The AEFPA is dedicated to ensuring improved opportunities for careers for exercise and fitness professionals. Careers that advance the exercise and fitness professional-client relationship and result in better health and fitness outcomes for clients. This work is captured in the AEFPA’s (five-year) strategic plan, which aims to ensure that enhancements to exercise and fitness education in the United States are led by exercise and fitness professionals.
The AEFPA’s plan emphasizes three core areas of focus:
- Improving health and fitness outcomes
- Accelerating change in Exercise and Fitness education
- Professional satisfaction and enhanced career opportunities
Step 1 – Create a membership base of Exercise and Fitness Professionals. This will primarily be a grass roots effort early during the first year of the plan. We believe that the only way to establish standards of excellence and to provide a higher level of service to the population is to organize as a profession. This process began in May 2015 and is being conducted electronically (email, newsletter, social media) and phonically. It will be a national effort, beginning with Online registries of current Fitness Professionals. This activity will take place at the organization’s address initially by the directors of AEFPA and eventually by a membership coordination. During the first year about 90% of time will be dedicated on growing a membership base. It is the foundation for all future organizational success.
Step 2 – To establish educational standards for entry into the Exercise and Fitness Professions. This process will begin shortly after beginning the establishment of membership. A National Advisory Panel will be formed. This panel will be selected by the Directors. During the first year about 10% of time will be spent on this activity. The primary responsibility of this panel will be to conduct research (review of literature, and feedback from AEFPA members) on the necessary elements of preparing aspiring Exercise and Fitness Professionals for successful careers. Form the research and input from AEFPA members, educational standards and a curriculum will be developed. This will be conducted from the organization address. The panel will be from around the country and communication will be in the form of phone, email and video conferencing.
Step 3 – Advocate on behalf of Exercise and Fitness Professionals to improve the professional status, working environments and compensation for those who choose careers in the exercise and fitness fields. With the assistance of the National Advisory Panel, state panels well be formed to work on a local level to advocate for change within the Exercise and Fitness Profession. This activity will begin in year 2-3 of the organization based on the success of the previous two activities.
Step 4 – Advance the professional status of Exercise and Fitness Professionals and serve as the primary voice for the core values of the Exercise and Fitness Profession. This activity will coincide with Step 3. Once standards are established, the education and credentialing process will begin. Since we will be asking more from those who want to work in the Exercise and Fitness Profession, it is to be expected that individuals who meet this new standard will expect a higher level of respect and professional stature. Promotional efforts to employers and the general public will be part of this activity. Exercise and Fitness Professionals currently working in the field with be Grandfathered and exempt from acquiring the new standards. Although AEFPA will create a culture and highly encourage working Exercise and Fitness Professional who don’t meet the new standard to voluntarily work toward that standard. This activity will begin in year 2-3 of the organization based on the success of the previous two activities.
Step 5 – To promote the art and science of exercise and fitness for the betterment of public health and be a leading voice in the transformation of the fitness industry. It is the position of The American Exercise and Fitness Professional Association Inc. that Exercise and Fitness Professionals will be included in the category of Allied Health Professionals. Amply scientific research supports the notion that exercise and fitness are effective strategies in preventing or reducing the impact of numerous public health concerns. This activity will begin in year 3-5 of the organization based on the success of Steps 3 and 4.
Step 6 – To develop and implement a public relations strategy to inform the general public of the newly established industry standards. Included in this public relations strategy will be information on the safety and effectiveness of choosing to only work with Exercise and Fitness Professionals who have met the industry standards established by The American Exercise and Fitness Professional Association Inc. It is important for the general public to understand the difference between an individual who has met the industry standards and one who has not. The goal of this activity will be that eventually the general public will demand to only work with Exercise and Fitness Professionals who meet the standard. This will drive employers to only employ those who have met the standard. This activity will begin in year 3-5 of the organization based on the success of the previous steps.