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Become A Personal Trainer

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Working As A Personal Trainer

  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Make Decisions

  • $44,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Personal Trainer Do

A Personal Trainer helps clients achieve their personal fitness and weight goals. They are responsible for developing and implementing a specialized exercise regimen for a client.

How To Become A Personal Trainer

The education and training required for fitness trainers and instructors varies by type of specialty, and employers often hire those with certification. Personal fitness trainers, group fitness instructors, and specialized fitness instructors each need different preparation. Requirements also vary by facility.

Education

Almost all trainers and instructors have at least a high school diploma before entering the occupation. An increasing number of employers are requiring fitness workers, particularly personal trainers, to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree related to a health or fitness field, such as exercise science, kinesiology, or physical education. Programs often include courses in nutrition, exercise techniques, biology, anatomy, and group fitness. Personal trainers also learn how to develop fitness programs for clients of all ages.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Employers prefer to hire fitness trainers and instructors who are certified. Many personal trainers must be certified before they begin working with clients or with members of a gym or other type of health club. Group fitness instructors can begin work without certification, but employers often encourage or require them to become certified. Most specialized fitness instructors receive certification for their preferred type of training, such as yoga or Pilates.

Many organizations offer certification. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), part of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, lists certifying organizations that are accredited.

All certification exams have a written part, and some also have a practical part. The exams measure the candidate’s knowledge of human physiology, understanding of proper exercise techniques, and ability to assess clients’ fitness levels and develop appropriate exercise programs. Many certifying organizations offer study materials to prepare for the exam, including books, webinars, other audio and visual materials, and exam preparation workshops and seminars.

Advanced certification requires an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in an exercise-related subject that includes more-specialized instruction, such as training athletes, working with people who are injured or ill, or advising clients on general health. For more information, see the profiles on athletic trainers and exercise physiologists.

Most trainers or instructors need certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators before applying for certification in physical fitness.

Training

After becoming a certified personal trainer, new trainers typically work alongside an experienced trainer before they are allowed to train clients alone.

Training for specialized fitness instructors can vary greatly. For example, the duration of programs for yoga instructors can range from a few days to more than 2 years. The Yoga Alliance offers several credentials that require a minimum of between 200 and 500 hours, with a specified number of hours in techniques, teaching methods, anatomy, physiology, philosophy, and other areas.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Many fitness trainers and instructors must sell their services, motivating clients to hire them as personal trainers or to sign up for the classes they lead. Fitness trainers and instructors must therefore be polite, friendly, and encouraging, to maintain relationships with their clients.

Communication skills. Fitness trainers and instructors must be able to clearly explain or demonstrate exercises to clients.

Listening skills. Fitness trainers and instructors must be able to listen carefully to what clients tell them in order to determine the clients’ fitness levels and desired fitness goals.

Motivational skills. Getting fit and staying fit takes a lot of work for many clients. To keep clients coming back for more classes or to continue personal training, fitness trainers and instructors must keep their clients motivated.

Physical fitness. Fitness trainers and instructors need to be physically fit because their job requires a considerable amount of exercise. Group instructors often participate in classes, and personal trainers often need to demonstrate exercises to their clients.

Problem-solving skills. Fitness trainers and instructors must evaluate each client’s level of fitness and create an appropriate fitness plan to meet the client’s individual needs.

Advancement

Fitness trainers and instructors who are interested in management positions should get a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, physical education, kinesiology, or a related subject. Experience often is required in order for a trainer or instructor to advance to a management position in a health club or fitness center. Many organizations prefer a master’s degree for certain positions.

Personal trainers may eventually advance to a head trainer position and become responsible for hiring and overseeing the personal training staff or for bringing in new personal training clients. Head trainers also are responsible for procuring athletic equipment, such as weights or fitness machines. Some fitness trainers and instructors go into business for themselves and open their own fitness centers.

