate link is for paid instructors who would like to print out a personalized certificate suitable for framing directly from IFA's website to your printer.

Why isn't there a practical test or CPR requirement?

A one minute choreographed routine is not indicative of instructor ability. Employers know this, that's why they audition. Being certified doesn't mean you are ready to teach a class. It takes working with a senior instructor as an apprentice to become skilled at teaching. This is why we recommend working with another instructor if you are a new instructor. This is standard industry practice anyway. We are probably the only organization that readily admits that we only certify your academic credentials. Anything more is assuming too much. As with any certification, degree or diploma, the real learning process comes in teaching and working with an experienced instructor. The aerobics coordinator is responsible for hiring and is therefore in a position to determine if a person who has the academic credentials (certification) can also demonstrate the choreography, personality and outright teaching ability to be on the staff. These cannot be measured in a written test or in a one minute choreographic demo.

A CPR certification is required for most positions at a gym. We also don't require that certification for IFA certification. However, it should be required by the hiring authority who can properly monitor that certification. We also recommend taking the CPR for Health Providers course instead of the standard CPR course. It's is a little more comprehensive and should be for the position that you will be in.

Is IFA recognized by all gyms?

Most gyms have IFA on their accepted list. A recent article in Women's Sports and Fitness done by an undercover reporter with no prior experience went to various gyms in the Manhattan area. Her finding was that 80% of the gyms accepted IFA's certification to hire her. The group that did not were smaller or one location gyms. However, it's always good to call them first and check before you certify with anyone. Some gyms may have a preference list or accept only one organization. It is becoming rare, however, for this to be the case.

Is this certification for Aerobics Instructor or Certified Personal Trainer?

Both. Our course is designed to provide the basic knowledge that we feel an Aerobics Instructor and Certified Personal Trainer should have. Many Aerobics Instructors (Group Fitness Instructors) are asked very technical questions about fitness. That kind of knowledge places them in a category of Personal Trainers (Fitness Instructors); and, they should be expected to know more than music and counts of 8. In essence, an Aerobics Instructor, by our definition, should be all that a Certified Personal Trainer is and more. Unfortunately, in some cases aerobics is sometimes still considered where it's roots are based, i.e. dance. A Certified Personal Trainer should be knowledgable in all three areas of fitness, i.e., aerobics, weight training and nutrition with a general understanding of motivational psychology.

There are a few ambigous terms in the fitness industry. Some organizations interchange the titles Aerobics Instructor and Group Fitness Instructor. Some interchange Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor. We use the title Aerobics and Fitness Instructor but we also include the title of Personal Trainer to remove any ambiguity. Many people in the industry are unaware of the accepted terminology or have their own. The decisive factor is the insurance company. Our instructors work as both Personal Trainers and Aerobics Instructors and our certification is recognized by the insurance industry as both. Quite frankly, we prefer Fitness Instructor for both because they should be one certification. We've never heard of people coming up after class and asking questions about choreography but they do ask Personal Trainer questions.

Are CEUs required for recertification?

We don't require CEU's for recertification. You pay the same amount to recertify. You'd pay more on the CEU plan, however, we also don't feel that a single course every two years satisfies the educational growth requirements. The learning process should be self motivated and continuous. Educational sources are numerous, books, health magazines, the internet, ESPN, Discovery, The Learning Channel, and formal University courses or classes.

What is required for recertification?

The recertification process is the same every two years. You simply download the Fitness Manual, take the test on the website and pay the same certification fee on the website as well.

How long will it take to get my certification card?

It depends on where you live. Most North America locations take anywhere from 3 days to 5 days to arrive. We ship your card within 72 hours of payment. If you are overseas, most locations require an additional week to ten days. If you are in a country with known mail delivery problems, it can take longer. Contact us by email for special instructions if that is the case. You can print out a certificate from the website within 24 hours of payment using the Get Certificate link on the peft panel. Your employer or insurance company can also use the Verify Instructor link on the left panel to verify your certification prior to mail delivery. The most frequent reason for delay is missing apartment number.

Can I get a certificate also?

