The short answer is no, you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to become a personal trainer.
Even though a bachelor’s degree is not required, having one could significantly improve your chances of securing a job in the future. So, while you could do personal training certification programs, there are some pros to getting your bachelor’s in the process.
Here’s why it might be helpful to get a bachelor’s degree.
- You will learn pretty much everything about the human body. Many schools offer majors in Exercise Science and Kinesiology that requires students to take classes related to human anatomy and physiology. As a personal trainer, the expectation is to help others live a healthier life. In doing so, you will need to consult others on their nutrition and exercise habits.
- Opportunity to perfect your time management skills. Your future clients will each have very unique schedules that may require flexibility. Early exposure to time management will make your job much easier when it’s time to fit clients into your schedule.
- Work on your communication skills. As a trainer, you will be expected to guide your clients to a healthy lifestyle. This implies that you will need to effectively communicate with them.
- Business-related classes. Whether you choose to be your own boss or work for a company, you’ll most likely need to attract clients. Having some business background will not only increase your clientele but it will also help you become a well-prepared trainer.
- Work experience. Many schools offer on-campus jobs, many of which are centered around their fitness center. Before graduating, you may have the opportunity to train your fellow classmates by working for your school’s fitness center. That means you’d secure real-life job experience before graduation.
- A bachelor’s degree would look great on your resume. Some employers prefer a candidate with formal education.
If you’re looking for the full college experience, pursuing a bachelor’s degree might be ideal.
Another bonus is that many traditional education programs provide financial aid. You can apply for financial aid by using our FAFSA® platform here.
Not going for a bachelor’s degree?
Pursuing a personal trainer career without a bachelor’s degree will save you thousands of dollars but may require additional steps.
To become a personal trainer, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED at the bare minimum.
Here’s one thing to keep in mind, each requirement varies by employer. Although you may be asked to complete additional steps, such as certification programs, they’re generally quick and less expensive than your traditional college education.
Pursuing a less traditional route might limit your exposure to some of the points I made earlier. Either way, if you work hard and complete all required certifications, you’ll do just fine.
Whether you decide to pursue a personal trainer career with a college degree or not, you will still need to complete some certifications. Below is a list of some possible certifications required.
- ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
- ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist (RCEP)
- ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist (CES)
- Certified Medical Exercise Specialist (ACE-CMES)
- Group Fitness Instructor (ACE-GFI)
- Health Coach Certification (ACE Health Coach Certification)
- Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified (SCCC)
- Certified Group Exercise Instructor (NETA-CGEI)
- Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
- Tactical Strength and Conditioning-Facilitator (TSAC-F)
- PMA Certified Pilates Teacher (PMA-CPT)
*Click on each certification to learn more*
Aside from these certifications, you’re encouraged to get AED and CPR certified.
As you can tell, you don’t need a bachelors degree to become a personal trainer. It’s critical that you understand what you want to do with your career and make a decision about your education based on that. Whatever you decide to do, we know you’ll be successful.