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Personal Trainer jobs

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Personal Trainer Demographics

Gender

  • Male

    60.1%
  • Female

    38.5%
  • Unknown

    1.4%

Ethnicity

  • White

    79.7%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    11.6%
  • Asian

    6.5%
  • Unknown

    1.6%
  • Black or African American

    0.6%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    61.4%
  • French

    8.0%
  • Portuguese

    3.5%
  • German

    3.5%
  • Thai

    2.9%
  • Russian

    2.7%
  • Italian

    2.7%
  • Arabic

    2.2%
  • Swedish

    2.1%
  • Japanese

    1.9%
  • Chinese

    1.6%
  • Mandarin

    1.4%
  • Korean

    1.2%
  • Polish

    1.2%
  • Greek

    0.8%
  • Bulgarian

    0.7%
  • Cantonese

    0.7%
  • Tagalog

    0.6%
  • Hebrew

    0.5%
  • Gujarati

    0.4%
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Personal Trainer Education

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Real Personal Trainer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Personal Trainer Lifetime Fitness, Inc. New York, NY Aug 15, 2016 $84,000
Personal Trainer Crunch, LLC Daly City, CA Oct 01, 2012 $75,132
Personal Trainer/Boxingtrainer Fitforlife, Inc. Boston, MA Nov 21, 2011 $73,045
Personal Trainer Highland Fitness Lafayette, LA Jan 01, 2014 $73,045
Personal Trainer Lakeview Fitness Investors, LLC Chicago, IL Aug 01, 2012 $66,784 -
$93,915
Personal Trainer Golds Gym Holding Corp CA Mar 19, 2013 $62,088
Lead Staff Personal Trainer Premier Fitness LLC Tyler, TX Sep 10, 2012 $55,292
Personal Trainer Diverge, Inc. Columbus, GA Sep 16, 2012 $54,366
Personal Trainer David Barton Gym New York, NY Dec 13, 2010 $54,262
Personal Training Coach Recon 2013 LLC Germantown, TN Jan 10, 2015 $52,175 -
$114,785
Personal Trainer Rockeyball, LLC Indianapolis, IN Sep 18, 2012 $52,175 -
$62,610
Personal Training Coach Recon 2013 LLC Germantown, TN Jan 12, 2015 $52,175 -
$114,785
Personal Training Coach Recon 2013 LLC Germantown, TN Feb 12, 2016 $52,175 -
$114,785
Personal Trainer Fortis Fitness and Strength Training, LLC Carlsbad, CA Jan 06, 2016 $49,045
Personal Trainer/Program Designer Mark Fisher Fitness, Inc. New York, NY Jun 01, 2014 $43,827 -
$131,481
Personal Trainer Prairie Life Center of Nashville Franklin, TN Mar 01, 2015 $42,000 -
$48,000
Personal Trainer Prairie Life Center of Nashville Franklin, TN Mar 11, 2013 $42,000 -
$48,000
Personal Trainer & Performance Enhancement Coordinator Grand Forks Park District Grand Forks, ND Jun 18, 2015 $41,600
Personal Trainer International Healthcare Alliance, LLC Arlington Heights, IL Oct 01, 2011 $40,000
Personal Trainer Fitness Together of South Park, LLC Charlotte, NC Nov 01, 2011 $40,000
Personal Trainer Gold's Gym Wilmington, NC Sep 01, 2014 $39,653 -
$43,827
Personal Trainer Gold's Gym of The Carolina's Wilmington, NC Oct 01, 2014 $39,653 -
$43,827
Personal Trainer Fitness Together of South Park, LLC Charlotte, NC Nov 01, 2009 $36,523
Personal Trainer Fitness Together of South Park, LLC Charlotte, NC Oct 01, 2009 $36,523

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Top Skills for A Personal Trainer

WeightLossGymEquipmentStrengthTrainingFitnessAssessmentsFitnessProgramsPersonalTrainingProgramsCustomerServicePersonalTrainingSessionsPersonalTrainingClientsFitnessLevelsNewMembersPersonalTrainingPackagesNewClientsSmallGroupIndividualClientsGroupTrainingWorkoutProgramsWorkoutPlansClientBaseProperForm

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Top Personal Trainer Skills

  1. Weight Loss
  2. Gym Equipment
  3. Strength Training
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Help clients achieve weight loss and a healthy diet to promote a healthy way of living.
  • Demonstrate the proper way to use gym equipment long with making small talk in order to gain new clients.
  • Monitor and instruct new clients regarding safe and effective use of cardiovascular, flexibility and strength training equipment.
  • Provided members with fitness assessments and equipment orientations
  • Designed and prescribed fitness programs for various client types including youth, geriatric, pregnancy and post rehabilitative populations.

Top Personal Trainer Employers

Personal Trainer Videos

The Education of a Personal Trainer

Day in the Life: Personal Trainer

Personal Trainer, Career Video from drkit.org

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