The Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) announced it is offering a new three-day Personal Fitness Trainer (PFT) certification course that will help personal trainers prepare for the National Boards, a new program of standardized testing from the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE).

In a message posted on the Web to members yesterday evening, AFAA President Linda Pfeffer said, “We are excited to have received provisional approval from the NBFE for AFAA’s new PFT Certification Course…Of course, we cannot guarantee that everyone who takes and passes the AFAA PFT Certification Course will pass the National Boards, but it’s the best way to get started on preparing for the new exams.”

The new course has both a written and practical examination and replaces AFAA’s previously offered Personal Trainer certification course. Vital Research, a national accreditation agency, has accredited the curriculum and exam.

AFAA also announced that it has been granted affiliate status by NBFE.

“AFAA has been invited by NBFE to participate, along with other NBFE affiliates, in the development of the National Boards, including both the written and practical exams,” Pfeffer said in the message. “The written and practical exams will be developed under the supervision of the prestigious National Board of Medical Examiners, the most highly respected testing authority that tests the competencies of physicians and allied health professionals.”

The message also stated that the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) recently met with the NBFE to express its support for written and practical exams for the fitness industry. Both are discussing and planning for qualified certification organizations to assist in the delivery of practical exams for personal trainers.

Starting in January or February 2005, the “beta” version of the written component of the National Boards will be tested by the NBFE. The final version of the exam will be offered starting in April 2005, and the practical component will be ready toward the end of 2005.

To participate in the beta-testing phase or for more information go to www.nbfe.org or www.afaa.com.