What Certification is Best for Me?

As some of the readers here may, or may not know, I am a former adjunct instructor at Egoscue University.  I left my teaching position in July of 2013.

I have been blessed to help many people who come in to work with me accomplish their posture correction and pain relief goals.  

One of the things that makes me unique in the field of posture alignment specialization and corrective exercise, is that in addition to my previous teaching position, I also hold many certifications in a variety of complimentary modalities.  This has been a strategic investment on my part as I personally and professionally do not believe that there is a "one-size fits all" approach or modality that works for the chronic pain relief of posture correction needs of each individual.  There have been times when one specific modality works for a client, and in others, they need more of a hybrid approach.  

I like the ability and freedom to bring a hybrid approach to the table to help meet the needs of my clients.  I enjoy constantly learning, and I LOVE the ability to customize programming, because after all, in my opinion, human beings are more than just a body or collection of parts and pains.

That said, it does make me a good person to bounce certification questions and ideas off of.

As of the publication date of this post (1/19/2016), it's now been two-and-a-half years since I left my teaching position there.  Admittedly, I am still taken by surprise (and grateful) that I continue to receive emails asking me for my personal advice and input on getting certified with the organization versus other similar competitors.

Here's some recent messages:

"I would like to get more feedback from others that have done a lot of Egoscue, trying to decide on the investment in the training."

"I am contacting you because after doing some searching on the internet regarding pain free, posture alignment, etc, your name came out a couple of times, and I saw that a lot of people mentioned how good you are at your job, and wrote you beautiful reviews. So that led me to the decision to contact you and ask you some questions that hopefully you can advise me.  Recently I did some sessions in one of the (Egoscue Clinics) and after that I was eager to learn more and expand my career.  I am certified Personal Trainer, TRX and I used to do Zumba but I am at this point of my life (almost 50) that I would like to help people not only with the fitness goals but also with the postures and pain, and this is where I am not clear what to do. That's why I have some questions because I don't want to waste my time getting a wrong certification, I am trying to find the correct one for me.  With all your experience and all the certifications that you have, which certification would you recommend me, either to work on my own or to work for someone else? Which one do you think has more jobs opportunities? What's the pro or cons? Some of the certifications are Postural alignment Specialist (Egoscue), Corrective Exercise Specialist (TBMM-CES), Certified Posture Specialist (National Posture Institute) and Also I though about Foundation Training but I am not sure if this one it's only for back pain.  Sorry for bothering you but I thought you were the right person to ask."

"Do you think it would help for my daughter in the near future to take up the PAS certification from the Egoscue University since there is no one here in (City) to treat her?"

When I receive messages like the ones above, I ALWAYS try to give an honest and balanced reply.  

I believe it's best that individuals interested in investing in a certification (of any kind) make a decision based on good information, and not my opinion simply because I do not want to express bias, or make anyone think that what is right for me, or what I chose to do is right for them.

For me, the right certification to obtain after leaving Egoscue University was The BioMechanics Method Corrective Exercise Specialist Certification.  Recently I was given the opportunity to be interviewed by the American Council on Exercise in regards to my specialist certification.  In that ProSource article, Benefits of Specializing:  Turning Your Passion Into Income, author Carrie Myers wrote:

Deb Preachuk, founder and owner of Pain Free Posture MN, located in Lakeville, Minn., adds, “Finding a certification that allowed me to address others’ chronic pain within scope of practice, as well as provide programming that includes a full assessment, self-myofascial release and corrective exercises—which can be a hybrid of modalities—was what I really needed and found in The Biomechanics Method. This is a field of continuous learning. You must love the challenge of a problem and the process of discovering the right solutions for your clients. A one-size-fits-all approach will eventually fail.”

But that is what was best for me, and my clients.  What about yours?

What Certification Is Best For You To Pick?

First and foremost, I suggest that you do some homework.  There is a big difference in getting a certification and figuring out what you'll do with it afterward, versus doing the ground work and preparing for all the other needs you'll have first.  Basically, get prepared.

If you are already a professional in the field, figure out where you'll work or offer up your professional services?  Are you starting your own business or seeking employment elsewhere.? If elsewhere, what is the rate of pay, they hours you might gain, and expectation of you in that position.  The business you hope to be employed by may have a preference in the certification question, so it's best to start here.

One you figure those questions out, is there one specific certification course I recommend of any versus another?  Honestly, NO, I don't.  In my opinion, it is is literally impossible for me to say what is right for both you and your perspective clients future needs. 

