American Aerobic Association International and the International Sports Medicine Association combine to form the fitness certification association known as AAAI/ISMA. The organization provides training, certification and continuing professional development through conferences and educational programs. AAAI/ISMA offers certification to fitness professionals who complete the training program and pass an exam. According to AAAI/ISMA, its certification programs are developed by physicians and exercise physiologists. Coursework includes exercise science, movement technique and sports medicine.
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AAAI/ISMA offers certifications in 26 specialties which include yoga instructor, sports nutrition, kickboxing, personal fitness trainer, cycling and total body strength. The association also offers two expert certifications: fitness expert and aerobic expert. AAAI/ISMA recommends completion of at least three of its specialty certifications, or possession of a Bachelor of Science in a fitness-related field, before attempting the fitness or aerobic expert exams.
Educational Certification Workshops
AAAI/ISMA requires you to study the written material it provides before attending the local educational certification workshops taught by the association's faculty. Each faculty trainer has earned a Master’s Degree, Ph.D. or M.D. Workshop participants discuss the study material, view anatomy and physiology presentations, and learn the techniques and movement skills related to their areas of certification. The association holds its local certification workshops throughout the country and publishes a calendar of workshops on its website.
AAAI/ISMA practical and theoretical exams are designed to test your knowledge of physiology and anatomy and your ability to perform the skills required for your certification. If you do not pass the certification exam, you may pay a re-test fee to take it again for up to one year. AAAI/ISMA offers the three-hour fitness and aerobic expert exams only at its Connections or conferences. According to AAAI/ISMA, test questions on the expert exams are created by its faculty and fitness industry leaders and are based on coursework you would encounter in an exercise physiology program leading to a Master’s Degree.
Certification and Renewal
Your AAAI/ISMA certification is valid for two years, during which time you are required to earn eight continuing education credits for certification renewal. You can renew your certification by participating in local continuing education workshops or through attendance at national and international AAAI/ISMA conferences. The workshops and conferences teach movement technique and new fitness education material. You may also renew your certifications, expanding your credentials with new certifications. To renew your certification, send your expiring certification, the processing fee and your original continuing education credit documentation. AAAI/ISMA purportedly renews certifications within five weeks of receiving this information.
AAAI/ISMA does not have online registration for its certification workshops, as of 2011. You must call the organization’s office to register. The AAAI/ISMA website has an online form you can complete and submit to request more information. AAAI/ISMA invites qualified fitness professionals to teach or host its certification workshops.