complaint the Fitness Industry has with Certification Organizations
is the lack of “hands-on, practical, skills testing.” Health club
managers complain that the certifications only provide evidence that
a trainer has fitness knowledge and does nothing to evaluate the
skills a trainer should have in order to train people safely and
effectively. Even though the IFPA Personal Trainer Certification
wins great approval from the most knowledgeable of the fitness
industries leadership, primarily because it is the very best at
evaluating the knowledge trainers need to do their jobs, many
managers were disappointed in the IFPA decision to drop the second
part of the IFPA Certification: Part II - Practical Examination
This decision was made due
to the IHRSA recommendation that Certifications Organization seek accreditation
through the National Organization of Competency Assurance (NOCA). NOCA has
difficult standards to meet, made even more difficult when a practical component
is part of the Certification Examination.
When the decision was made
to drop the Practical Examination Component from the IFPA Personal Trainer
Certification Exam, the IFPA went to work with the IBFP to develop an extensive Board
Certification for Personal Trainers. The IFPA has been working with the
industries finest leaders and experts to develop an extensive, hands-on,
practical SKILLS EXAMINATION that will test an examinee on precisely the skills
that will measure their competency to do their training activities safely and
Members of the
IBFP Board of
Examiners will evaluate the examinee.
The Examiners will be required to have:
Advanced degrees in
exercise science and related fields (MD, DO, DCM, ND, PhD, MS)
experience in fitness training.
Extensive knowledge of the
“Scopes of Practice” for fitness professionals
Extensive knowledge of
“Standard Operating Procedures” and “Fitness Industry: Commonly Acceptable
Extensive knowledge of all
seven phases of fitness training.
Been trained thoroughly on
the Board Certification Assessment Instrument and Grading Procedures for the
Passed the Board Examinees
Assessment Instrument Grading Procedures Exam.
Been interviewed by Senior
Examiner of the IBFP to ensure every IBFP Board Examiner meets or exceeds the
highest professional standards of ethics, conduct and fairness to all
Examinees will be required
to pass both:
Part I: Short
Answer and Essay Exam
Practical, Oral and Demonstration Exam
80% or better is required to
PASS on each part. Both parts must be passed in order to receive the designation
of “Board Certified Personal Fitness Trainer,” B.C. – P.F.T.
If an examinee only passes
one part, they have six months to re-take and pass the second part. During this
period, they will not have to re-take the part they previously passed. After the
six-month window, examinees will have to re-take both parts.
Prior to receiving their
Board Certification, candidate must have completed the Nationally Recognized Personal Fitness
Trainer Certification Exam (or approved equivalent) and both First Aid and CPR
from an approved organization. Candidates must also be at least 18 years of age
and have a high school diploma (or equivalent).
IBFP Board Certification: Part I
General Testing Information:
Limit: 3 ½ Hours
Number of test
scored on each test: 200
Format of Test:
Essay and Short Answer (proctored)
Part I Examination Fee:
retaking Part I after failing to receive a passing score.
Candidate for the Board
Certification as Personal Fitness Trainer (B.C.-P.F.T) must:
Be at least 18 years of age
Have completed both First
Aid and CPR by an approved Organization or EMT Certification
Have an Nationally Recognized Personal
Fitness Trainer (PFT) Certification (or a PFT Certification from an approved
organization or approved equivalent).
Have attained a high school diploma (or equivalent)
Testing Sections and Testing Objectives:
Section One: Phase One of PFT: Interviewing
must be prepared to determine the level of knowledge and experience of the
fitness lifestyle as well as the client’s level of motivation for both beginning
and maintaining an exercise program.
must be prepared to demonstrate their knowledge of interviewing, communications,
motivation, coaching and teaching techniques to effectively motivate the client
to begin and adhere to the fitness lifestyle.
be prepared to demonstrate their knowledge of specific skills of communication
and motivation; for example: determining personality types, listening skills,
specific verbal patterns of speech as well as observation of non-verbal
communication, appropriate use of open-ended vs. close ended questioning, etc.
be prepared to demonstrate the ability to aid the client in setting appropriate
and attainable goals.
be able to demonstrate the ability to determine the client's primary motivations
to exercise and likely demotivators that could result in client dropout.
Section Two: Phase Two of
PFT: Fitness Assessment
must be prepared to demonstrate their understanding of both the HHQ and PAR-Q.
must be prepared to manipulate the appropriate Program Design Variables in the
event that the client demonstrates any abnormality on either the HHQ or PAR-Q.
must know all ACSM guidelines for exercise, Standard Operating Procedures for
Training, Currently accepted protocols. Rules of Engagement for PFT and accepted
industry standards for exercise safety.
know how to determine and identify the typical dysfunctions associated with the
various levels of training. Training dysfunctions fall under the 4 primary
categories of muscle dysfunction, joint dysfunction, nerve dysfunction and
biochemical dysfunction. Candidates must be able to identify dysfunction and
recommend the client to the appropriate health care or medical professional when
be able to identify any serious dysfunction that could place the client in
jeopardy during training.
know when the clients demonstrate any indication of abnormality that would
require medical examination prior to exercise, for example: ACSM Guidelines.
must know when to apply the appropriate Fitness Assessment and accurately
know how to interpret Fitness Assessment result to determine the safest most
effective Program Design to achieve the client’s health and fitness goals.
