How to Become a Certified Personal Trainer

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An article by contributor Alicia Hill.

A personal trainer’s job is to work one-on-one with someone to motivate them as they perform a program of exercise. Some people seek out personal trainers because they want help losing weight while others want to gain more muscle strength and increase energy. Personal trainers also offer guidance on eating in a healthy way. Think of a personal trainer as a professional who partners with someone to help them get healthier. Checkout some information on how to become a certified personal trainer.

Certified Personal Trainer Salary

In 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of a personal trainer was $36,000. Of course, an individual working as a personal trainer can earn more money. The working environment has a lot to do with personal trainer salary. For instance, a personal trainer working in a large fitness center is likely to make more than someone who works with a few clients at a small gym. Salary also varies in different parts of the country. There’s more demand for personal trainers in certain states. In addition, a personal trainer with ten years of experience is likely to earn more than a trainer with three.

Qualifications and Requirements to Become a Personal Trainer

To become a personal trainer, a person must have at least a high school diploma. An associate degree or bachelor’s degree with a major in nutrition, health and exercise is an asset for any personal trainer. Personal trainers who get certified are likely to find employment more easily. Getting certified means the person understands the basics of physiology and safe exercise techniques. Also, the person is able to develop exercise programs and assess a client’s fitness level.

A successful personal trainer is very good at encouraging a client to persist toward a higher level of fitness. A personal trainer should be easy to talk to, supportive and understanding. Of course, a personal trainer should be in excellent physical condition. A client looking for a personal trainer wants to sign up with someone who is successful at staying in shape.

How to Get Certified as a Personal Trainer

How can I become a certified personal trainer? The best way to answer this question is to put the process into steps.

Step One

Get a high school degree or take courses to earn your GED. Next, decide whether you want to earn a degree in exercise, health and nutrition to add to the list of qualifications you can give to potential clients.

Step Two

Become certified in CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). A personal trainer must know how to perform CPR or use an AED in case a client at the fitness center needs emergency medical assistance.

Step Three

Decide on a fitness specialty. You may want to work with clients one-on-one. Or, perhaps you want to specialize in creating fitness programs to suit the needs of many clients. You may even want to teach exercise classes to groups of people. Once you decide on a specialty, you can start to garner the specific training necessary to achieve your career goals.

Step Four

Earn your certification so you’ll be qualified to provide fitness training. The American Council on Exercise and The National Academy of Sports Medicine are two resources if you want to get certified as a personal trainer. The process involves taking an exam to test your knowledge of exercise techniques, safety, physiology, nutrition and health.

Step Five

Register for your certification exam and prepare for it. There is an application to fill out as well as a fee connected with taking the exam. This exam has a range of 120 to 150 multiple choice questions and is taken via computer. As an example, the certification exam given by the National Academy of Sports Medicine has sections that include Client Consultation and Fitness Assessment, Program Planning, Exercise Techniques and Safety Issues.

Step Six

Start applying for jobs! Once you’re certified it’s important to start building your resume. Even if you only work with two or three people at one fitness center, they will be added to your resume. Before landing your own position, it can be helpful to shadow a full-time personal trainer to see how they handle each session with a client. After the session, ask the personal trainer questions so you can benefit from their experience. If you want to look for job postings online, the National Academy of Sports Medicine has available job postings in different areas of the country.

Lastly, working as a personal trainer can be very rewarding. You are using your skills, knowledge and training to help others achieve their fitness goals.

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Alicia Hill  is a content writer with background in business management, class consulting and marketing communication. She writes for several businesses. Recently, she writes for Define Health And Fitness, a workout studio offering a range of personal training formats and styles.

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