Kinesiology Gains More Recognition in British Columbia

It is clear from a recent news story on CTV Television that having a Kinesiology degree is valued by consumers, fitness centres and third party payers (ICBC, Disability Insurance and Health Benefits providers). It is poignant that a news story about a well known gym claiming that their Personal Trainers have Kinesiologists on staff, when they don’t have their degrees came to light near the end of Canadian Kinesiology Week.

To their credit one of the staff involved later apologized noting that it was her choice to misrepresent herself as well the gyms owner did produce papers for three of their staff that did have their Kinesiology degrees.

I am happy that CTV asked the British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists (BCAK) to respond. 2011 is also the 20th anniversary of the BCAK which I was a proud member of the Board of Directors for several years.

Kinesiology and Personal Training are relatively new professions compared to Physicians or Physiotherapy and are both largely self-regulated which means the consumer has to be aware of what they are purchasing. While BC Kinesiologists have been fighting to become a regulated health profession, which means that we would have a college to protect the public, Ontario has been able to achieve this status.

Practicing as a Kinesiologist

You can practice as a Kinesiologist with a degree in a related field – Human Kinetics, Kinesiology or Exercise Therapy, depending on the school attended without BCAK membership. However membership as a Practicing Kinesiologist (formerly Registered) in the BCAK is a growing requirement of third party payers as well as employers. This level of membership ensures that you have met core course requirements such as human anatomy, biomechanics and exercise physiology as well as other related courses as part of your undergraduate degree. We also have to meet a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education per year and have liability insurance of $2,000,000 (Lifemoves’ requires $5,000,000) to maintain BCAK membership. If you are ever unsure if someone is a member of the BCAK, you can either ask them to show a current certificate or contact the BCAK. 

The following principles reflect the beliefs and values intrinsic to Kinesiologists who are members of the BCAK

From the BCAK’s Standards of Practice

A. Practicing Membership in the BCAK requires the successful completion of an educational training to ensure the basic skills and knowledge to perform the duties of a Kinesiologist.

B. Kinesiologists abide by a professional “Ethics Policy” and understand their obligations to the public as unregulated professional practitioners.

C. Kinesiologists maintain competency by enhancing their skills, knowledge and critical reasoning ability.

D. Kinesiologists are committed to providing client-centered services informed by best practices.

E. Kinesiologists will always act in the best interests of their clients.

F. Kinesiologists act as public advocates on issues related to the health and wellbeing of the public and the delivery of Kinesiology services in particular.

Difference between Kinesiologists and Personal Trainers

Many Kinesiologists, including myself have multiple certificates in health and fitness that are related to our areas of practice. A Personal Trainer in BC should have at least one certificate with a reputable organization such as the British Columbia Parks and Recreation Association, American Council on Exercise and National Strength and Conditioning Association just to name a few. The scope of practice for a Personal Trainer is an “apparently healthy individual” while our scope of practice is much broader.

Read more about this in The Difference Between a Personal Trainer and a Kinesiologist. 

At Lifemoves we have successfully referred back and forth with Personal Trainers when it is appropriate. For example when a training client has as short-term injury that they are recovering from needs our expertise and guidance before they are able to return to their sessions with their Personal Trainer. Since, at Lifemoves our focus is to create fitness programs for clients injuries, disabilities and chronic medical conditions we would again refer to one of the trainers if someone was apparently healthy and seeking a program to lose weight, gain muscle or improve their fitness.

While I am appalled at a Trainers falsely claiming they are Registered/Practicing Kinesiologists or having a Kinesiology degree (when I know they don’t), I have worked with and continue to work beside several highly ethical and moral Personal Trainers who understand their scope of practice and limits of their skills. You don’t need a degree to become a great trainer.

Four years of studying at university and being a member of the BCAK does provide us with more in depth knowledge of how the human body responds to exercise, injury and disease, teaches us critical thinking skills and accelerates our careers in the fitness industry. There is plenty of work for everyone, especially if we hold each other accountable to professional ethics and standards of practice; it will only elevate the value of both professions.

I have been a proud Kinesiologist since 1999, even when working for a major fitness centre as a “Personal Trainer.” Another resource I put together are a couple of videos 

How to Check the Credentials of Your Personal Trainer and Why Choose a Kinesiologist for Active Rehabilitation. I will continue to advocate for our profession; over the last 10 years I have seen a large increase in the recognition of our contribution to the health care team as well as employment opportunities.

Watch the full CTV news story – Famed Gym Pumps Up Credentials. Read to the bottom of the article for apology.

Second part of this investigation BC Kinesiologists Push For Regulation

*Note this article was not endorsed by the BCAK. It was written of my own volition and need to comment on the news of the day.

Alfred Ball

CEO | Practicing Kinesiologist | Certified Fascial Stretch Therapist. He founded Lifemoves in 2007. He has been a Practicing Kinesiologist and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach with the NSCA for over 15 years. When he isn't helping people regain their strength and confidence to move with ease he is hanging out with his wife and young son, writing, or training for his next endurance running race. His big audacious goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

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Jenna - November 29, 2011 Reply

Great write-up! We need more advocates like yourself in the U.S. for our profession of Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologists

Alfred Ball, Practicing Kinesiologist - November 29, 2011 Reply

Jenna,
Thank you very much for your kind words. In the U.S. what is the education of a Registered CEP? How do you become registered?

One question I had recently is “What I thought about Personal Trainers taking course like Medical Exercise Specialist courses and then getting into the medical fitness training market?” I understand that this is how it is sometimes in the U.S., but I was unaware of your designation until your comment.

What are your thoughts?

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