How to Become a Personal Trainer

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There are many paths to becoming a personal trainer. Some go to college. Some don’t. To become a SUCCESSFUL personal trainer requires education, certification, and, obviously, clients. We help you achieve and access what you need to be a personal trainer, for now and for later.

If you want to be a personal trainer, you have to…

  • Determine if you have what it takes
  • Understand your role
  • Decide where you want to work
  • Get education and certfied
  • Go to work

Many people become personal trainers because they have a passion for heath and fitness. Experiencing the results of a fit lifestyle first-hand creates a desire to share that knowledge.

Helping others achieve and maintain their fitness is a rewarding career and creates job satisfaction for those that pursue this path.

Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Personal Trainer?

All it takes is some clients, right?? Wrong! Clients won’t stick around if they sense that you don’t know your stuff. Fortunately, the ‘stuff’ that it takes to become a successful personal trainer is going to either be second nature to you already, or, with the right prep, practice and patience, these are skills that you can learn:

  • Understanding Body Anatomy and Physiology for Optimizing Function and Training Results

  • Proficiency in Exercise Program Design and Progressive Modifications

  • Passion for Fitness and Commitment to Personal Health

  • Professional Communication Skills and Gym Etiquette

  • Enthusiasm for Client Progress and Dedication to their Goals

  • Personal Career Goals and Strategies for Growth

  • Commitment to Maintaining Certification Credential and Continuing Education for Lifelong Learning

What is Your Role as a Personal Trainer?

Personal trainers get to enjoy flexible schedules and high earning potential, right?? Wrong! At first, your schedule will be based on the needs of your employer and/or clients. They come first and they will ultimately dictate your work hours, at least in the beginning. Earning potential is high, that is true, but not right out of the gate. High earning trainers have a lot of experience and they take their learning and growing very seriously.

Like any new career or start-up commitment – you get what you give, and it takes time. Don’t get discouraged if it isn’t everything that you thought it would be right in the onset. Set a realistic timeline for reaching goals, and remind yourself that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Understand your role as a trainer and be the best at it that you can be, the rest falls in place.

Premier Fitness
  • 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.


Where Can You Work as a Personal Trainer?

I have to work in a gym, right?? Wrong! A health club/gym is a great place to start, but it’s not the only place. Personal trainers are only limited by their imagination. You can be a traveling trainer or a community park trainer or a cruise ship trainer, the work settings are vast and can be tapped into when you set your mind to it. If you start working for a local club, great! If you’ve never worked as a trainer, we recommend working for a club to get your feet wet and learn the ropes. But be thinking of ideas and setting goals for 1 year and 5 years out. Goal setting is crucial, but so is taking the right steps at the right time – don’t overburden yourself with unrealistic goals. Work up to the goals, give yourself time and space to learn and grow. Think about where you may start working and where you would eventually like to work.

  • Health clubs/gyms

  • Athletic/sports complex

  • Corporate wellness facilities

  • In-home or online training

  • Parks, Beaches, Work/Breakrooms

  • Resorts, Cruise Ships, Vacation Spots


Which Personal Training Certification is Best for You?

I can get any certification, right?? Wrong! You need to start with an NCCA accredited certification program. NCCA is the National Commission for Certification Agencies, and it is the gold-standard in the personal trainer certification industry. You will use your Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) credential as a pre-requisite for employment as a personal trainer (and most employers will require that your CPT comes from an NCCA accredited source). Beyond this, the choice is yours.

Choose a program that best accommodates your long-term needs. Of course we think that our certification program is the best for you, and we’d like you to check out why NFPT is the better choice. But, for the basic certification and continuing education requirements, we researched some of the most popular certification programs and put it all in one place, we hope it helps as you compare certification options.

  • Cost of Certification Program

  • Total Annual Cost

  • Discounts Available for Certification

  • Financing Offers, if available

  • Recertification Frequency & Costs

  • CEC Requirements & Associated Cost Estimates


Get the ‘Become a Trainer’ Guide

Learn more about where you can work and tips from career personal trainers