Fitness Technician Program Bounces Back

August 27, 2014 -- CNM’s Fitness Technician Certificate program has been reborn. Vanessa Mikan, Ph.D., was hired last year to revitalize the program.
July 16, 2015

“The program operated without a director for several years,” Mikan said. “There was some testing in the classes, but no standardization or consistency in the courses.”

That has changed over the past year for all of the fitness classes – which range from yoga to extreme conditioning and Fireline fitness to bowling. And, with the debut of a Physical Fitness 1 manual, the class is being taught to strict standards. A similar manual for Physical Fitness 2 is in the works. Lecture courses, which are also a part of the certificate program, were completely redesigned. The courses are now tailored to provide students with knowledge and skills needed to successfully pass the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and American Fitness Aerobics Association (AFAA) national exams.

To make the changes, Mikan worked closely with the faculty, building relationships with them.

“We have become a strong group who are all on board for change,” she said. “The faculty worked hard at raising the bar.”

fit2.jpgPart-time faculty members include Jody Coletta, Debbie Romero, Scott Romero, Elias Romero, Cheryl Martinez, Leslie Kranz, Olga Johnson and Cristy Chavez. Both Debbie Romero and Elias Romero are graduates of the CNM Fitness Technician Program.

The Fitness Technician Certificate program consists of three stages, done over three terms. They include lecture courses that cover exercise physiology, kinesiology and exercise testing, and an abundance of physical fitness classes, which are one hour each and provide students with the opportunity to experience a wide variety of exercises. Finally, the students are required to do an internship.

“After taking all the classes, doing an internship and studying for the certification programs, the students become true fitness professionals,” Mikan said.

Mikan says she sees real success stories in the students. Previously, the program had low student retention and not many graduates. This year, she has 10 students participating in internships. Nine will be graduating within the first year. The students interned as personal trainers at Horn YMCA, Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness and Absolute Results. In addition, six of the students are registered to take the ASCM certification in September. Two will be taking the AFAA exam.

In spring 2015, fitness classes will be offered at other CNM campuses for the first time. An associate degree program is being considered for fall 2015.

“We have become a successful program that is respected in the community,” Mikan said.