Functional Aging Specialist Certification

by Cody Sipe, PhD and Dan Ritchie, PhD

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Note: Upon purchasing, you will receive an email from the Functional Aging Institute (FAI) on the next business day, with your login details.

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Feel confident developing safe and effective individualized exercise programs that have the potential to transform the lives of older adults.

The Functional Aging Specialist program was built upon the Functional Aging Training Model (FATM), which was developed from the well-established theory of function known as the Modified Disablement Model (used by the World Health Organization). Using this model, along with 25 years of combined fitness experience, functional aging experts Dan Ritchie, Ph.D. and Cody Sipe, Ph.D., developed this innovative and effective approach to functional training. Dan and Cody have shared their knowledge and expertise with tens of thousands of trainers worldwide, and are considered to be the industry leaders in functional aging.

The Functional Aging Specialist program, offered by the Functional Aging Institute, will provide you with an in-depth understanding of functional training strategies and movements; how to conduct meaningful assessments of function; how to develop individualized exercise programs; and how to train safely while providing stimulus for life-changing results.

  • Become a specialist and expert in a huge and growing market
  • Increase your demand and potential client base through specialized training
  • Take advantage of this rare opportunity to receive an internationally recognized credential at a discounted price

Available Course Credits


Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the growth of the aging population from a global perspective
  2. List common myths about growing older and describe why they are wrong
  3. Define key terms associated with aging
  4. Recall what studies on Masters’ athletes have taught us about primary and secondary aging
  5. Describe the effects of age on performance in Masters’ athletes
  6. List typical physiological changes that have been attributed to the aging process
  7. Specifically describe changes in the neuromuscular, skeletal, cardiometabolic and cognitive systems with age
  8. Identify the general effects of exercise on the aging neuromuscular, skeletal, cardiometabolic and cognitive systems.
  9. Describe the Hierarchy of Physical Function
  10. Describe the Nagi Model of Disablement
  11. List the components of function
  12. Recall aerobic exercise guidelines for older adults and how to monitor intensity
  13. Identify the importance of appropriate health and fitness assessment for mature clients
  14. List the three criteria for selecting assessments

Course Procedure

To become a Functional Aging Specialist, you must complete all the components listed below and pass three exams associated with the material. Upon successful completion of all lessons, you will be recognized as a Functional Aging Specialist by the Functional Aging Institute (FAI).

In addition, you will be added to the FAI's certified professional map, where potential clients can find a FAI certified trainer in their area. Please note: This specialist program has a renewal period of two years. To renew, you must report 40 CEUs to FAI and pay a renewal fee of $49.

Once enrolled in this curriculum, visit to access the course.

Course Content

Functional Aging Institute Specialist Certification

Instructor Bios


2014 PFP Trainer of the Year
Dan Ritchie has a broad background in the fitness industry including training and management in commercial and university/hospital-based fitness, for-profit, not for-profit and educational facilities.


2005 IDEA Program Director of the Year
Cody Sipe has an extensive background in the fitness industry with 20 years of experience as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, program director, exercise physiologist and club owner.


Fitness Goals of Boomer and Senior Clients

Five Things That Make Mature Clients Different


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The biggest thing that I learned was how important assessment is for the aging population. It sets the foundation for everything else you are going to do. The second biggest thing is to gage what they do based off the assessment to make everything they do purposeful. That straight line between assessment and purpose, and getting them results, is something that is really lacking in today’s industry. I was blown away by the quality of the information. It was detailed and easy to absorb.
   Joe Weaver

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Even though I have been a trainer working with older adults for most of my career, this is really taking it to the next level. This brought a whole new life to my training career.
   Jim Hart

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This tool has been something that has been missing in our industry for years. I have been a medical exercise specialist for over 26 years in a 45-year career. A lot of the principles and the reason I have taken this course is after reading FAI material that I have been following for 5 years. FAI covers a lot of material from respectful sources. I really appreciate the power and movement training over training specific muscle groups. In addition, I am picking up new techniques and fine tuning what I know based on the research that FAI has done.
   Michael D.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I gained a lot of knowledge and I have really enjoyed it. Created a lot of momentum for training this age group.
   Bryce Henson


Q: Does this information only apply to working with "old" clients?
A: This is also where the Functional Aging Specialist Certification differentiates itself. While the philosophies, strategies, techniques and exercises that are taught are targeted towards the 55-75 year old population, they are effective with both younger and older clients as well. At FAI we use these same techniques to train clients in their 40’s and 50’s, as well as clients in their 80’s and 90’s, making this program a perfect fit for the rapidly expanding Boomer population.

Q: How long does it take to complete the certification?
A: While this will vary considerably depending on your current level of knowledge and skill regarding training older adults, and the time and effort you put into study, we estimate that the average individual should take 3-4 weeks learning and practicing the material before taking the certification exam.

Q: How long is the certification good for?
A: The Certification is good for 2 years. Complete renewal information will be made available once the certification is completed.

Q: What are the pre-requisites for completing the certification?
A: Current CPR or Basic Life Support certification is the only requirement – although it is recommended that you have a degree in the field, hold a personal training certification, or preferably, both.

Q: How many times can I take the certification exam?
A: You have 3 attempts to pass the test. A score of 80% or greater is required to pass.

Q: How long do I have to complete all the educational modules before taking the test? A: You will have indefinite access to educational modules. You have 6 months from the date of purchase to successfully complete the certification exam.

Q: Why does a Certified Trainer need this Certification?
A: This is a unique program in the area of “senior fitness” and represents the first real breakthrough in training methods for mature adults in decades. It is the only program that will fully prepare you to work with the Boomer and Senior client and position yourself in your market as an expert at training mature clients.

Q: Is a current CPR certification required?
A: Yes, in order to take the Functional Aging Specialist Certification exam you must verify that you have a current CPR or Basic Life Support certification from the American Heart Association, Red Cross, or another organization. You will also be asked to provide the expiration date of this certification.

About the Author

Cody Sipe, PhD

Cody Sipe, PhD IDEA Author/Presenter

Associate Professor and club owner with over 20 years of experience specializing in exercise for mature adults. Recipient of numerous industry awards including the IDEA Program Director of the Year. Co-Founder of the Functional Aging Institute ( Visit FAI's website for your free Functional Training Starter Kit and to learn more about the Functional Aging Specialist Certification. Creator of the Never Grow Old Fitness Program (, a follow-along video exercise program for mature adults. Frequent industry speaker and writer.

Dan Ritchie, PhD

Dan Ritchie, PhD IDEA Author/Presenter

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