I definitely think there is some truth in saying that experience can be just as powerful as education. Through-out University they encourage you to put your knowledge into practice by gaining work experience in the field you are most interested in. I have many friends from University who have gone on to study MSc's and PHD's and it's fair to say that they excel in their fields due to the experience they have had "on-the-job" rather than solely knowledge absorbed from a text book.
My degree was certainly not the reason why I got to where I did in my career. Yes it gave me the knowledge to provide the best education to my clients and members but it is my experience working with a wide range of individuals both colleagues and clients that taught me the most.
I can sit here and write that I have worked with elite athletes and pro-sportsmen and women but the experience and knowledge gained from that isn't applicable to 95% of us. I can also say that I have all the qualifications under the sun and YES in order to train certain individuals safely and effectively (whilst of course covered by insurance) this is a requirement but realistically an extra qualification isn't always going to make you a better trainer. The best trainers are the ones that LISTEN, have the TIME for you and most importantly ENJOY what they do.
It's always great to know what qualifications a Trainer has but how do you know that person is going to be the right one to help you on your "journey" - I sound like I'm on Strictly Come Dancing. Look at their experience...is it something you can relate to? Do you truly believe the person has been there, done that, got the t-shirt - that is where respect is earnt. The best Managers are people who have walked in your shoes and not afraid to pull their weight - the same can be said for Trainers.
My training experience started when I was just 20, fresh from Uni. I had no idea how to people manage or be able to tailor my personality to the person I was speaking to! I will never forget one of my 1:1's with my Manager when I first became a Fitness Manager which was "how can you expect people to react consistently around you if you are not consistent". I think I have relayed this teaching to every one of the managers and team members I have mentored over the last decade and BOY is it true! How many times have you felt like you need to tread on egg shells around a person? It's the worst feeling. I've even had to do this around a Manager but that's another story - probably one not to be written down.
Nicole and I have experience with a HUGE range of clients. Our careers span over a Decade in the fitness industry and both of us knew this was the industry we wanted to work in since we were teenagers. Our passion and love of the industry lead us to do the most extreme form of exercise - taking to the stage and competing in Body Building competitions so we KNOW what it's like to go through the turmoil of dieting and to see your body change both from an improvement perspective and the reverse.
We've been the ones recovering from serious injury - I will never forget Nicole breaking her foot and not being able to teach for weeks. We've both had children and watched our bodies change. We've both known what it's like to try everything to get to where we want our fitness/body to be and failed but have got back up and tried different things.
Our clients have benefitted from these experiences. The more clients we work with the more we learn about people and the differences in every Human Body. We're not here to just train you for that hour or that month, we are here to educate and share our experiences on how YOU can be in control of YOUR results.
I need to stop waffling and get to the point...don't always rely on a persons qualifications. Ask about their experience in the job...have they been in the industry for long, what's their background, why are they doing what they're doing and ultimately do you believe that Trainer can help YOU...