'Tis the season of a lot of different things...
Starbucks has their holiday cups, lovely!
Your car has a thin layer of frost in the morning, great!
The mountains have a thin layer of white on the top of them, very aesthetic! (Sorry, it's a Vermont thing...)
It's also renewal season for training certifications, yippee!
The NSCA needs a check, FMS needs a pay day, USA Weightlifting also needs theirs! Such a glorious time of year indeed.
Despite the somewhat condescending intro to this, I happily pay my re-certification fee's each year. I'm not a big 'certification' guy, per say, but I do find value in having certifications. I'll go one step further and say that it's every Personal Trainer/ Strength Coach's due diligence to have an active certification that relates to their desired training demographic.
1) It shows a baseline of knowledge.
I'm not naive enough to think that a book and test will teach you everything you need to know about coaching people in the weight room. Not at all. However, I do think that a certification shows that you possess a solid baseline of general health/wellness/fitness principles. You understand heart rate, you have a little exposure to behavior change, and you know the difference between a set and a rep.
2) It shows you give a shit
My website, my opinion, right? By maintaining your certification(s) you are showing our industry respect. My mother is a Hair Stylist and still maintains her state license after 30+ years of owning and operating her own salon. Why? Because she respects her industry. As a Strength Coach, if I failed to renew my CSCS what image am I portraying? That I am above other industry professionals? Check your ego, give a shit, maintain your credentials.
Last but not least...
3) Your clients expect it.
When I speak with parents during our new athlete assessment one of the most frequently asked questions is "what makes you qualified to work with youth athletes?". Part of this is definitely parents looking to build trust with a new person they are entrusting with their child, and part of it could absolutely be curiosity. However, after I explain all of our Coaches educational backgrounds, how we all differ and how we all compliment each other via degree's and various certifications, I can't help but feel (every time) that the parent was quizzing me.
Again, certifications are not the end-all-be-all of the training world, but they show base level competence, respect for yourself and the industry you work in, and also deliver on early client expectations.