Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ACE, the certification

Two Saturdays ago, on May 7, after several months of studying, I took the three-hour, 150-question ACE group fitness instructor exam. I took the test at the same time as a handful of other people, all taking either the group fitness exam or the personal trainer exam. One by one, every other person plowed through their test and left the room. Two-and-a-half hours later (and alone), I finally clicked the button verifying that I was done.

Was I sure I was done? Yes. I was D-O-N-E.

And by some miracle, I passed—and by a decent enough margin that I’m convinced I might actually know a fair amount of the material.

Now, with my nationally recognized ACE certification and my two Zumba classes a week, I’m feeling a bit more confident about this whole group fitness thing.

The question is what’s next? Or at least that’s what it feels like the question should be.

Sure, I have a full-time job and the Zumba market is heavily saturated, but there seems to be small windows of opportunities—maybe even medium-sized windows. What I’d like to do is spend every minute exploring those opportunities, but alas, duty (and a paycheck that pays the bills) calls.

I’m trying to figure out which way to go: Lobby my boss to let me complete a physical education bachelor’s degree (which would require some work flexibility, unlike the evening master’s programs), or go full speed ahead with the group fitness instructor thing.

I really don’t know what to do. Part of the reason I took the time to become an ACE-certified group fitness instructor—and many Zumba (and other specialty teachers) do not have a nationally recognized certification—is because I believe in being qualified, through education, to do what you’re doing. In my opinion, this becomes even more important when you’re dealing with people’s health and wellness.

So, in THEORY, I’d like to go back to school and have a related bachelor’s degree under my belt. I also proved to myself, in studying for the ACE exam, that I am capable of learning the science—a confidence boost if nothing else.

And at some point, I need to make a choice because if I go back to school for this degree, it will be the last time I ever go back to school.

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