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The purpose of the IFPA Personal Fitness Trainer Certification (CPFT) is not only to test on the required sciences but the practical application of the sciences in training the public.
The IFPA held its first certification testing in July 1994. The IFPA was conceived and founded to fulfill a need. At the time of inception, there were certification programs for Personal Fitness Trainers (PFTs) that did an adequate job of testing on the required sciences (anatomy, physiology, exercise science and biomechanics). There were no certifications for PFTs that tested on the precise skills that the entry level PFT would need to know in order to succeed at their career.
The IFPA’s first Job Analysis Survey (JAS) uncovered the skills and knowledge required for the PFT to be both safe and effective. The IFPA’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) determined that while a basic understanding of anatomy, physiology, exercise science and biomechanics was important, these sciences were irrelevant if the PFT did not know how to apply the information (teaching the proper technique for a squat or other basic exercise movements).
The SMEs also determined that other Personal Training certifications created a potential hazard to the public by excluding the assessment of the vocational skills necessary for the PFT to take a client successfully and safely through an exercise routine. Therefore, the SMEs recommended that for the overall safety of the public, the IFPA PFT certification testing would be required to focus on the practical application of vocational skills.