Physical Trainer Certification and License Facts

Learn about the training and education options open to aspiring physical trainers. Get information about professional physical trainer certification, and see what your options are after earning it. Schools offering Fitness Trainer degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Physical Trainer Programs Are Available?

These programs are mostly on-campus, but a few colleges offer hybrid programs. For the hybrid programs, the core courses are offered online, while the physical education requirements need to be taken on-campus. Programs vary in length, but all have the same goal in preparing you to take the certification exam. You could earn a diploma or certificate in personal training or group fitness instructor.

Some colleges rely on the World Instructor Trainer Schools (W.I.T.S.) program to prepare students. The W.I.T.S. method is acknowledged by the American Council of Education (ACE) and the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

Program Options On-campus and hybrid programs available; diplomas and certificates in personal training or group fitness offered
Common Courses Anatomy, endurance, body functions, public speaking, business management
Trainer Certification Involves passing an exam and CPR test
Career Prospects With further education: fitness instructor, aerobics instructor, fitness director or personal trainer

What Education Can I Expect?

Physical trainer programs rely heavily on theory and theory application. You'll typically learn about anatomy, nutrition, endurance, body functions, body systems, muscle structure, exercise techniques and physiology. Many programs include courses in public speaking, exercise science, exercise procedures, coaching, human biology, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first aid, business management and kinesiology. You'll also learn how to use exercise equipment, such as weight lifting and cardiovascular fitness tools.

What Do I Need After Earning My Certificate?

After finishing training, you'll need to pass an exam provided by W.I.T.S., ACE, or IACET. Personal trainer certification can also be earned from the National Council on Strength and Fitness or the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Upon completion of your program, you'll also be required to pass the CPR certification exam. Your personal trainer certification is renewable every two years.

What Can I Do After Completing My Program?

If you desire to continue your education, you could pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree in any physical education related field. If you don't want to continue your education, you can find a career as a fitness instructor, aerobics instructor, fitness director or personal trainer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fitness workers can expect a 8% increase in jobs between 2014 and 2024 due to health care becoming more of a priority ( As of May 2015, the BLS estimated that fitness trainers made a mean salary of $40,970.

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:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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