must know how to determine the client’s functional level of participation in the
fitness program, determine whether they have or need physicians clearance to
exercise and if they present any risk factors toward fitness activities, for
example: age, family history, hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, etc.
must know when and which classification of “Special Population Training Group”
clients might fall into.
know Emergency Procedures during testing and “when to stop testing protocols.”
must demonstrate the ability during both the Interviewing Phase and Fitness
Assessment Phase to determine any “Pre-Existing Condition.”
demonstrate mastery of all commonly accepted Fitness Assessments.
demonstrate the ability to interpret the results of all commonly accepted
Fitness Assessment the candidate must demonstrate mastery are (but no limited
Rhyming bicycle test
Section 3: Phase Three:
Personal Fitness Trainer: Exercise Prescription
demonstrate the ability to interpret the data acquired from Phases I & II in
order to select the appropriate exercise to match both the client’s wants and
demonstrate the understanding of exercise prescription and select appropriate
Exercise in order to stimulate the appropriate level of adaptation within the
appropriate “Component of Fitness”. The 10 “Component of Fitness” are:
demonstrate an understanding of both the psychological as well as physiological
client needs to develop safe and effective exercise prescription
must demonstrate a thorough understanding of how to safely and effectively
implement exercise prescription for the client’s specific needs and goals. These
include (but are not limited to);
demonstrate an understanding of both care and prevention of injuries.
demonstrate an understanding of nutrition and the interrelationship between
exercise, nutrition and lifestyle.
demonstrate an understanding of nutrition and lifestyle in order to educate
their clients on both nutrition and lifestyle modifications to maximize the
safety and effectiveness of exercise prescription and programming.
Section Four: Phase Four:
Personal Fitness Trainer: Program Design
demonstrate a thorough understanding of all exercise science principles and
their practical application to the clients exercise program. These include (but
are not limited to):
Populations Training Principles
demonstrate a thorough understanding of all exercise science program design
principles in order to design safe and effective exercise programs for all
levels of clients, all special population groups and all ages.
demonstrate an understanding of Periodization Principles in order to design
comprehensive programs to safely and effective reach client’s goals, regardless
of level, age or special need.
Section 5: Phase Five: Biomechanics/Exercise Technique
Candidate must demonstrate a thorough understanding of Anatomy
Candidate must demonstrate a thorough understanding of Physiology
Candidate must demonstrate a thorough understanding of Muscle Structure
Candidate must demonstrate a thorough understanding of Muscle Function
Candidate must demonstrate a thorough understanding of Joint Function
Candidate must demonstrate a thorough understanding of Injury Prevention
demonstrate a thorough understanding of Biomechanics
Candidate must demonstrate a thorough understanding of Exercise Technique
Candidate must demonstrate a thorough understanding of Exercise Physiology
Candidate must demonstrate a thorough understanding of Kinesiology
Section 6: Phase Six:
must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of exercise safety guidelines including
the ability to address any and all pre-existing conditions.
demonstrate the appropriate response to an emergency situation, as well as
quickly determine when an emergency is occurring.
know when to call 911.
know how to apply all currently accepted industry standards for exercise safety
(including ACSM Guidelines, ect.)
must identify “Contra-indicated” exercise movements.
Section 7: Phase Seven:
Lifestyle Fitness Coaching
must understand the principles of an effective coaching relationship to include
(but not limited to):
Scope of Practice
skills, insights and understanding
organizing, influencing and guiding change processes
IBFP Board Certification: Part II
General Testing Information:
Limit: 3 ½ hours
Number of test
scored on each test: 200
Format of Test:
This is a SKILLS Performance Examination. The
candidate will be tasked to explain, perform, teach, demonstrate and spot any
number of tasks determined by the Examination Board. The candidate can be tested
on any exercise or skill from any and all seven sections described below for all
seven phases of fitness training.
Part II Examination Fee:
retaking Part II after failing to receive a passing score.
Testing sections are the same
for Part II; the only difference is the format on the examination. Part I is a
series of short answer or essay questions. The total number of questions will
vary depending on which version of the test the candidate receives for their
In Part II, the candidate
enters the Board Exam alone and will be tasked to explain, perform, teach,
demonstrate and spot any number of tasks determined by the Examination Board.
The Board of Examiners will ask the candidate questions from all seven sections
to determine the candidate’s competency in all seven phases of fitness training.
There are no required
programs of study before a candidate elects to take the Board Examination.
However, if the candidate
would like to take courses of study in preparation for the Board Exam, they can
elect to take a variety of College courses matching the seven sections described
for the exam. The IFPA has developed numerous course offerings that offer the
PRACTICAL SKILLS TRAINING essential to success as a FITNESS PROFESSIONALS as
well as the PRACTICAL SKILL TRAINING necessary to pass the Board Examination.
The most appropriate courses for the Board Examination are:
Fitness Trainer Certification Course
IFPA Advanced Personal Fitness Trainer Certification Course
IFPA Lifestyle Fitness Coach: Level I Certification Course
IFPA Functional Muscle Training Instructor Certification Course
IFPA Sports Nutrition Certification Course
IFPA Strength Training Specialist Certification Course
IFPA Post/Secondary Rehabilitation Certification Course