Many people become personal trainers because of a passion for heath. Experiencing the results of a fit lifestyle first hand creates a desire to share. Helping others achieve and maintain their fitness is a rewarding career and creates job satisfaction for those that pursue this path.

What does it take to become a personal trainer?

All it takes is a client, which is kind of scary. A better question might be, “What does it take to be a successful personal trainer?” Here’s a list:

  • Passion for fitness and helping others
  • Education and certification(s)
  • Communication skills
  • Flexible schedule
  • Dedicated work ethic
  • Commitment to lifelong learning
  • Enthusiasm
  • Gym etiquette
  • A strategic business plan
  • Time to prepare


Where can you work as a personal trainer?

Trainers work with people in a wide variety of environments.

  • Gyms
  • Health and fitness clubs
  • Corporate wellness programs
  • Hospital programs
  • Clients’ homes
  • Parks
  • Resorts
  • Cruise ships
  • Online


What does a personal trainer do?

Personal trainers get to enjoy flexible schedules and achieve high earning potential. Some of their many duties include:

  • Instruct or coach groups or individuals on exercise activities and the fundamentals of physical fitness.
  • Demonstrate techniques and methods of participation.
  • Observe clients and teach them corrective measures needed to improve their skills.
  • Act as a wellness coach with a strong science-based education.
  • Design exercise programs appropriate for members of a variety of healthy populations.


What education is needed to become a personal trainer?

Trainers need an understanding of human anatomy and physiology. They also need to know principles of exercise science and how to appropriate program for their client’s specific needs. Additional education in business and marketing wouldn’t hurt either.

Some trainers choose the formal education route. Others choose to learn on their own, taking advantage of readily available resources such as books and online courses. Certification programs like the one offered by NFPT are a great place to start.  The trainer manual is packed with information, but concise – providing the relevant information about human anatomy, movement and physiology for the fitness industry.

Getting educated with a fitness certification is the first step in setting a solid foundation for becoming a personal trainer. It’s a requirement of most if not all gyms and personal training studios. Plus, it gives you credibility in the eyes of employers and peers. According to a recent International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) study of personal training as a profit center, 93% of 72 responding clubs reported that they require certification as a prerequisite to employment. IHRSA recommends that its member clubs hire personal trainers who hold at least one current certification from an organization that has established third party accreditation of its certification procedures and protocols.


What is the best personal training certification?

There are many organizations that certify personal trainers, and a number of factors should be considered when choosing your certification organization. The two most important factors are whether the organization has been accredited and by what accrediting agency.

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) is an example of an appropriate accrediting body that requires certifying organizations to meet strict standards for business practice, examination development and certification policy. Third-party accreditation means that the organization providing a certification exam is reviewed by an objective, unrelated and unbiased, third party that evaluates the validity of its examination and certification procedures.

Compare Personal Trainer Certifications


How much does it cost to become a certified personal trainer?

Each personal training certification company has a different price range for their exam and study materials. You can take the NFPT Personal Trainer Certification Exam for $199. The Standard Certification Package is $299 and includes the manual, plus a study guide and quizzes. The Premier Certification Package is $399 and includes everything from the standard plus additional tools to help you learn, absorb and test on the information.

Beyond the initial certification fees, there are continuing education requirements that can cost anywhere from nothing to $500 annually.


How long does it take to become a certified personal trainer?

Some people study and prepare for a personal training exam for a couple months. Others may take 6 months to a year to prepare. This varies between individuals. Most certifying organizations have sample tests you can take to see how ready you are before scheduling your exam.


What about becoming an online personal trainer?

With a credentialed fitness certification you can start a business on the internet. This market is growing and the opportunities are infinite! It’s helpful to work with people face to face first, so that you can get practice.


What happens next?

After you’re certified, it’s time to get started. Practice your skills with friends and family. Find a place to begin your career and enjoy the journey! As the standards for excellence rise in the fitness industry, so do the opportunities for those with the proper credentials and skill sets. The thirst for fitness is a trend on the rise. With hard work and dedication you will reap the reward. Get on the path to an enriching career in personal training and achieve your goals for success.