What Education Do I Need to Become a Personal Trainer?
Personal trainers work with either a single person or a small group of people to help them set and achieve their fitness goals. Read on to learn more about education and certification requirements for personal trainers. Schools offering Fitness Trainer degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Most personal trainers hold at least a high school diploma, though employers may prefer to hire trainers with associate's or bachelor's degrees. A period of hands-on instruction with an experienced trainer is usually required as well, and certification may be helpful if not always required by the employer.
Important Facts about this Occupation
|Average Salary (2014)||$39,410|
|Job Outlook (2012-2022)||13% job growth (average)|
|Work Environment||May work in health clubs, fitness centers, gyms, hospitals, universities, clients' homes; 10% were self-employed in 2012; May work weekends, nights, holidays|
|Similar Occupations||Athletic Trainers, Exercise Physiologists, Physical Therapists, Recreation Workers, Recreational Therapists|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
The educational requirements for personal trainers are fairly relaxed; you might be able to enter the field after completing a few classes or receiving training from an experienced personal trainer, although some employers may require you to hold an associate's or bachelor's degree. Degrees in fitness-related fields, such as exercise science or kinesiology, provide you with additional training and education that can help advance your personal training career.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) notes that earning certification is more and more important for personal trainers, and some employers may require it. To ensure that you earn certification from a respectable organization, you may wish to determine whether the organization is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The NCCA only accredits organizations and programs that meet a high quality standard.
You'll be eligible to take a certification exam once you are over 18 years old and a high school graduate; some organizations also require you to be cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) certified. Once you've successfully completed a certification exam, you will be granted your professional credential. This designation is good for a set amount of time, usually two years. Most organizations allow you to maintain your certification by taking additional coursework, attending conferences, writing articles, or retaking the certification exam.
Certification Study Programs
Many certifying bodies offer courses you can take and/or study materials to help you prepare for the certification exams, some of which can be used as college credit. Although you aren't required to take these certification courses before you may become certified, the BLS reports that many personal trainers get their start in the field through these educational programs.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: