World Instructor Training Schools (W.I.T.S.) was invited to testify before the Health and Government Occupations Committee of the Maryland General Assembly on February 24, 2010 in support of the Personal Trainer Act HB 747.
HB 747, introduced by Delegate Costa, would establish licensure requirements as well as standards for the training and scope of practice of personal trainers in the state of Maryland. It is the first bill of its kind in Maryland and across the United States. In addition to requiring licensure for personal trainers, HB 747 adjusts the standards for programs that educate and train personal fitness trainers by requiring that the programs be offered by organizations approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) for content and the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET) or the Institute of Credentialing Excellence (ICE-formerly NOCA) for educational process.
Jay Del Vecchio, CEO and President of W.I.T.S., was invited to testify at the hearing by Delegate Costa. During the hearing, Jay discussed the lack of standards in the education and preparation of personal trainers and the danger this lack of standards poses to the industry and to the general public. Of specific concern was the lack of practical training and competence testing in most personal training certifications. In addition, Del Vecchio called for standards in the continuing education and recertification for personal trainers and recommended IACET as the sole approving CEU program to help un-clutter the industry and ensure consistent standards. He explained that the industry’s attempt at self-regulation has failed itself and has led to the possible need for government involvement and oversight.

Amy Hyams, Director of Program Development for W.I.T.S. and IACET Commissioner also testified at the hearing in support of HB 747.

Amy discussed the history of IACET and its role in improving the quality of continuing education organizations and programs.
World Instructor Training Schools is spearheading the development of a coalition in Maryland to begin discussions on the drafting on this legislative initiative. W.I.T.S. has retained a professional Government Affairs firm to assist in the ally development and work together towards a comprehensive plan for the upcoming interim. The group will convene later this spring in Annapolis, Maryland for an open forum on how to grow this grassroots coalition and how to become active in the legislative process.

As part of this effort, Del Vecchio and Hyams are travelling to other cities, informing fitness industry professionals nationwide on the issues of quality education and standards in training, IACET and legislative issues. Their goal is transparency and open dialogue to drive the fitness profession to a "true health occupation classification."

To date, the U.S. Labor Department classifies trainers under “personal service” occupations, similar to a limo driver or a barber.

“We can and should do better,” remarks Del Vecchio.

For more information, please contact Amy Hyams at amy.hyams@hotmail.com or Jay Del Vecchio at witsjd@cox.net. A complete copy of Maryland’s HB 747 can be found at http://mlis.state.md.us/2010rs/bills/hb/hb0747f.pdf.

News release modified from its original version.

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