SENATE, No. 2164

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED OCTOBER 6, 2008

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator PAUL A. SARLO

District 36 (Bergen, Essex and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     “Fitness Professionals Licensing Act.”

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act providing for the licensing of fitness professionals and the registration of certain employers, supplementing Title 45 of the Revised Statutes and amending various parts of the statutory law.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section)  This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Fitness Professionals Licensing Act.”

 

     2.    (New section)  As used in this act:

     “Board” means the State Board of Fitness Professionals.

     “Exercise facility” means a health club, fitness center, wellness center, private personal training studio, yoga studio, martial arts studio, Pilates studio, or any facility that sells or offers for sale group exercise instruction.  An exercise facility shall not include medical offices, chiropractor offices or physical therapy centers or any facility that operates as a non-profit entity.

     “Fitness professional” means a personal trainer or a group fitness instructor who is licensed as a fitness professional pursuant to the provisions of this act.

     “Group fitness instructor” means an individual who instructs more than one person at one time, with or without equipment, in exercises designed to improve cardiovascular conditioning, muscular strength, flexibility and weight loss in classes that include, but are not limited to, martial arts, Pilates, yoga, kickboxing, boot camp, spinning and  any other group class that is taught at an exercise facility.

     “Personal trainer” means a person who evaluates an individual's health and physical fitness; develops a personal exercise plan or program for an individual; and demonstrates, with or without equipment, exercises designed to improve cardiovascular condition muscular strength, flexibility and weight loss.

 

     3.    (New section)  a.  There is created within the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety the State Board of Fitness Professionals.  The board shall consist of seven members who are residents of the State, two of whom shall be public members appointed pursuant to the provisions of subsection b. of section 2 of P.L.1971, c.60 (C.45:1-2.2) and one of whom shall be a member of the Executive Branch appointed in fulfillment of the requirement of subsection c. of that section. The four remaining members shall have been actively engaged in practice as a fitness professional for at least five years immediately preceding their appointment and all of whom, except for the members first appointed, shall be licensed as fitness professionals pursuant to this act.  Each of the four fitness professional members first appointed shall possess an associate's degree or a bachelor’s degree in physical education, exercise science, exercise physiology or adult fitness.

     b.    The Governor shall appoint each member, other than the State executive department member, for terms of three years, except that of the fitness professionals first appointed, two shall serve for a term of three years, one shall serve for a term of two years and one shall serve for a term of one year; and of the public members first appointed, one shall serve for a term of three years and one shall serve for a term of two years.  Each member shall hold office until his successor has been qualified.  Any vacancy in the membership of the board shall be filled for the unexpired term in the manner provided for the original appointment.  No member of the board may serve more than two successive terms in addition to any unexpired term to which he has been appointed.

 

     4.    (New section)  Members of the board shall be compensated and reimbursed for expenses and provided with office and meeting facilities and personnel required for the proper conduct of the board’s business.

 

     5.    (New section)  The board shall annually elect from among its members a chairman and a vice-chairman and may appoint a secretary, who need not be a member of the board.  The board shall meet at least twice a year and may hold additional meetings as necessary to discharge its duties.

 

     6.    (New section)  The board shall have the following powers and duties:

     a.     Administer and enforce the provisions of this act;

     b.    Issue and renew licenses to fitness professionals pursuant to the provisions of this act;

     c.     Suspend, revoke or not renew the license of a fitness professional pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1978, c.73 (C.45:1-14 et seq.);

     d.    Establish standards for the continuing education of fitness professionals;

     e.     Adopt and publish a code of ethics and standards of practice for licensed fitness professionals;

     f.     Prescribe or change the charges for examinations, licensures, renewals and other services performed pursuant to pursuant to section13 of this act and P.L.1974, c.46 (C.45:1-3.1 et seq.); and

     g.     Maintain a record of every fitness professional licensed in this State and the date and number of his license.


