How to become a personal trainer

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), you can become a certified personal trainer in just 12 weeks. This is a great career path for people who have a passion for physical fitness and want the freedom to create their own schedule. 

So, how do you go about becoming a personal trainer exactly? Take a look below. We put together some information on what the process looks like and what the future could hold for you in terms of career success.

First steps in becoming a Personal Trainer

There are some basic eligibility requirements you must pass to become a personal trainer. Here’s a list of what’s needed for you to begin the process:

·       Must be at least 18 years old

·       Must have a high school diploma or GED

·       Must be Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certified

·       Must be Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Certified

If you don’t have your CPR or AED Certification, you can find a class and register on the Red Cross Website.

Pick a Program

When you’re looking at an institution or agency that offers Certified Personal Training (CPT) Programs, there are different options to consider. Some programs allow you to learn at your own pace, and other programs offer more in-depth study and training courses with in-person coaching.

The most important thing in picking a program is to make sure it’s an NCCA accredited program from a well-known organization or institution.

When you complete your program and pass your exam, the next step is finding a job. It might be beneficial to find an employer that will offer to help cover education costs for new certifications as well as certification renewals. Every couple of years, personal trainers are required to take Continued Educational Courses in addition to CPR/AED recertification.

Finding a job

Trying to start your own business in personal training with no experience might prove difficult in the beginning. Some early options when you are beginning your personal training career are:

  • Gyms: 24-hour fitness, Gold’s Gym, Lifetime Fitness and most of your local gyms have needs for personal trainers in their facilities
  • Personal Training Studios: sometimes these require specializations in certain areas of more experience/education. As a result of being more specialized, private studios generally pay more than the local gyms.
  • Hospitals/Wellness Centers: You might need a higher degree, but people that have injuries, surgery, and other conditions might need some help in overcoming different limitations.

Specialize yourself

Most personal trainers struggle to make money because they have very basic credentials. Trainers who specialize in a certain area can make more money and build a business around their skills and experience. 

If this is something you really want to be successful at, you should consider some of the following specializations:

  • Athletics and Sports: if you can help professional athletes either improve their performance or recover from injuries quickly, you can make a good living or even get hired exclusively for a team!
  • Orthopedics: Patients or clients in this field might need someone specialized to understand their pain and challenges and help improve their quality of life. A specialization such as this could put you in high demand.
  • Medical Exercise Specialist: This is basically the same as physical therapy. You would be helping people recover from different injuries, surgeries, or even muscle sprains. If you are highly qualified, you might be able to become a preferred partner for different doctors’ offices or rehab centers.
  • Nutrition: You can increase your client base with nutritional and diet consulting.

Becoming a successful personal trainer is going to be very similar to the process of physical fitness. You are going to get out what you put in, and the results will show. 

It isn’t going to be easy to build up your book of business and clients, but if your passion is physical fitness, it shouldn’t feel like work!