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.
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 an education
- Get certified
- Go to work
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.
Do you have what it takes to be 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
- Gym etiquette
- A strategic business plan
- Time to prepare
What is your role as a personal trainer?
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.
Where can you work as a personal trainer?
Trainers work with people in a wide variety of environments.
- Health and fitness clubs
- Corporate wellness programs
- Hospital programs
- Clients’ homes
- Cruise ships
What education do you need to become a personal trainer?
A good personal trainer is always learning. It’s a lifetime commitment. Some go the college route. Others choose to learn on their own, taking advantage of readily available resources such as books, videos, and online courses.
Trainers need an understanding of human anatomy and physiology. They also need to know principles of exercise science and how to design appropriate training programs for their client’s specific needs. Additional education in business and marketing wouldn’t hurt either.
Which personal training certification is best for you?
You need a nationally accredited certification. It gives you credibility in the eyes of employers, peers, insurers, and clients.
Certification is a requirement at many gyms and private training studios. According to a recent IHRSA study, 93% of 72 responding clubs reported they require certification as a prerequisite to employment. Read more about why certification matters.
There are many organizations that certify personal trainers, and a number of factors. The two most important factors are whether the organization has been accredited and by what accrediting agency.
What happens next?
Start working! A career in personal training is fun and rewarding. It is also a lot of work.
Once the foundation of education and certification has been laid get to work training clients. Practice your skills with friends and family as you’re looking for a job or developing your client base.
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.
Each personal training certification company has a different price range for their exam and study materials. Beyond the initial certification fees, there are continuing education requirements that can cost anywhere from nothing to $500 annually.
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.
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.