     7.    (New section)  No person shall use the words “fitness professional,” “licensed fitness professional,” “personal trainer,” “licensed personal trainer,” “group fitness instructor,” or “licensed group fitness instructor” nor provide, present, call or represent himself as able to practice fitness training, personal training or group fitness instruction unless licensed in accordance with the provisions of this act.

 

     8.    (New section)  To be eligible for licensure as a fitness professional, an applicant shall fulfill the following requirements:

     a.     Be of good moral character;

     b.    Have successfully completed high school or its equivalent;

     c.     (1) (a) Have successfully completed an approved course of study of not less than 300 in-person classroom hours, as prescribed by the board after consultation with the Department of Education and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which shall include not less than 50 hours of an unpaid internship in the presence of and under the direct supervision of, a licensed fitness professional, which internship shall be provided by the school providing the approved course of study; and (b) have passed an examination administered or approved by the board; or (2) possess an associate's degree or a bachelor’s degree in physical education, exercise science, exercise physiology or adult fitness.

 

     9.    (New section)  The board shall issue to any person upon application a license to practice as a fitness professional, if the applicant meets the requirements of subsections a. and b. of section 8 of this act and: a. has been engaged as a personal trainer or a group fitness instructor prior to the effective date of this act; b. holds a current certificate from the National Board of Fitness Examiners, or any organization approved by the board, to practice personal training; and c. provides proof to the board that the individual is enrolled in or has completed an approved course of study of not less than 150 in-person classroom hours, as prescribed by the board after consultation with the Department of Education and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which course of study shall be completed no later than 18 months following the promulgation of initial regulations by the board.   

 

     10.  (New section)  a.  Every business engaged in providing the services of fitness professionals shall register biennially with the board as a condition of doing business in this State.

     b.    A written application for registration shall be made to the board on the form prescribed by the board and shall contain the following information:

     (1)   The name and residence or principal place of business of the owner or operator of the business engaged in providing the services of fitness professionals;

     (2)   The name and license number of any fitness professional employed by the business or any fitness professional who uses the exercise facility to provide personal training or group fitness instruction as an independent contractor;

     (3)   The municipality and location of the primary place of business of the business engaged in providing the services of fitness professionals and the locations of all other branches of the business; and

     (4)   Any other biographical information of the applicant as required by the board.

     c.     Each applicant for registration and each registrant pursuant to the provisions of this section shall pay to the board a fee for the issuance of a two-year registration in the amount established by the board in accordance with the provisions of P.L.1974, c.46 (C.45:1-3.1 et seq.).

 

     11.  (New section)  A professional specialty designation may be added by the board to the licensed fitness professional’s credentials issued by the board upon demonstration to the board that the applicant has met the recognized minimum standards for that specialty designation as established by the board.  A licensed professional counselor shall not claim or advertise a counseling specialty and shall not incorporate the specialty designation into his professional title unless the qualifications of that specialty have been met as determined by the board and the licensed fitness professional’s competence in the specialty as approved by the board.

 

     12.  (New section)  The board may suspend or revoke the registration of an employer offering personal training or group fitness instruction upon proof showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the employer:

     a.     Has made false or misleading statements of a material nature in the application for registration; or

     b.    Failed to demonstrate that each employee of the business engaged in providing the services of fitness professionals and is in possession of a license to practice as a fitness professional.

 

     13.  (New section)  a.  The board shall by rule or regulation establish, prescribe or change the fees for licenses, renewals of licenses or other services provided by the board pursuant to the provisions of this act.  Licenses shall be issued for a period of two years and be biennially renewable, except that the board may, in order to stagger the expiration dates thereof, provide that those licenses first issued or renewed after the effective date of this act shall expire or become void on a date fixed by the board, not sooner than six months nor later than 29 months after the date of issue.

     b.    Fees shall be established, prescribed or changed by the board to the extent necessary to defray all proper expenses incurred by the board, and any staff employed to administer this act, except that fees shall not be fixed at a level that will raise amounts in excess of the amount estimated to be so required.

     c.     All fees and any fines imposed by the board shall be paid to the board and shall be forwarded to the State Treasurer and become part of the General Fund.