Yes. The basic payment option provides just the Certification Card by First Class mail. However, the option exists to receive a certificate with your card by First Class Mail. The option also exists to print out an interim certificate directly from the website once the certification fee is received. You can print your certificate by using the Get Certificate link on the left panel. Your employer or insurance company can also use the Verify Instructor link on the left panel to verify your certification. You can also see a sample card using the SampleCard link on the left panel.

How can I pay for the certification?

You can pay for your certification from the mainpage or at the PayHere link here or on the left panel. You can use a credit card or various other methods. If you have problems with the credit card see the Payment Problems link on the left panel or send us an email using the link at the bottom of this page.

How do I pay if I took the test a month ago?

You can pay using the PayHere link on the left panel. If your address or email is different from what you entered on the test, you can still pay first but let us know of the change by email.

How do I pay for my employees?

If you are paying for your employees, please let us know by email who you are paying for. Their CI number is helpful but not necessary. We will mail cards to the address entered on the test form or a central address that you specify in your email to us with their names. You can still pay by any of the methods available.

What if I fail the test?

If you fail the test, look over the results and note the areas that you were weak in. Read those section of the book again and retake the test. If you hit the back button on your browser, your original answers will still be marked. You can then resubmit the test for grading. We only keep the highest score. Once you close your browser the original information will no longer be available. You can log off while you read those sections of the manual necessary just don't close your browser. When you are ready, mark the answers as you choose and hit the submit button again. You will be reconnected to the website and the test will be graded again. If you lose the connected while you are taking the test, continue taking the test. When you are ready, hitting the submit button will reconnect you and grade the test. This is helpful if you want to take the test offline. If you do not get the correct answers returned to you in the results page, it is because your score was unusually low and our Test Wizard has determined that you do not need that kind of help.

How many times can I take the test?

Theoretically, there are no limitations. However, if you find yourself taking the test too many times you may be learning from test taking rather than learning from reading the manual in which case you are missing many important aspects of what a Fitness Instructor needs to know. If you do not get the correct answers returned to you in the results page, it is because your score was unusually low and our Test Wizard has determined that you do not need that kind of help. There is abuse protection in place.

Can you send me a copy of the book?

The IFA Fitness ABCs manual is available free by download here as well as from various shareware sites. You can also purchase a printed copy direct from our publisher Lulu, or from Amazon or Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

Don't I have to put my CI number on the Credit Card page?

You do not need to enter your CI Number. We will match name, email and/or zip code. If your address or email is different from what you entered on the test, you can still pay first but let us know of the change by email.

I'm not comfortable with paying online. Can I phone it in?

You also have the option of mailing in a check. Giving your credit card number over the phone is much less secure than the internet. We use the highest encryption available as do the banks. There is no encryption on your phone land line or cordless and very little on cellular. It's not the transmission of that information on the internet that is unsafe, it's who you are giving it too. Deal only with reputable vendors whether on the internet, phone or in person.

Is IFA's certification valid in my country?

We are currently in over 90 countries around the world. You should not have a problem but check with local requirements.

Is the book available in another language?

As often as the book changes, currently it would be logistically unsound to try to maintain concurrent language versions. Through the Go Network we are able to translate to various languages using an automated interpreter. Our appologies if the interpreter makes our manual read more like a comedy skit. We have had numerous independent translations. If you translate the book, we will offer it on the website for download.

Do you offer liability insurance?

For our US members, we work with K & K Insurance Group or call them at 800-648-6406 (US). We have contacted overseas agents to secure a resource for our overseas members. If you can recommend one in your country, we will post it. Chance are that we already have members there who would appreciate your help. Other insurance agents can be found on our Fitness Links page under Insurance.

Why can't I get my credit card approved?

If you have problems with the credit card see the Payment Problems link on the left panel. The most common reason for a declined card is using a different zipcode or address than the billing statement is sent to. In some cases, it's your bank that doesn't like internet transactions. If your computer location is in a different part of the country than the address on your statement, it will be disapproved. In that case, choose another payment method by clicking on the PayHere link here or on the left panel.

What can I do with this certification?

