In recognition of the 1 year mark on my blog, I wanted to share some of the earliest posts that I made – when no one was following 🙂
One of the things that motivate me to try to share my knowledge with future professionals is the “I wish somebody would have told me that” effect. During my undergraduate career, no one ever told me about the value of getting involved in professional organizations at any level. I probably would have assumed I couldn’t afford it anyway. But, since no one ever told me about them, I wasn’t aware that most of them offer reduced student memberships rates as well as discounts on certification exams.
I became certified as a group exercise instructor through the American Council on Exercise when I was a freshman in college. At the time, paying full-price for the exam felt like I was shelling out enough money to buy a new house. As with most certifications, once you pass the exam, you have to continue to maintain your education through approved courses. Luckily for me I was able to petition and use my academic courses that I was taking in school. Most organizations have a system for this with a nominal fee to do so.
Although I did not use the Internet in college (yikes), many associations now give their members the ability to create online profiles and even utilize their sites to give you a web presence when people are searching for reputable, certified professionals. IDEA Health and Fitness Association even provides an online library and handouts that can be used with clients and participants. Their weekly emails and monthly journals that I get are unbelievable. Everything is current and relevant. I share them with my students regularly and often incorporate the information into my staff trainings and courses that I teach.
Another added value to membership is access to liability insurance. The American College of Sports Medicine, for example, not only allows for reduced student membership rates, but also reduced rates for liability insurance. For anyone who is working in the fitness and wellness industry, proper liability insurance coverage is an absolute must. In fact, even internship sites require students to be covered by their university or independently.
As a more experienced professional, I make sure to take advantage of all that my memberships have to offer. But, I have to say; the single greatest asset to having a professional membership is the opportunity to network. I regularly interact and see other professionals who provide so much insight and energy to me. It helps tremendously to have people to bounce ideas off of, and it doesn’t hurt when it comes time to look for a job. I have met and interacted with so many quality people through my membership and attendance at conferences.
As far as what membership to get, that is a little harder to say. It really depends on your career goals. Start talking to people, asking questions, and getting information on various organizations. You can check my LINKS page, which will be a good place to start. It has a list of some that I feel are reputable, worthwhile organizations to consider.
So there it is. Now you can’t say, “I wish someone would have told me”, because I just did!