How to Become a Personal Trainer

by Deborah McConnell

September 14, 2012 // Category: Fitness Community

This week the web is a buzz about a recent Reuter’s article that points out, “As the American waistline continues its spread, fitness is shaping up as one of the hottest careers of this tepid economic recovery.”

While the obesity epidemic continues to sadden us, this presents an opportunity for anyone looking for a career in fitness—now is the time to get started. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of fitness trainers is expected to grow by 24 percent in the decade to 2020.

If you have a passion for fitness and helping others, and want to know how to become a personal trainer, keep some of these things in mind:  

Are you a personality fit?

There are a many skills critical to your success as a trainer such as being an effective communicator and motivator, analytical, a good listener and staying organized. In addition, one must have the patience of Gandhi, be willing to regularly adapt and always strive to learn. If you want to learn more about the type of people who will succeed, consider visiting a trade show such as the International Health, Raquet and Fitness Association (IHRSA) which has become known globally and held yearly in March.  

Certification

With dozens of certifications available around the world, be certain to select one that is nationally recognized and accredited. A couple of popular organizations include the American Council on ExerciseNational Academy of Sports Medicine, and the European Institute of Fitness.  While you can be a personal trainer with only a high school diploma, keep in mind that more than two-thirds of fitness professionals do have college degrees, according to Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of ACE.

Experience

Getting proper experience is an important part of learning and developing your career, but getting your foot in the door isn’t always easy. If you don’t land a job at a facility right away, offer to volunteer or intern. It’s tough for most business owners to turn down free labor. In addition, some personal trainers choose to focus on a niche market or specialty, such as corrective exercise or sports conditioning. This can be advantageous in this competitive market.

Life-long Learning

The most successful fitness professionals constantly look to improve their skills and education. Continuing education is a requirement in order to maintain your certification; do not wait until a month before your certification expires to start learning. You can gain continuing education credits online, attend regional workshops or join a national organization of trainers, such as IDEA. Even networking with other professionals, in-person or online, can be a great way to grow as a professional.

Personal trainers and the larger fitness industry are a passionate and exciting community to be a part of. If you’re excited about fitness and are considering a career in training, I wish you the best of luck. Who knows? Maybe one day you'll be named the next Personal Trainer to Watch

Do you have any other questions about becoming a trainer? Leave a comment below and we would love to answer. 

 
Deborah McConnell
 

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