Personal trainers design customized one-on-one training programs and help motivate clients to exercise. They monitor fitness progress and are used by people who want to stay in shape or athletes. Many personal trainers work at fitness centers, but some personal trainers work at country clubs, corporations, seniors’ homes, and other facilities. Additionally personal trainers can work out of their homes or travel to clients homes. Trainers can also access a client’s fitness and make recommendations on how to improve their fitness and which exercises are best. Personal trainers ensure that their clients are using proper form when exercising and often encourage them to perform a workout that would exceed what they would do alone. Personal trainers often work irregular hours since they must be available when their clients want them. Often this includes working late evenings, holidays, and weekends when clients have spare time to exercise.
Personal Trainer Job and Education Requirements
Educational backgrounds for personal trainers vary. The minimal requirements are usually that personal trainers need to have CPR, a high school diploma, be a minimum of 18 years-old, and have completed a personal trainer course. Personal training classes range in length, but some can take a few months while others take close to a year to complete. Courses cover subjects such as exercise physiology, biology, nutrition, and other related classes. Upon completion of the course, personal trainers must pass a certification examination. Some colleges also offer degrees in fitness training. Backgrounds for personal training are diverse, but nurses, dancers, and workout enthusiasts may find personal training an enjoyable career. Personal trainers are usually outgoing and motivating. Personal trainers who own their own gyms or work independently may find marketing and business classes helpful.
Personal Trainer Salary and Wages
Personal trainers make slightly over $25,000 a year on average. However, personal trainers who work independently often make more. Experience, references, and geographic area influence the salary of a personal trainer. Many personal trainers who work independently make more, but pthose who workk at gyms usually make less. Sales experience can be helpful for personal trainers who work at fitness facilities since part of their job is to convince members to use their services. Given that many people are becoming more conscious of exercising, the outlook for personal training jobs is favorable.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Personal Trainer Certifications
There are a wide variety of personal training certificates. In fact, you can even purchase a personal training certificate online with little background in education, exercise, or health. However, the better certifications are approved by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Approved certifications require you to become educated in anatomy, nutrition, weight training, group fitness, or a combination depending on the certification you choose. You will also be required to pass a test to demonstrate your knowledge before obtaining the certification. These programs also require recertification periodically, CPR, and most require a minimum age of 18. Many certification programs also provide scholarships or tuition benefits to those in the military. Before obtaining a certification, check to see if the certification program is accredited by the NCAA. Certification programs approved by the NCAA are: ACE, ACSM, NSCA, NCSF, NFPT, NESTA, IFPA, and ISSA. Some details about some of them are:
American Council on Exercise (ACE) personal training certification is highly regarded in the industry. ACE offers certificates in personal fitness, group fitness instructor and clinical exercise specialist.
National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) offers a Sports Enhancement specialist certification.
International Sports and Science Association (ISSA) offers a fitness trainer certificate.
National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) offers certifications: in personal training, which is appropriate for training the average person seeking improved fitness, and a certified strength and conditioning certification (CSCS) suitable for coaches wishing to train sports teams by focusing on conditioning and strength training for athletes.
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) offers a health fitness certification and a health fitness director certification. Certifications are geared to health and science and certification tests are difficult.
It is not uncommon for personal trainers to start with a general personal training certificate and then obtain other certificates that are more specialized in weight training, group exercise, or weight management.. Some trainers choose to obtain prenatal or rehabilitative training certificates. Each certificate has its own educational requirements and test.
Personal Trainer Professional Associations
IDEA Health and Fitness Association ranges offers members a variety of benefits including low cost health insurance, continuing education classes, access to fitness videos and free classified ads. They also offer conferences and a 30 day free trial membership. Membership packages are geared for fitness facility owners, group fitness instructors, personal trainers, and spiritual exercise teachers aligning mental fitness with physical fitness.
Association of Professional Personal Trainers offers memberships that help professionals network, gain career guidance, and gain access to literature and other support.