How To Become A Personal Trainer
Career Video: Personal Trainer
Do you love to work out? Are you excited to share your passion for physical fitness and health with others? Are you knowledgeable about the human body and how to improve its fitness through aerobics, weight training, and various exercise techniques? Would you like to teach others who need your guidance and expertise about working out? If you are enthusiastic about physical fitness and love to teach, then a future as a personal trainer could be right for you.
Why Become A Personal Trainer
Personal trainers provide clients with individualized instruction in regards to physical fitness and health. Trainers offer their clients a unique plan based on health and fitness needs; for example, some clients may need to focus on heart health and cardiovascular exercise, while others may be more interested in strength training. Personal trainers work with a variety of ages and abilities, helping clients understand the relationship between fitness and safety, diet, and exercise techniques.
On a daily basis, a personal trainer will demonstrate exercise techniques, monitor clients’ work outs, keep records of individual progress, make adjustments according to circumstances, provide educational materials regarding healthy lifestyle decisions, and teach clients about their own bodies.
Personal trainers are qualified to provide knowledge and motivation to their clients, optimizing their clients’ experiences. Other qualifications and skills include the following:
- Good communication skills
- Personally dedicated to fitness
- Lifelong learner
Personal Trainer Work Environment
The work environment of a personal trainer is contingent upon their clients’ needs and place of employment. Many work for fitness centers and gyms. Here, people pay a membership fee and then utilize the services of a personal trainer. Personal trainers may also work in yoga and Pilates studios, offering one-on-one instruction. Clients who need services for medical needs can utilize personal trainers at sports medicine and medical fitness facilities. Those who are dedicated to the educational aspects of the profession typically work at universities and hospitals. Nearly half of personal trainers work as independent contractors, and may offer their services at gyms, private studios, or even at clients’ homes.
Personal Trainer Salary
The median annual salary for personal trainers is approximately $33,120. Many trainers work by the hour, ranging anywhere from $13.51 per hour (LA Fitness) to $27.68 per hour (Crunch Fitness). For those who contract out their services, payment is contingent upon the parameters of that agreement and may be paid monthly. Personal trainers who provide services at private studios and residences will typically see higher salaries, per their clienteles’ ability to pay. Personal trainers who work as therapists in medical or sports medicine facilities may see salaries as high as $70,000 per year.
Personal Trainer Career Outlook
This occupation is expected to grow 8 percent in the next decade. One of the reasons for this growth is the drive for many places of employment and insurance companies to offer incentives for physical fitness initiatives. Not only do discounts and other incentives exist, but many places of employment are opening up their own fitness facilities and offering the services of personal trainers.
As people increase their desire to combat obesity and the impact of diseases, like diabetes, more Americans are looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Older individuals, especially, may seek out more ways to enjoy this lifestyle with minimal impact. Yoga, aquatics, and Pilates are emerging as popular choices.
Personal Trainer Degree
Personal trainers are not required to have college degrees; however, a growing number of employers seek candidates with an associate or bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Personal trainers who work in medical or educational institutions will most likely hold a graduate degree.
Step 1: Enroll in a certification program. To enroll in a certification program, individuals must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent GED. Hundreds of programs exist in the U.S., but it is important to choose a certification program that is accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Individuals should make sure to conduct research before selecting a program, as cost, concentration, and methodology vary. Examples of accredited certifying agencies include the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Note: If an individual has an ideal place of employment in mind, it is important to know their recommendations and requirements. Many locations require specific certification, which is in line with their clienteles’ needs. It is also important for individuals to choose a program with desired clients in mind; for example, certifications exist that focus on training specific populations (elderly, children, special needs, etc.) or with providing specific training (yoga, Pilates, strength training, etc.). Additionally, some employers may recommend or require their trainers to have degrees in physical education, exercise science, or kinesiology.
Step 2: Take the ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam. Individuals that seek certification must pass the ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam. Requirements for this exam are as follows:
- 18 years or older
- Hold a high school diploma or equivalent GED
- Hold current CPR/AED certification with a live skills check
- Hold some form of government issued identification
- Register for exam within 6 months of program enrollment
Step 3: Gain work experience. Once an individual is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, he or she can seek professional employment in this capacity.
Note: Many gyms and fitness clubs cover their employers with their insurance, but it is essential that personal trainers make sure they are covered. Self-employed trainers, and some employees who work for smaller gyms, will need to acquire insurance against liability.