You know how much I like helping others figure things out and tons of people have asked me how I got started as a Personal Trainer. Funny thing is that when I started researching becoming a personal trainer, I was asking my now husband's cousin a million and one questions because I couldn't find a credible source on the internet.
So here I am, your trusted source.
There are many ways to get started:
1. You can get a degree in Exercise Physiology and really learn all of the mechanics of the human body before sitting for the test. This is great for someone who is younger or has the time to get back to school. It's not for everyone because you will be taking college level courses. Remember however, that you still need to sit for the certification exams. I would say this is great if you want to work at a facility of some sorts and you want to train a specialized client base.
According to the International Sports Science Association, "Graduates with an Associate's Degree in Exercise Science work as Master Trainers in health clubs and fitness centers, run their own training businesses, or pursue Bachelor's or other Advanced Degrees in Exercise Science, Kinesiology, Physical Education, Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, or Chiropractic."
If you are interested in going this route, I highly suggest you check out a number of institutes and college's that offer the degree and take a look to see if the cost, time commitment, etc., is a good choice.
2. The other way is to go the self-study route. There are LOTS of certifying organizations so you really have to think about where you want to work, who would want to work with, and what exactly you want to do.
3. Research. Research. Research. Here is a list of some of the certification courses I am aware of and the ones most gyms and corporate facilities ask about:
- Aerobics and Fitness Association of America
- American Council on Exercise
- American College of Sports and Medicine
- National Academy of Sports Medicine
4. Choose Your Study Program.
5. Study and Pass the Exam. Remember, this is the easy part. Just because you pass an exam does not mean you are an amazing trainer. Working with people will determine your worth and your abilities.
6. Begin interviewing for jobs. At the beginning, many gyms will bring you in to their corporate specific Personal Trainers training program. You will be almost like an apprentice, learning the ropes and learning how the gym likes their trainers to train.
You will have to learn salesmanship as well. If talking to people is something you are not comfortable with, get ready to get uncomfortable. You won't have clients if you can't sell them packages. You won't help people if you can't talk to them to offer your help! That's how it is. Get out there and get yourself seen. Many times starting out, your hours are going to be very weird. Remember, fitness professionals work when others don't.
7. As you become more and more versed as a trainer, you will learn what you like, what your specialty is and you can access continuing education to help you grow as a professional.
8. Maintain your Certification. Part of having a certification means keeping up to date with it. Another reason why to attend courses and access continuing ed through your certifying org is because those courses help you build credit towards your certification renewal!
Your professionalism is what will keep you in the game so continue growing, learning, and becoming better in your craft in order to demand more dollars and help more people.
If you haven't yet, check out my blog post ... "Considerations for a Career in Fitness"