How to Become a Personal Trainer

LearnHowToBecome Team
Cheyenne Green Vowell
July 28, 2022

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Personal trainers develop safe, effective exercise programs for people looking to achieve and maintain fitness goals. Personal trainers can also assist their clients in nutrition with the proper education. Personal training is a rewarding profession — you get to improve people's lives and see real results over time.

On average, personal trainers earn $45,650 per year, according to theU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Personal trainers don't need a college degree and can get certified for a fraction of the cost.

If you're interested in fitness, helping others, and seeing rewarding results for your work, read on to determine whether this career is right for you.

What Does a Personal Trainer Do?

Personal Trainer Careers Basics

Personal trainers work with clients to develop and implement fitness training regimens that help achieve goals. Trainers introduce clients to exercises based on their skill levels and needs. They must keep up with the latest professional recommendations and findings in fitness and nutrition.

Steps to Becoming a Personal Trainer

Step 1
Earn a High School Diploma

Most national certification programs only require a high school diploma or GED. You can get your GED for under $150 in most states, and it should only take about three months.

Step 2
Complete AED/CPR Certification

Personal trainers must complete cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) certification programs. These programs teach trainers how to help a client in a medical emergency until a medical professional arrives.

Nearly every national personal training certification organization requires AED and CPR certifications. They typically cost up to $55 and take about four hours to complete.

Step 3
Choose a Fitness Specialty

未来的培训师应该选择与他们的技能、个人兴趣和职业目标相匹配的专业。一旦你确定了你的专业,检查各种健身认证机构和每个他们的健身证书。选择对你和你的目标最有意义的项目。

Step 4
Prepare for Certification

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) is the primary accrediting body for personal training certifications. The major certifying bodies include:

  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • American Council on Exercise
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association

Once you choose the certification you want, you'll need to prepare for the exam. Most exams have practice questions you can run online, and there are also online prep courses. You should study hard and make sure you are confident when you register.

Step 5
Take and Pass Certification Examination

Once you're feeling prepared, excited, and ready to become a personal trainer, it's time to register for your exam. Typically, this includes an application and your fee.

The test will most likely be computer-based and include between 120-150 questions. The question amount and types will be similar but depend on the individual test. For example, the Certified Personal Trainer Certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has questions across four sections:

  • Program Planning
  • Client Consultation and Fitness Assessment
  • Exercise Techniques
  • Safety/Emergency Issues
Step 6
Apply for Jobs and Build a Portfolio

Now that you're qualified for positions in various fitness settings, it's up to you to decide the best fit. As a start, you can check the NASM and other fitness organizations for job postings. You can gain experience by working at your local gym and possibly shadowing an experienced trainer. Some new personal trainers opt to build a client roster on their own and work independently.

Step 7
Additional Education Options

As the fitness field expands, you will need to continue learning and growing to stay competitive. Some ways to do that include:

  • Taking courses at a career-focused school
  • Enrolling in community college training or degree programs
  • Taking external personal training courses
  • Enrolling in a four-year university

Personal Trainer Salaries and Job Growth

State

Top 10 states with the highest job growth:

  1. Utah:35.5%
  2. Louisiana:27%
  3. Nevada:26.6%
  4. Maryland:25.8%
  5. Colorado:25.6%
  6. Wyoming:24.1%
  7. Texas:22.8%
  8. Kentucky:21.6%
  9. Oregon:20.2%
  10. Florida:20%

Career Paths for Personal Trainers

Garnering the certifications and experience necessary, you can find a personal training job at a gym. You could also freelance as a personal trainer, building a client base on your own, or make fitness videos to post online or on social media.

With some time in the industry, you could run a gym and lead a team of personal trainers and gym instructors. You'll most likely need a bachelor's degree and management experience to become a fitness director.

Once you've built a client base and networked in the fitness industry, you might consider opening your own gym and hiring personal trainers and fitness directors yourself. Running your own business comes with many perks, including setting your own schedule and determining your pay.

