How You Can Become A Certified Fitness Trainer
Personal fitness training is a highly popular career option among various workers in the fitness field. The United States Department of Labor estimates that the demand for fitness trainers will increase at a rapid pace throughout 2018. A growth rate of 29 percent is anticipated, which is much higher than
There are many reasons why this is the case, including the increase in public awareness about health and disease prevention that has occurred over the past decade.
Those wondering how to become a certified fitness trainer will be pleased to discover that it is an occupation to which essentially any health-conscious individual can aspire.
The scope of personal training and the numerous opportunities found in the field make it challenging to create a particular job description for a fitness trainer. Nevertheless, at the heart of the job and at its most basic level, a personal fitness instructor assists clients with a vast array of activities, all of which are focused on increasing the person’s fitness level and helping that person to achieve and maintain optimum physical shape.
Personal trainers monitor and record the progress of their clients, and usually create customized diet and exercise programs that are tailored to their specific needs.
Virtually anyone who is passionate about health and fitness can learn to be a personal trainer. Therefore, if this is your dream, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by following the steps outlined below to prepare yourself to enter the industry.
How To Get Started
In addition to its large potential for growth, you will quickly discover that being a certified fitness trainer is both a fulfilling and lucrative occupation. For example, you can anticipate flexible hours, personal fulfillment and a great starting salary.
Helping others reach their fitness goals and watching their self-esteem skyrocket is a rewarding way to earn a good living.
However, it is important to make sure you are not blinded by the idea of making $60 an hour to work out. You must also understand that becoming a personal fitness trainer requires diligence, education and the right personality.
If you are not comfortable working with people or you prefer a job with traditional hours, it is probably not for you.
However, if you can work a flexible schedule and are a good communicator who can develop a positive relationship with clients, you will likely enjoy such work immensely. After you have made the decision to pursue this line of work, you must remember that a fair amount of money and time must be invested into your decision. Otherwise, you cannot expect to enjoy success.
This is because your client base wants to work with a trainer who is experienced and knowledgeable, and therefore it is essential to take the required steps to become certified before you begin seeking customers.
Before you get started, you should review the following certifying bodies and the different advantages each one has to offer:
- National Academy of Sports Medicine
- International Sports Science Association
- American College of Sports Medicine
- National Conditioning and Strength Association
- American Exercise Council
The selection process will largely depend on your personal opinion of each one and what appeals to you most when you review the various programs. An important aspect of which you should be aware is that not all gyms and fitness centers accept certification from all of the aforementioned programs.
For this reason, if you already have a particular establishment in mind from which you plan to seek employment, ask in advance about the certification programs they require and if there are any organizations they do not recognize.
Investing in Your Future
Certification programs can be quite costly, and you must be prepared for this when embarking upon your training. The cost of most courses is between $400-$1,000, but this will vary greatly from one program to the next, depending on the type of package in which you invest.
For example, if you choose a package that has a broad range of materials, such as an online portal, flashcards, practice tests, and textbooks, it will be more expensive than a course that you primarily complete online without any bells and whistles.
Regardless of which package you select, you must think of it as an investment and as such, an essential step in learning how to safely and legally train clients.
Additionally, you must remember that if you stick to your plan and complete the course, you will eventually be rewarded with a lucrative income that will far exceed the initial expense of your course.
Benefits of an Internship
If you are working with a limited budget, but do not want to wait to pursue your dreams, seeking a sponsorship–more commonly referred to as an internship–at a fitness center or gym is probably one of your best options. If you are lucky, you may even find an establishment that will offer you a job as you work out your internship, thus eliminating the cost of your certification.
Additionally, because all professions in the health and fitness field require some type of formal internship, you will be killing two birds with one stone. Along with obtaining certification, you will be networking to develop professional relationships with other personal trainers and shadowing trainers who have been at their jobs for lengthy amount of time.
These are the best individuals from whom to learn your craft.
Fortunately, there is a variety of internships available to individuals just like you who are planning to embark upon a new career. However, each one is different because they are all tailored toward the specific needs of the facility by which they are offered. Therefore, you must weigh all your options carefully if selecting an internship.
Studying is Vital to Your Success
As you may have suspected, one of your biggest challenges when becoming a personal fitness trainer is passing the certification exam. Virtually all programs provide study materials and textbooks to assist you to learn the information required to receive a passing grade.