 

I am all for higher learning.  If you want to take a certification, I think that's great - go for it.  BUT.....I do advise that you first evaluate the reasoning behind the decision.  Meaning, what are the costs/benefits?  For example:

  • What will you glean from the investment?  How will you re-coup the cost?
  • Do you want to work out of your home?  A store-front studio?  Own a clinic?
  • Do you know what the costs are and steps required to open the above aforementioned types of businesses?  
  • Have you checked with your city/town/local government or your tax accountant to find out what the legal and financial requirements are to start them?


I've seen many people over the years take certifications to deepen their understanding, and if that's all you want - fantastic.  However, here's a another really important set of questions to ask yourself.

  • Will a certification make you a good teacher/communicator?  
  • Is it your professional calling to teach, meaning, can you then teach/impart the information to others?

That's where you have to examine your gifts, talents and abilities.  I've seen many people fail after working so hard to get their certification, simply because their passion for the work of posture alignment therapy and corrective exercise is high, but it is not their gift to teach.   Weigh that carefully no matter what certification you choose.

Also, much can get lost in translation.  There is the ability to learn the content, but in my opinion there is a difference between the science (knowledge) and art (practical application).  I'd recommend you first decide if this kind of programming is viable and practical before making that kind of investment.  Some of the certifying organizations will tell you that you don't need to know much about anatomy and kinesiology, but I disagree.

Okay, so let's say that you've now gone through the first pass of pros and cons, you have a business plan in place, the finances to back it, and now you're ready to make a decision on which certification program to purchase.  Here is the standard advice I give to everyone writing or calling me with certification questions.

I advise that you to look into ALL the options available for learning more about corrective exercise and posture alignment therapy.  Indeed, there are several organizations that offer similar certifications, and some better developed and delivered than others.  The ones that I am most familiar with are,  and listed in no order of preference are:

  1. Pain Free Performance - Anthony Carey
  2. Certified Foundation Training Instructor - Dr. Eric Goodman
  3. The BioMechanics Method Corrective Exercise Specialist - Justin Price
  4. The National Posture Institute Certified Posture Specialist - Ken Baldwin
  5. Egosue University
  6. Certified Posture Exercise Professional - Dr. Steven Weinigar

Each of these organizations will tell you that theirs is the best, because let's face it.  They are all businesses first and foremost.  Some  of these organizations also require that in addition to certification you purchase an additional monthly membership to use software, discounts on continuing education and products.  It's important to know what these costs are ahead of time and wether or not you'll get value or have the ability to recoup or justify theses costs.

So in order to wade through it all and make a decision based on good information versus an appeal to emotion, I encourage you to CALL each organization.  Have a real live conversation with a representative of the company.  Ask them the tough questions.  Find out what partnering with their organization will give you in the future in terms of support.  You may be surprised to find out that some will not allow you to use their trademarks, phrasing, or list you as a provider, and others will.

Do a cost/compare analysis that reflects your business practice, mission and future goals, and choose the one that best meets the needs of your learning style and clientele base.  Each of these certifications is pricey, and you are well advised to look at the total cost of certification and what that purchase price will give you.  Find out what the additional charges are to maintain or re-certify, what the cycle of recertification is, and if that meets your budget and lifestyle.   

Another suggestion that I believe is VERY IMPORTANT when choosing a certification is to look at how the organization is viewed or recognized by organizations like American Council on Exercise or IDEAFit.  You can even do a Google search and look for more than just the glowing reviews.  Read about the negatives too.  Evaluate the validity of those conversations and how that meshes with your personal and professional integrity.  Some of these certifications are unique/independent to their own schools/organizations, so getting certified with them really means nothing in the professional world as they are stand alone certifications.  This means that there is no standardization of the certification in the professional world for a couple of them, and others are recognized and lauded for their professionalism and educational standards with well known agencies like ACE and IDEAFit.

I hope that this blog helps give you some direction and an action plan when it comes to the question of what certification is best for you.  I believe I've given practical and experience based advice and will now leave it to you to make the choices that is best for you and your clients!


If you have any
further questions, feel free to contact me.

 

Stock Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Head Photo Credit:  Melissa Thome Photography

Author:  Deb Preachuk is the founder/owner of Pain Free Posture MN.  A CF-L1 Trainer, Certified Foundation Training & STOTT Pilates Instructor, Corrective Exercise & Posture Alignment Specialist, Deb has over 25 years experience in the health and wellness field.  You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or subscribe to her YouTubePinterest or Instagram pages.