 

     14.  (New section)  The provisions of this act shall not apply to any person licensed by the State to practice: medicine and surgery; physical therapy; chiropractic; or athletic training if that person is acting within the scope of practice of his profession.

 

     15.  (New section)  The board shall require each fitness professional, as a condition for biennial license renewal pursuant to section 13 of this act, to complete 25 credit hours of continuing education requirements imposed by the board pursuant to sections 16 through 18 of this act.

 

     16.  (New section)  a. The board shall:

     (1)   Establish standards for continuing education, including the subject matter and content of courses of study and the selection of instructors;

     (2)   Approve educational programs offering continuing education credits; and

     (3)   Approve other equivalent educational programs and establish procedures for the issuance of credit upon satisfactory proof of the completion of these programs.

     b.    In the case of education courses and programs, each hour of instruction shall be equivalent to one credit.

 

     17.  (New section)  The board may, in its discretion, waive requirements for continuing education on an individual basis for reasons of hardship such as illness or disability, retirement of a license, or other good cause.

 

     18.  (New section)  The board shall require completion of continuing education credits on a pro rata basis for any registration periods commencing more than 12 but less than 24 months following the effective date of this act.

 

     19.  Section 1 of P.L.1971, c.60 (C.45:1-2.1) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    The provisions of this act shall apply to the following boards and commissions: the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy, the New Jersey State Board of Architects, the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling, the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors, the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry, the State Board of Mortuary Science of New Jersey, the State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, the State Board of Medical Examiners, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, the New Jersey State Board of Optometrists, the State Board of Examiners of Ophthalmic Dispensers and Ophthalmic Technicians, the Board of Pharmacy, the State Board of Professional Planners, the State Board of Psychological Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers, the New Jersey Real Estate Commission, the State Board of Court Reporting, the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, the Radiologic Technology Board of Examiners, the Acupuncture Examining Board, the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the State Board of Respiratory Care, the State Real Estate Appraiser Board, the State Board of Social Work Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors, and the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, the Orthotics and Prosthetics Board of Examiners, the New Jersey Cemetery Board, the State Board of Polysomnography, the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy , the State Board of Fitness Professionals and any other entity hereafter created under Title 45 to license or otherwise regulate a profession or occupation.

(cf:  P.L.2007, c.337, s.10)

 

     20.  Section 1 of P.L.1974, c.46 (C.45:1-3.1) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    The provisions of this act shall apply to the following boards and commissions:  the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy, the New Jersey State Board of Architects, the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling, the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors, the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry, the State Board of Mortuary Science of New Jersey, the State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, the State Board of Medical Examiners, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, the New Jersey State Board of Optometrists, the State Board of Examiners of Ophthalmic Dispensers and Ophthalmic Technicians, the Board of Pharmacy, the State Board of Professional Planners, the State Board of Psychological Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers, the State Board of Court Reporting, the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, the Radiologic Technology Board of Examiners, the Acupuncture Examining Board, the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the State Board of Respiratory Care, the State Real Estate Appraiser Board, the New Jersey Cemetery Board, the State Board of Social Work Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors, the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, the State Board of Polysomnography, the Orthotics and Prosthetics Board of Examiners, the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy , the State Board of Fitness Professionals and any other entity hereafter created under Title 45 to license or otherwise regulate a profession or occupation.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.337, s.11)

 

