Starting in the spring of 2005, aspiring personal trainers will have another path to reach their dream job – a four-year degree at Purdue University.

The first ever 4-year academic program for personal training was pushed through after two years of work and convincing by Ken Baldwin, a former health club owner and the assistant director of fitness at Purdue.

“The faculty and staff here didn’t at first understand the personal training business,” Baldwin said. “When they learned that people don’t need college programs to be certified, they were shocked.”

Baldwin says the Health and Kinesology Department’s main goal now is for the profession to become college and academic oriented. Roger Seehafer, professor of health promotion in the department, said that this program will hopefully set the standard in the field. Seehafer says Purdue was aware of some issues in the personal training business that needed to be addressed.

“We did not sense that there was a set of guidelines of excellence or accreditation that was nationally accepted,” Seehafer said. “We were also aware of the increasing sensitivity to the legal and related implications in the field.”

In the program, students will learn how to be educators of movement, how to communicate, how to work with the outside allied health industry and learn about behavioral change. Students will also learn the ins and outs of fitness management and business and have hands-on experience with eight different, six-week rotations in cardiac rehab, physical therapy, athletic training, senior fitness, commercial health clubs, children’s fitness, corporate fitness and the non-profit sector.

Students will walk out of the program with an undergraduate degree in health and fitness, with a concentration in personal fitness training.

*Come see Ken Baldwin at the Club Industry 2004 Show from Oct. 13-16, at the McCormick Place in Chicago. Baldwin will be presenting "Developing Educationally Based Personal Training Sessions" on Friday, Oct. 15 from 8:30-10:00 a.m.