As previously mentioned, you can choose from courses that are offered entirely online or those that provide additional hard copy study materials.
Regardless of which option you select, your grade on the final exam will be a direct reflection of the amount of time and effort you devote to your studies. Do not short change yourself by failing to designate a specific amount of time each day for your coursework.
After you have enrolled in a program, invested time and money, studied hard and passed the final exam, you will have your certification. Obviously, the next step is to find a place of employment.
If you plan to open your own gym, you will need start-up money.
On the other hand, if you plan to gain experience at a facility that is already established in the marketplace, you will likely have more than one fitness center from which to choose. If you have not enrolled in an internship or selected a facility in advance, it is wise to reach out to as many gyms and fitness centers as you can in order to increase your chances of finding employment.
Your two options are to work for a corporation or to work as an independent contractor in the field of personal training. If you choose the latter, in many cases you can still work in an established facility, but you have no guaranteed pay. Your salary will come from clients that you obtain on your own.
There are advantages and disadvantages associated with both options. If you become an employee of a gym or fitness center, there will be a specific client accumulation process mapped out for you in advance. However, if you choose to work for yourself at an establishment, you are basically using their space, but must find your own clients, and the fees you charge must be shared by the facility.
Should you decide to move out on your own, you will be responsible for acquiring clients and paying your own rent. Always carefully read any contract you enter into with any facility or individual.
Other considerations to which thought must be given when you are determining whether to work as an employee or independent contractor, are benefits and income taxes.
If you choose to work at a facility that offers covered employment, you will likely have the option of enrolling in health care coverage, a 401(k) plan, life insurance and other benefits or perks. In addition, taxes will be deducted from your salary. If you work as an independent contractor, you will be responsible for your own taxes and health care coverage.
The Option of Specializing
Virtually all experts agree that specializing in a particular niche is something necessary to your long-term success. Of course, you will need to gain some experience before you specialize, but if you give your new career 100 percent, this should not be a problem.
Once you have discovered which demographic group you are most successful with, you should continue your education to enhance your knowledge with this particular type of client.
Numerous certifying organizations provide advanced training targeted at various demographic groups, from athletes to senior citizens. Once you have gained enough experience, you can promote yourself as a specialist in that particular niche and attract the exact type of client with whom you feel most comfortable.
You cannot begin training new clients until you are covered under a reputable malpractice insurance. The latter shields you from liability and provides coverage against any claims that may be filed by an irate customer, whether or not he or she actually sustained damages.
If you are working as an employee of a gym or fitness center, this type of insurance may be provided. However, if you plan to rent your own space and work independently, it is vital for you to invest in insurance before beginning your new career.
Staying Active and Continuing Your Education
When seeking a career in the fitness industry, it is essential to practice what you preach. Although you can transfer knowledge to your clients that will apply to their situation whether or not you are physically fit yourself, most clients do not trust trainers who do not look as if they are taking their own medicine.
Therefore, your reputation and your clients’ confidence in you essentially depend on your own physical fitness level and your ability to demonstrate what you are teaching.
It is also important to be committed to ongoing education. Do not allow yourself to get stuck in ruts and be the trainer who shuns the newest approaches and equipment. In other words, make every effort to become well-rounded with each new addition to the industry, whether a philosophy or new equipment.
One of the best advantages of working as a personal fitness trainer is that the industry offers such a broad range of options for success. Not only is such a career emotionally fulfilling and financially lucrative, the fitness field is one in which exceptional growth is predicted by various organizations.
Most people do not plan to fail, but many fail to plan. For this reason, taking the appropriate steps right from the beginning, such as familiarizing yourself with exactly how to become a personal fitness trainer, is vital to your long-term success.
Organizing your goals and objectives on paper when you have made the decision to pursue this line of work is a wise course of action. Additionally, it is wise to only share your intentions with people you know will be supportive. For various reasons, many people play devil’s advocate when a person is launching a new career or stepping out into the unknown.
If you are like most people, negative words may be intimidating and make it more difficult for you to resolve to pursue your goals. This is why it is a good idea to tell only those who you know will support your endeavors.
Anyone planning to become a personal fitness trainer can ultimately anticipate a fun and rewarding future as they follow their new career path.