|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (June 2010)|
A fitness professional is a professional in the field of fitness and exercise, most often instruction (fitness instructor), including aerobics and yoga instructors and authors of fitness instruction books or manuals. Fitness topics may also include nutrition, weight-loss, and self-help. Fitness careers are distinguished from exercise science careers such as athletic training, however the various types of fitness certifications have more and more in common: the, "distinctions...have become blurred, with more similarities than differences given the common background that all fitness professionals must possess."
Fitness instuctors screen participants for exercise programs, evaluate various fitness components, prescribe exercise to improve these components, and may also help people with specific or chronic conditions.
Certified fitness instructors must maintain up-to-date on all certifications in order to instruct at particular health clubs and gyms. Often, fitness professionals will have some education in kinesiology, anatomy, and biomechanics to aid in their fitness career.
In Canada, Canadian Fitness Education Services (CFES) provides national fitness leadership program modules to take candidates through the steps in Aquafit, Group Fitness and/or Weight Training Instructor and Personal Trainer national certification.
Personal training, Athletic training, and physical therapy are all technically distinct specialties with different processes and requirements for certification. In the United States the main certifying agency for personal trainers is ACSM (the American College of Sports Medicine), while the main certifying agency for athletic trainers is NATA (the National Athletic Trainers' Association). Obtaining certification or licensure as a physical therapist requires that you attend and graduate from a masters or doctoral program in physical therapy.
Fitness Industry Professionals Organisations by Country
In Canada, Canadian Fitness Education Services (CFES) provides national fitness leadership program modules to take candidates through the steps in Aquafit, Group Fitness and/or Weight Training Instructor and Personal Trainer national certification. 
As the world's largest fitness educator, AFAA delivers comprehensive cognitive and practical education for fitness professionals, grounded in industry research, using both traditional and innovative modalities. AFAA upholds Basic Exercise Standards and Guidelines for safe fitness practice.
The goals of AFAA are to:
Serve the AFAA fitness professional by developing programs and certifications beneficial to and of interest for the fitness industry; -enhance the working development of fitness professionals by facilitating opportunities for learning and individual growth; -establish standards and guidelines for the delivery of quality and professional fitness services and business practices, as well as the development of ethics statements for AFAA fitness professionals; -collaborate with public and private industries on the development of programs and services to increase the awareness of fitness education and its benefits to individuals and communities; -network with other industry organizations to advance the knowledge of fitness education and professional practices by initiating and disseminating research findings.
Fitness Australia is the national health and fitness industry association and is committed to achieving a Fitter, Healthier Australia. Never before have Australians been more aware of the importance of a fit and healthy lifestyle. Fitness Australia recognises the important role of the fitness industry in improving the health of all Australians.
The Fitness Australia Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) is a register which recognises the qualifications, expertise and experience of fitness instructors and personal trainers in Australia.
Fitness Australia's REPs provides assurance and confidence to consumers, employers and health professionals that all registered exercise professionals are qualified and have the knowledge, skills and competence to perform specific roles. Registered exercise professionals are acknowledged for their professionalism, adherence to industry standards and commitment to ongoing professional development. 
Launched in 2002, REPs is an independent, public register which recognises the qualifications and expertise of health-enhancing exercise instructors in the UK. REPs provides a system of regulation for instructors and trainers to ensure that they meet the health and fitness industry’s agreed National Occupational Standards. 
The International Confederation of Registers of Exercise Professionals (ICREPS) is an international partnership between registration bodies around the world that register exercise professionals.
The purpose of ICREPS  is to promote portability of qualified exercise professionals through the co-operation and affiliation of national registration schemes. ICREPS exists to serve the worldwide community of exercise professionals through an agreed framework of knowledge and competency standards which are set for professionals and agreed nationally. These standards have been mapped and form the basis of reciprocal agreements. They are recognised through an independent registration process.
The members of the Confederation are the registers for exercise professionals operating in:
Australia New Zealand United Kingdom European Union Register which is known as EREPs South Africa
There are a number of steps that you will need to consider if you want to enter into the fitness and leisure industry as a personal trainer. Of paramount importance is the "Accreditation" of your qualification. You then need to consider being employed or choosing to set up your own business, insurance, marketing and finally what further Continued Professional Development (CPD) path you want to follow.
There are sites dedicated to helping find the best fitness course for you there are a number of services out there which can help you towards becoming a fitness professional. These websites are designed to help the end user easily compare and asses courses based on their situation and location. Below are some listed examples;
America - Ace Fitness
Australia - We Compare Fitness
UK - Fitness Industry Education 
- Accredited Organizations Offering Fitness Certifications., OrangeCountyFitness.org, 2010
- Howley, Edward and Franks, B. Don (2007). Fitness Professional's Handbook, p.ix. 5th Edition. ISBN 0-7360-6178-9.
- Link, Alexandra. "What's the Difference Between a Personal Trainer, Athletic Trainer and Physical Therapist?". ACE Fitness. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- "Get Certified". American College of Sports Medicine. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- "Physical Therapist (PT) Education Overview". American Physical Therapy Association. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- "CFES Official site". http://www.canadianfitness.net/. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
- "AFAA Official Site". Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
- "Fitness Australia". fitness.org.au. Retrieved 2014-10-08.
- "REPs". exerciseregistar.org. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
- "ICREPS Official Site". exerciseregister.org. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
- "Finding the Right Personal Trainer Course". nrpt.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
- "Personal Trainer Certification Comparison". acefitness.org. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
- "Fitness Course Comparison". wecomparefitness.com.au. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
- "Fitness Industry Education". fintessindustrydeuctaion.com. Retrieved 2014-10-06.