How to Become a Personal Trainer


When the best part of your day is the time you get to spend working out, becoming a personal trainer might be a good way to supplement your income or even start your own business. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job prospects for fitness trainers and instructors are expected to grow by 13 percent -- about as quickly as other jobs from 2012 to 2022 -- meaning the outlook is pretty good should you decide to pursue personal training.

Pass a Certifying Exam

  • While it's not an absolute requirement, fitness centers prefer to hire people who are certified personal trainers. Certifying bodies include the American Council on Exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Each organization offers study materials and requires candidates to take a certification exam, though the costs and content can vary. Generally, you'll need to know the basic tenets of exercise science, kinesiology, anatomy and exercise programming to pass the exam. You must also be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma and a valid CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certification in most cases. Once you've paid the fees and passed the exam, you can start working -- though according to the BLS, many trainers opt to work or intern under a more experienced trainer before striking out on their own. Some employers may require an associate or bachelor's degree.

Skills You'll Need

  • Having a love for fitness goes without saying in this profession, but on top of that you'll also need to be good at motivating people and listening to their needs. A head for statistics and tracking progress through charts and graphs can help motivate clients to keep going. In general, clients will appreciate a trainer who's positive, friendly and professional -- meaning she shows up on time and respects the client's needs.

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