     21.  Section 2 of P.L.1978, c.73 (C.45:1-15) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    The provisions of this act shall apply to the following boards and all professions or occupations regulated by, through or with the advice of those boards:  the New Jersey State Board of Accountancy, the New Jersey State Board of Architects, the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling, the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors, the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry, the State Board of Mortuary Science of New Jersey, the State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, the State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners, the State Board of Medical Examiners, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, the New Jersey State Board of Optometrists, the State Board of Examiners of Ophthalmic Dispensers and Ophthalmic Technicians, the Board of Pharmacy, the State Board of Professional Planners, the State Board of Psychological Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers, the State Board of Court Reporting, the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the State Board of Respiratory Care, the State Real Estate Appraiser Board, the State Board of Social Work Examiners, the State Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors, the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, the State Board of Polysomnography, the Professional Counselor Examiners Committee, the New Jersey Cemetery Board, the Orthotics and Prosthetics Board of Examiners, the Occupational Therapy Advisory Council, the Electrologists Advisory Committee, the Acupuncture Advisory Committee, the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee, the Athletic Training Advisory Committee, the Certified Psychoanalysts Advisory Committee, the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, and Locksmith Advisory Committee, the Home Inspection Advisory Committee, the Interior Design Examination and Evaluation Committee, the Hearing Aid Dispensers Examining Committee, the Landscape Architect Examination and Evaluation Committee, the Perfusionists Advisory Committee, the Physician Assistant Advisory Committee, and the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Committee, the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy , the State Board of Fitness Professionals and any other entity hereafter created under Title 45 to license or otherwise regulate a profession or occupation.

(cf:  P.L.2007, c.337, s.12)

     22.  The board shall adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

 

     23.  This act shall take effect on the 365th day next following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill provides for the licensing of fitness professionals.  It establishes a seven member “State Board of Fitness Professionals” in the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.  The board shall consist of seven members who are residents of the State, two of whom shall be public members and one of whom shall be a member of the Executive Branch.  The four remaining members shall have been actively engaged in practice as  fitness professionals for at least five years immediately preceding their appointment and all of whom, except for the members first appointed, shall be licensed as fitness professionals pursuant to the bill.

     The bill defines a “fitness professional” as a personal trainer or a group fitness instructor who is licensed as a fitness professional pursuant to the provisions of the bill.

     To be eligible for licensure as a fitness professional, an applicant must:

·        be of good moral character; and

·        have successfully completed high school or its equivalent; and

·        have successfully completed an approved course of study of not less than 300 in-person classroom hours, as prescribed by the board after consultation with the Department of Education and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which shall include not less than 50 hours of an unpaid internship in the presence of and under the direct supervision of, a licensed fitness professional, which internship shall be provided by the school providing the approved course of study; and (b) have passed an examination administered or approved by the board; or (2) possess an associate's or bachelor’s degree in physical education, exercise science, exercise physiology or adult fitness.

     The bill stipulates that no person shall use the words “fitness professional,” “licensed fitness professional,” “personal trainer,” “licensed personal trainer,” “group fitness instructor,” or “licensed group fitness instructor” nor provide, present, call or represent himself as able to practice fitness training, personal training or group fitness instruction unless licensed in accordance with the provisions of this bill.

     The bill provides that a person currently acting as a fitness professional may receive a license from the board provided that the applicant meets certain requirements and:  has been engaged in practice as a fitness professional for compensation prior to the effective date of the bill; holds a current certificate from the National Board of Fitness Examiners, or any organization approved by the board, to practice as a fitness professional; and provides proof to the board that the individual is enrolled in an approved course of study of not less than 150 in-person classroom hours, as prescribed by the board, which course of study shall be completed no later than 18 months following the promulgation of regulations by the board.

     Fitness professional licenses shall be issued for a period of two years and be biennially renewable, except that the board may, in order to stagger the expiration dates thereof, provide that those licenses first issued or renewed after the effective date of this bill shall expire or become void on a date fixed by the board, not sooner than six months nor later than 29 months after the date of issue.

     The bill also provides that the provisions of the bill shall not apply to any person licensed by the State to practice: medicine and surgery; physical therapy; chiropractic; or athletic training if that person is acting within the scope of practice of his profession.

     The bill also provides that the board shall require each fitness professional, as a condition for biennial license renewal, to complete 25 credit hours of continuing education requirements.  In furtherance of that requirement, the board shall: establish standards for continuing education, including the subject matter and content of courses of study and the selection of instructors; approve educational programs offering continuing education credits; and approve other equivalent educational programs and establish procedures for the issuance of credit upon satisfactory proof of the completion of these programs.