Students looking to jump into a career in personal training will now have a chance to obtain a highly sought after certification at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
CGCC announced on June 24 it would begin a partnership with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), a Chandler-based education company that offers a program for aspiring personal trainers to become certified. NASM’s program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, and is among the top certifications requested by health clubs and training facilities around the world.
“We’re seeing that our employers in the industry, especially in Arizona, want the NASM certification,” said Kim McGee, an exercise science professor at CGCC. “One of our core instructors of the program helped initiate the partnership and it took off from there.”
Conversations between CGCC and NASM for a partnership began in February. After recently coming to an agreement, it was announced that classes with the new curriculum will begin in August.
“This partnership allows students to obtain credentials early on in their career and begin making an impact on people’s lives,” said Kyle Flannery, a fitness education consultant at NASM who facilitated the partnership. “This area is thirsty for fitness professionals. It also allows students to do a variety of things once certified, including open their own gyms.
“It just creates a lot of opportunity.”
NASM was founded by Bob Goldberg in 1987 in California. The company was purchased a short time later by fitness specialist Neal Spruce and former Phoenix Suns physical therapist, Neil Clark. Together, the two grew NASM into the leading authority in fitness education before it was acquired by Blackstone, a large equity company.
A major aspect of NASM’s success is due to Clark’s Optimum Performance Training model, which is commonly used by fitness professionals. Along with personal training certification, the NASM curriculum also teaches sports performance, injury prevention and a new nutrition program.
“People aren’t always aware that they can call up NASM and go through the program online,” said Matt Schuster, the academic B2B sales manager at NASM. “So with a partnership like the one with Chandler-Gilbert, they can be introduced to the program through their existing curriculum.
“Hopefully, some of those students will realize that they can really make a career out of it.”
CGCC is one of nearly 300 schools across the world that has partnered with NASM. Like the rest, the NASM curriculum will be integrated into the existing curriculum CGCC offers to its exercise science students.
“We provide a very hands-on learning experience that could begin with preliminary learning in the class,” McGee said. “Our dean often calls us one of the best kept secrets, but we don’t want to be that. We want students to know what we can offer them.”
Classes will take place Monday through Thursday in CGCC Coyote Center on the south side of its campus near Pecos and Gilbert roads. They will take place in a four-hour block from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Each classroom is equipped with a variety of fitness equipment for students to learn proper technique for strength training and how to lead group classes. CGCC also received a grant to purchase high-end equipment including a Bod Pod, which is a large egg-shaped machine used to measure body density.
The classes will also have access to the fitness center located on the first floor of the Coyote Center. Traditional bench presses and a variety of cardio and training equipment are at the disposal of the students in the class.
Additionally, a turf field equipped with tires and sleds is located right outside the fitness center.
“We can do a lot of group training outside on the turf,” McGee said. “There will be times where we ask students to create a fitness regimen and lead the class.”
McGee believes class sizes will be limited to 24 students, allowing all five of the program’s instructors to teach in a more intimate setting.
Students will be able to finish the program within a year. The first semester will consist of 18-credit hours, while the second is 12. The first semester will consist of the necessary knowledge to obtain a license and become a certified personal trainer.
However, the second semester involves a curriculum that will equip students with the necessary training to immediately begin working in a health club upon completion, which involves becoming CPR certified.
All credits obtained in the program go toward an associate’s degree. They are also transferrable to four-year institutions should students want to continue with their education and become physical therapists.
The program is open to all students, regardless of fitness knowledge.
“If you are really interested in a field where you can make a big impact on other's health and fitness and lifestyle, this is a great field and there's so many avenues,” McGee said. “So if you start off here, you can get college credit to go towards a degree and you still have so many options as you continue.
“It's a good starting place for some and it's also a good career for others.”
Students interested in enrolling in becoming a NASM certified personal trainer at CGCC are encouraged to contact Kim McGee at email@example.com.