Health & Medical Fitness & bodybuilding

What Is Required to Become a Personal Trainer?

    Certification

    • Although it is possible to make a living as a personal trainer without certification, it isn't the wisest course of action. People are savvy, and they want to know what qualifies you to train them. If you can point to a certification on the wall, that will help them choose you over the next guy. There are a lot of choices available when it comes to certification. Organizations such as ACE, the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the AFPA are just a few that offer classes and certifications for budding personal trainers. As the market continues to get tougher, some gyms are now looking first at candidates who have a four-year degree in exercise science, in addition to certification.

    Specialize

    • While choosing a specialty is not a required step in becoming a personal trainer, it may make the employment outlook that much brighter. This is something that can be done down the line, after a trainer establishes himself with a few years of experience. At that point, the trainer may feel more comfortable knowing which areas of training he likes most, and those which he doesn't enjoy. This can help the trainer decide where to specialize and acquire the requisite certification in that area. Some areas of specialization include nutrition, advanced endurance, and advanced weight training and resistance. Some personal trainers also find it easier to move into other related fields, such as physical therapy. Specialization can set a personal trainer apart from the pack, as can any additional training or education.

    Getting Started

    • There are two quick ways to get started making money as a personal trainer. The easiest way is to look up local health and fitness clubs in the Yellow Pages and ask them if they are hiring any personal trainers. If so, it could be a great way for a new personal trainer to get her feet wet and accrue some experience. The application process for each gym will vary but may require such aspects as a fitness test, a personal essay outlining your beliefs about fitness and wellness and/or a brief probation period in which the gym's employers can assess the trainer's abilities in working with her clients. Alternatively, a trainer can always go into business for herself. This will require getting the word out, however. This is usually best done by placing fliers and ads up at local gyms--as well as the Internet, grocery store bulletin boards and any local colleges. The trainer must ensure she has permission from one of the gyms to train others there, or have her own training facilities.

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