IFA's Aerobics Instructor and Personal Trainer certification is a combined certification that provides the academic qualifications needed to teach Step and Kickboxing Aerobics class and to provide Personal Trainer services. This certification does not cover water aerobics, spinning, slide or ball-type classes. This does not mean that you cannot develop and learn a class to teach one of these. That's up to your manager or gym representative. Water aerobics may be an exception and require a more in-depth study and certifcation. The most important element of a class is, of course, safety.

Can you detect test answer sharing?

Yes. Our software using the same AI concepts as the US Defense industry. If our multi-layer detection systems flag improprieties in the testing process we will take the appropriate action. This is also true if we detect improprieties in the hosting process. We have rejected tests on that basis in the past. No system is identity foolproof even a test that is proctored. However, if we are made aware of an impropriety in the testing process, that certification will be revoked without refund and you will be barred from future certification with IFA.

Can I use the letters "PT" after my name once certified as a Personal Trainer?

No. You are a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) which is different from a Physical Therapist (PT). The Physical Therapist is a licensed and degreed medical professional who rovides services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. A Trainer is a certified fitness professional who works with individuals to increase their fitness levels through personalized programs of exercise. Some Trainers confuse the two designations. Never assume the role of a Physical Therapist with your clients. Injuries and recoveries from injuries are the responsibility of the Physical Therapist. Trainers who perform the duties of a Physical Therapist do their clients and injustice and expose themselves to legal liabilities. A doctor may recommend either a CPT or a PT for a patient.

Can I use the letters "SN" after my name once certified as a Sports Nutritionist?

Yes, you may use the letters SN (Sports Nutritionist). You may not use Certified Nutritionist (CN) or Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN), which both require a degree and licensure. You also may not function as Registered Dietician who has both a degree and state license. You may counsel clients who are seeking to improve their sports performance through proper nutrition. You may not counsel clients who are in need of medical help for obesity or require special consideration due to illness or other pathology.

What is the minimum age for certification?

The minimum age to receive a certification card from IFA is 18. This is for insurance purposes. Those not yet 18 may still take the test and download the materials at no cost.

Where can I get an IFA logo for my business cards?

Click here for the IFA Logo. When the new window comes up with the graphic, right click on the image and save to your hard drive. You can now order business cards from Personal Trainer Business Cards

As a trainer, can I aerobically train or weight train children?

There should be no problem allowing children in the class when it is not too crowded and you can keep an eye on them. Age is not so much a criteria as coordination. Obviously, 5-year olds should not be expected to do Step. Children do not have the same coordination levels and sense of fatigue as adults. It's good to encourage children to appreciate fitness. If you want to conduct a specific class for children, just, take it down a notch or two from your regular class and keep a closer eye on them for fatigue. Provide extra water breaks. Keep the moves simpler than an adults class. But by all means, keep it fun for them and yourself.

Children should not weight train using weights that they cannot lift by themselves or over their heads for the full set/rep. Nor should they use weights that require a spotter. However, a spotter should always be used. Again, limitations are dictated by their coordination and strength. A Trainer should not expect the child to have the same rate of training as an adult. Studies are still inconclusive. Regardless of what the studies say, a child's bones are not yet hardened. Large weight bearing activites may cause abnormal bone and supportive tissue growth that may not manifest itself until years later.

Training the elderly or infirm requires special consideration and training.

What is the rate for Independent Personal Trainers working at gyms?

Negotiate with the gym. Smaller independent gyms are generally more negotiable. They know that you will be bringing them new business. You can offer to give them 30% of what you charge the client per session for your services. Or, they can put you on the payroll as an independent in which case they can provide you with 60% of what they charge the client per session for services. In either case, you should not be charged to use the club facilities. In both cases you will need liability insurance. If your needs require, you may work out a flat monthly charge with the gym to bring in and train your clients.

What letters can I use after my name once I am certifed at the Advanced Level?

Once certified as a Master Fitness Instructor, you may continue to use CPT or you may use MFI. Once certified as a Master Sports Nutritionist, you may continue to use SN or you may use MSN.

What is a "CI Number"?

When you take the test for the first time, you are assigned a "Certified Instructor" number. This number is your IFA personal identification number. One CI number is used for all tests and stays with you through recertification. Always use your CI number on the test form when recertifiying. We use this CI number instead of your Social Security number for your security. No one should use your Social Security number except those that need access to your credit data.


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