However, it also means you're responsible for everything and everyone involved in the gym.

Courses in Personal Training Programs

Though most personal training certificate programs only require a high school diploma, expanding your education is a great way to expand your career. Generally, you could seek a personal training certificate or associate degree. You also have the option of seeking an advanced degree such as a bachelor's or master's.

Personal Training Certificate

这些课程通常需要两到三个学期的学习,让学生接触到运动科学、营养学、人体解剖学和生理学的基础知识。Some courses include:

Physical Fitness

Combines classroom-based and practical instruction in the fundamental concepts behind physical fitness and the development of exercise plans.

Skills Gained
  • Exercise methodologies
  • Client assessment
  • Fitness plan development

Introduction to Personal Training

Explore one-on-one personal training basics, studying fitness techniques, kinesiology, and exercise science.

Skills Gained
  • Biomechanics
  • Scientific principles of exercise
  • Motor learning

Methodologies of Personal Training

个人教练的角色概述,包括客户评估、反馈和评估等主题。

Skills Gained
  • Ethics and professionalism
  • Trainer communication
  • Fitness planning

Personal Training-Focused Associate Degrees

These are two-year programs allowing students to complete a comprehensive course in a range of professional areas. Some courses include:

Exercise Science and Nutrition

Study nutrition and fitness fundamentals, focusing on the relationship between exercise, nutrition, and health.

Skills Gained
  • Nutritional planning
  • Energy balance
  • Basic exercises

Exercise Program Design

An introduction to fitness programs, focusing on aerobic, strength, and flexibility training for individuals and groups.

Skills Gained
  • Weight management techniques
  • Motivational communication
  • Fitness training techniques

Strength and Conditioning

Introduces muscle physiology, particularly how to use resistance training properly and effectively.

Skills Gained
  • Correct exercise form and technique
  • Resistance training techniques

Components of a Successful Personal Trainer Career

Personal trainers need education, experience, and personal qualities to help clients achieve their fitness goals. Learn more about the skills that can help pave the way to a prosperous career in personal training.

Personal Trainer Skills

Fitness Assessment
培训师可以了解健身筛查技术,根据客户和环境确定合适的筛查类型,并识别可能影响客户健康的风险因素。
Communication
有效的沟通是成为私人教练的关键。你必须能够教导客户,倾听并回应他们的需求,并保持职业关系。
Leadership
培训师应该是有道德的专业人士,能够有效地传递信息,激励客户实现他们的目标。
Nutrition and Weight Management
To establish appropriate programs for clients, trainers should be knowledgeable in nutrition, weight loss, and weight management.
Analytical Thinking
You should understand human behavior and know how to leverage a client's learning style to maximize their exercise needs.
Exercise Mechanisms
培训师应该了解运动的进进出出,包括适当的热身、冷却、时长、设备、身体限制和运动监测,以便为客户提供安全的训练计划。

Getting Financial Help with Your Personal Training Program

Scholarships for Personal Training Programs

FitnessTrainer.Com Scholarship

Ash Hayes Scholarship

Related Careers at a Glance

Fitness and health are expansive industries with multiple possible career paths available. For individuals unsure about the personal trainer certification path, below is a list of other potential employment options to consider.

Exercise Physiologist

  • Growth:11%
  • Median Annual Salary:$50,280
  • Entry-Level Education Requirements:Bachelor's degree, with national certification recommended

DietitianorNutritionist

  • Growth:8%
  • Median Annual Salary:$63,090
  • Entry-Level Education Requirements:Bachelor's degree, internship, national certification, and state license

Occupational Therapist

  • Growth:16%
  • Median Annual Salary:$86,280
  • Entry-Level Education Requirements:Master's degree, clinical internship, national certification, and state license

Physical Therapist

  • Growth:18%
  • Median Annual Salary:$91,010
  • Entry-Level Education Requirements:Doctoral or professional degree, national certification, and state license

Become Team
Cheyenne Green Vowell
Contributing Writer

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LearnHowToBecome.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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