GRCC offers new program For personal trainers

October 8, 2010
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Grand Rapids Community College is offering a new program that can lead to certification for personal trainers.

Linda Witte, program developer and manager for non-credit health programs, said employers asked GRCC’s Workforce Development division to come up with a program for entry-level employees in the health and fitness industry.

The college first surveyed health and wellness employers, then formed an advisory committee with industry professionals to help determine the skills and abilities needed in the workplace, Witte said. The professionals suggested adding the wellness component to the personal trainer curriculum.

“Employers were pretty overwhelming that, yes, this is a need,” Witte said. She said both health and fitness centers and employers who run wellness programs for their workers supported the idea.

After consulting with industry professionals, GRCC chose to align its program with the personal trainer certification available through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

“We are preparing participants to take and pass that certification exam, but we also have that value-added piece of wellness that we are incorporating into the course,” Witte said.

The exam fee and a one-year NSCA membership is built into the $2,300 cost of the program.

“And we are going to be incorporating other things such as some of the customer service skills that are needed. Those things you don’t need to pass the certification exam, but those are skills area employers want these folks to have.”

The course will be taught by Gary Strehlke, a trainer at the David D. Hunting YMCA, in GRCC classrooms and at the downtown Y facility. Strehlke was unavailable for comment.

The class, which meets two mornings per week through April, starts next week. Registration deadline was Sept. 30. Students are assessed both physically and for career skills and interests prior to joining the program.

Classes will cover anatomy, physiology, assessment tools, exercise options and nutrition, Witte said.

GRCC hopes to eventually add continuing education and specialty certifications, such as working with senior citizens, to the offerings as the program develops, she added. Students also may have the option to add basic business courses to learn to run their own wellness businesses, she said.

For more information, visit www.grcc.edu/workforcetraining and click on “entry level medical,” or call 234-3400, or visit GRCC’s Applied Technology Center at 151 Fountain St. SE.

While people may take the NSCA’s exams without such training, Witte acknowledged, local employers emphasized that they are looking for the additional background available through the GRCC program.

“They really felt like what’s needed is that total package,” she added.

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