Ok, so you got your test results back and you passed. YAY! And if you didn’t pass you can retake the written and/or practical test with a nominal fee [and don’t fret because I don’t think it’s highly unusual to fail the first time].
Once you have your certification, you are required to complete continuing education units [CEUs] to keep it current. AFAA requires 15 CEUs every 2 years. You can obtain CEUs through other AFAA workshops [cycling, kickboxing, pre-natal fitness] – some of these are online/distance learning and some are onsite. Some are actual certifications and some are workshops without an official certification. You can also obtain CEUs through other AFAA-approved organizations [like ACE]. AFAA is pretty good at outlining your different options for getting your CEUs and reminding you when you need to renew your certification.
Once you have your group ex cert, it may be difficult to get hired as a group ex instructor since you don’t have experience. But you can’t get experience if no one will hire you. I hate catch-22s. My recommendation is to find a small, local gym. The pay might be less [but maybe not], and I found individually owned gyms were more willing to hire a brand new instructor than some of the bigger chains. The YMCA is another good route.
Once you get more certifications [which is a plus for CEUs being required], find the niches you like and are good at [cycling, yoga, kickboxing, etc.] and have some teaching experience, you’ll probably have an easier time getting into the gym you really want.
I think it’s rare these days for gyms to actually pay for workshops, but you might get lucky. You’ll likely be paying for new certifications and CEUs on your own dime. Also, keep in mind that Les Mills certifications [creators of the popular Body Pump] requires a gym to “sponsor” you to do their trainings. That doesn’t mean that the gym has to pay for the training, but it means you have to be employed with a gym that is licensed with Les Mills. You can’t just do it on your own.
I have one more post planned for this series with some additional information on what to expect when trying to get hired with a gym, pros/cons of teaching, and other general tips. If you want me to cover anything else, please let me know. Keep sending me questions. And thanks for all the feedback my fellow instructors have added to this series! And definitely let me know if you’ve taken any steps towards getting certified. 🙂