HOW TO BECOME A PERSONAL TRAINER
Hiring a Personal Trainer was once considered a privilege for professional athletes and the wealthy, but today, as the interest in health and fitness has grown, so has the profession of Personal Trainers. According to Money magazine, Personal Training is one of the top 20 jobs with a predicted growth of 27% over the next 10 years. If you enjoy working with the public, helping people achieve their goals, and you want to be in the best shape of your life while earning a living, then Personal Training may be the career for you. So how should you get started in the industry?
Depending on where you work as a Personal Trainer, many facilities require a bachelor’s degree in a health related specialty and 2-4 years of experience. If you choose to go this route, a degree in Physical Education may provide you with a career advantage since you will be learning about exercise, nutrition, and its relation to the human body.
If you are planning a career switch, then you may not have the time or the financial resources to obtain a 4-year degree. There are numerous accredited agencies for Personal Trainers to obtain their certification, and these courses can usually be completed in less than 6 months. You should ensure that the school is accredited, and that the course work is current and relevant to your specialty. If you are unsure where to enroll, you could arrange an interview with your local gym’s manager or owner and inform him or her that you are interested in becoming a Personal Trainer. He or she will be able to tell you what requirements and certifications are necessary in order to work at their establishment.
Some of the more popular certification agencies include:
- The National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)
- American Fitness Professional and Associates (AFPA)
- International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
- American Council on Exercise (ACE)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
Once you have your credentials, you can work almost anywhere. Personal Trainers are in demand at hotel spas, cruise ships, high schools and universities, corporations, and of course, your local gym. If you have the motivation, you may want to open your own gym or fitness business since you can work independently, or you may even choose to work out of your own home.
Independent Personal Trainers may work at several different locations and travel from client to client throughout the day. Remember, the majority of individual clients are working professionals and will most likely be at work from 9am – 6pm; you may be working early mornings or late evenings to accommodate your clients. Of course, if you are working for yourself, you could always choose to turn down a 5am client. Your schedule will be defined by where and how you choose to work.
There are endless opportunities to grow your business and leverage your client base to increase your income stream. You could start by advertising your qualifications online and promoting yourself with a website. Many Personal Trainers have expanded their businesses to include fitness boot camps, running workshops, and nutrition counseling. Even more popular is selling customized clothing; t-shirts, shorts and sweatshirts featuring your business name or logo. As your business grows, you can market other items with your personalized logo and sell your merchandise on the web.
Good interpersonal skills are important if you plan on becoming a Personal Trainer. Being friendly, respectful, and showing a genuine interest in people will help you succeed. You will have to build relationships with your clients in order to grow your business. Recommendations from other clients, and word-of-mouth advertising are very important as well. If you have just started in the Personal Training industry, one or two exceptional references may be all you need to get your business moving in the right direction.
As a certified Personal Trainer, you will have other responsibilities in addition to training clients. Some of these may include:
- Coordinating all fitness programs for a facility.
- Instructing specific exercise classes.
- Developing specialized exercise regimens for an individual client or a group.
- Instructing and/or training clients and other Personal Trainers on the use of all exercise equipment.
- Recommending equipment purchases for facilities and individuals.
- Ensuring gym equipment is safe, clean and in working condition.
- Advising clients on nutrition and providing customized diet plans
Working in the fitness industry can be fun and rewarding. The opportunities are endless. If you are ready, then take the next step; get your certification and become a Personal Trainer today.