How to Become a Personal Trainer

Becoming a personal fitness trainer is the perfect career move for anyone who loves exercise, nutrition, and helping others look and feel their best. As a personal trainer, your job is to motivate clients to reach their fitness goals, teach them the proper way to achieve those goals, and be a role model of healthy living. If you know you can thrive in this career field, use this guide to learn about training and certification.

Getting Hired as a Personal Fitness Trainer

All personal trainers must have the proper education. Usually this means earning a degree in sports medicine, kinesiology, human health, nutrition, or a related medical field. If you have a degree in another field, there are many routes to learning the skills you need. Check out class offerings at community colleges, personal training institutes, or enroll in exercise science classes at a 4-year college.

If you only have a HS diploma/GED, then you should enroll in a complete personal training education program. There are many institutes that offer a comprehensive training in exercise science, nutrition, and health. Research one- and two-year community college programs that lead to either a Certificate or Associate's degree in health and fitness.

(If you want to become a certified as a personal trainer, you may also need to take courses in ethics and CPR. More on certification below.)

As part of your research on fitness training schools and education programs, you should call local gyms and fitness centers to ask what they look for when they hire personal trainers. Do they value certification by a particular organization? Do they have a need for certain specialists within the field of personal training? Try to learn about industry trends.

Certification is an extra credential granted by an organization that promotes fitness. There are many certifications available to personal trainers. If you have this extra credential on your resume, in addition to your education, it can help you land a better job or more clients. In the personal fitness industry, the top nine certification organizations are:

Cooper Institute

Each of these certifying bodies has different requirements for personal fitness trainers, but all require passing an exam. Many of these organizations offer practical classes where you can gain hands-on experience.

Apart from taking classes, you may need to gain field experience as an apprentice or assistant personal trainer. Some gyms and fitness centers only hire trainers who have work experience, others may offer practical training programs for their new hires. Unlike other health fields, personal fitness training is not a heavily regulated industry. Each employer has its own criteria.

Person fitness trainers must set a good example for their clients by maintaining a healthy body. You should be fit and strong, and be a model of good nutrition. Looks are important in the personal training industry. The most successful personal trainers have physiques that their clients aspire to.

Besides working for a gym, you can open your own studio, become a corporate fitness trainer, or become an independent personal trainer and work with clients in their homes. With an advanced degree, you can work as a physical therapist. Certified personal fitness trainers can also find many teaching jobs and health consulting positions.

© Had2Know 2010