Scoping out Your Practice

By Lon Kilgore

In Coaching, CrossFit

December 22, 2015

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Personal trainers are encouraged to define and take ownership of their profession.

In the fitness industry, scopes of practice appear to overlap and create identity crises. How does a personal trainer’s practice differ from that of a fitness trainer, an exercise instructor or any other practitioner in the realm of exercise and fitness? Does each of group of practitioners have an associated scope of practice describing the duties and limits of the work associated with that group?

The term “scope of practice” describes the procedures, actions and processes that a worker within a particular occupation is normally permitted to undertake. It is also a legal term that largely refers to occupations that require government-issued licenses in order to work within the field; for example, a physician’s scope of practice allows prescription of drugs but a nurse’s scope of practice does not.

As personal training is not a government-regulated occupation, it is up to its certifying organizations, not legislative bodies, to establish and adopt scope-of-practice statements for their credentialed members. If an organization is truly the authority and represents the occupational rank and file, it will have a well-considered, applicable and accessible scope-of-practice statement. Failure to have such a statement invites confusion and lack of occupational identity, and it increases the risk of legal exposure to members, who have no guidelines on the limits of their occupational activities.

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