You are a personal trainer, or maybe a pilates teacher, and you wish to be recognised and to stand out from all the other personal trainers and pilates teachers in the area.
You have been practising for many years and you feel you have earned the right to be recognised for all of the ‘other’ things you do to protect your clients and provide a service that holds duty of care in high regard and you do that with a high level of professionalism.
You may have heard about the Chartered Status that CIMSPA launched having gained permission from the Crown and maybe you are wondering what it is all about? Is it worth it? What does it mean? Who is it for? Would clients care? What’s the value?
So I thought I would share my Pathway to Chartered status with you to offer insight into what is required, my personal experience and also what the experience might offer you, in my opinion..
The Short Version
Having heard about the Chartered status back in 2019 combined with a wonderfully insightful meeting with Nick Sellwood, the Chartered assessor, I felt extremely excited by what I saw as an industry game changer. The reason I felt this way was that it BEGINS to bring our sector’s professionalism a small step closer to that of our ‘regulated’ peers the clinicians (Osteo’s, physio’s, chiro’s). As ‘regulated’ practitioners they are legally expected to be registered to practise, for them having ‘chartered status’ verifies this and ca be checked, monitored and also has requirements for that status. THIS is how I see the Chartered status we have also been offered the opportunity to achieve.
As soon as I’d heard about it I felt a rush of excitement that FINALLY our industry is on its way towards being professionalised & taken seriously – by Her Majesty no less! To be recognised on a parallel of sorts with our allied health care buddies while we support the health & activity sector.
September 2020 I found myself in the first cohort…and I have to say this was one of the best Continued Professional Development projects I have done in some time…let me explain why…
Are you eligible?
WOW am I even eligible? Was I? This was literally an application process not simply purchasing a CPD. My imposter syndrome kicked in & so I had a chat with myself about the fact I WANTED this to be tough. I wanted to be taken outside my comfort zone. This was important for the recognition I felt health & activity practitioners deserved.
I didn’t want the process to be easy did I, that’s the point!
In stage 1 the eligibility criteria were relatively simple to understand but it did require evidence of experience, evidence of the application of up to date good practise, evidence of competence & CPD. Sounds simple right?
Well knowing what you have done & providing evidence of it are two very different things, I discovered! There were 3 routes to apply based upon what evidence you have of your level of education & experience combined. This could include all sorts of examples.
So I dug out my old CV & certificates folder to see what I actually had as my evidence for the things required to fulfill the criteria.
Now I have always much preferred practical sessions & discussions rather than reading text or doing written work. This has resulted in a huge amount of my ‘academic’ understanding & learning being done through professional discussions with clinically trained colleagues, who were very patient with me! In my own time I did read & research but at my own pace as I managed to find ways to learn that suited my style & pace of learning.
How could I prove everything that my clinical colleagues have taught me or what I have read…I wondered?
Nick Sellwood asked for me to write a ‘plea’ of around 200 words to explain my justification for my application to be recognised as Chartered. Once again this was literally plugging myself & felt like I was ‘selling myself’ for an interview!
He was fantastically encouraging while explaining the process & what was expected. This encouraged me to think about exactly what I was trying to achieve & so I had begun my self reflection already.
Having amassed around 84 documents of evidence, I listed them into an index for referencing due to the volume of information & resources that I felt could be used as evidence of my standards & professional practice.
By coding my index list to the Viva Interview Criteria I could ensure I covered all of them somewhere.
While I had a lot of resources for evidence I could already see areas I wanted to develop where there was less evidence or even gaps. CPD topics were clear to me before anyone had even assessed me purely based upon my own work into providing evidence to match the criteria. The criteria really made me think!
The Viva Interview
Having been sent the questions in advance I was able to prepare. It was also another opportunity to submit further evidence I might want to refer to as part of my responses to any questions I may be asked.
There were 10 main criteria questions & each once had between 4-10 smaller criteria. Somethings were easy to cross reference & others I felt I would need to explain – like my professional discussions over 16 years with clinically trained colleagues.
My Viva Assessor & I communicated via email prior to the interview & she really was reassuring about everything. So much so I found myself actually really looking forward to the Viva interview!
This interview, I was told, could be up to 3 hrs & while there are the criteria questions, the assessor may ask additional questions to offer an opportunity to explain in more detail how certain areas may have been reached, practised, delivered etc.
During the interview I was offered regular breaks & weirdly I enjoyed this exploration of my career as I was realising just how much I HAD done rather than feeling that sense of imposter syndrome from feelings lacking in my skills & training.
This was an opportunity to self reflect & deepen my understanding of the level of professionalism & duty of care I could demonstrate along with the resources I had created & the pathway a client may take through my involvement with them. This allowed me to be exposed to know what I needed to do to improve my practice.
The interview is transcribed within 72hrs & I even had the opportunity to review & amend once more at this point.
Assessment & Internal/External Verification
Within a couple of weeks I had my result!
I had scored 159/195 points….could I have achieved higher? Possibly but I didn’t need to, however it gave me all I needed to plan my future CPD’s!
So I am now A Chartered Health & Activity Practitioner!!
WOW it felt, & still feels, great!
Do I recommend it? 100% YES!
What does this actually mean?
What is the point of Chartered Status?
- Status! Clients never ask to see certificates of evidence but by promoting the fact I have it, they see the stamp as that of quality, comparable in the sense of any other Chartered professional. I can tell them I am Chartered & most people would know that means something above the ordinary.
- Employability – in a list of candidates guess who would be noticed when applying for a position?
- Our industry starts to gain recognition as more & more of us become Chartered.
- I am held accountable by my agreement to uphold a high level of professional practice.
- My marketing can now include my status!
Will you be able to provide the required evidence?
Well that is the challenge….my evidence goes back to 1997……but that’s The Long Version!
So what do you need to achieve Chartered status?
Relevant consistent CPD
Good practice protocols
Evidence of client success
Passion for what you do
A desire to improve our industry
A desire to change the image we have
An open mind to critique
A desire to stand out
Are you Chartered yet?
Would you like to be?
What evidence do you have?
Would you like help to become Chartered?
Becoming a Biomechanics Coach will equip you with more confidence to apply so why not get in touch to find out more?