How to Become a Personal Trainer

By Kate Horney


How to Become a Personal Trainer


With more than 6 million people working out with personal trainers, it’s safe to say that the fitness industry is growing. In fact, the fitness industry is expected to grow more than 16% from 2015 to 2020!

If you’re someone who has an interest in health and fitness, there’s never been a better time to turn your passion into a career. The average salary for personal trainers is on the rise, and beyond making an income, the impact that personal trainers can have on their clients is incredible rewarding. Bonus: you get to wear workout clothes every day! 


Do you have what it takes to be a personal trainer?


Here are some things to consider before you begin your path to becoming a personal trainer. 

Successful personal trainers must have:

  • Passion for fitness and helping others
  • Education and certifications
  • Communication skills
  • Dedicated work ethic
  • Commitment to lifelong learning
  • Enthusiasm
  • A strategic business plan
  • Time to prepare


Turn your Passion into your Profession

Many women become personal trainers because of a passion for health and fitness. Experiencing the results of a fit lifestyle first hand creates a desire to share what you’ve learned with others. Helping others achieve and maintain their fitness is a rewarding profession. So if you have a passion for health and fitness, here are some things to help you turn it into a profession.


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How to Become a Personal Trainer: F.A.Q.


What is your role as a personal trainer?

  • Instruct or coach groups or individuals on exercise activities and the fundamentals of physical fitness.
  • Demonstrate techniques and methods of participation.
  • Observe clients and teach them corrective measures needed to improve their skills.
  • Act as a wellness coach with a strong science-based education.
  • Design exercise programs appropriate for members of a variety of healthy populations.


Where can you work as a personal trainer?

Trainers work with people in a wide variety of environments.

  • Gyms
  • Health and fitness clubs
  • Corporate wellness programs
  • Hospital programs
  • Clients’ homes
  • Parks
  • Resorts
  • Online


What education do you need to become a personal trainer?

A good personal trainer is always learning. It’s a lifetime commitment. Some go the college route and complete a Bachelors or Masters degree. Other trainers choose to learn on their own and complete stand alone certification courses using resources such as books, videos, and online course studies.

Trainers need an understanding of human anatomy and physiology. They also need to know principles of exercise science and how to design appropriate training programs for their client’s specific needs.


Which personal training certification is best for you?

You need a nationally accredited certification. It gives you credibility in the eyes of employers, peers, insurers, and clients.

Certification is a requirement at most gyms and private training studios. In addition to passing the exam, certified personal trainers are most often required to be 18 years of age, hold a current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) certification. Deciding which certification is best for you can be overwhelming, as there are many organizations that certify personal trainers, but the most important thing to look for is an organization has been accredited.   

Here are a few accredited organizations to look into:

  1. American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  2. National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  3. International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  4. American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  5. National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)


Once you’ve chosen your education path to becoming a personal trainer, you’re ready to get started.


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How to Become a Personal Trainer: 4 Steps


  1. Choose Your Education Program: The first step in becoming a personal trainer is to decide on your education program. Whether it’s college classes working towards a Bachelors or Masters degree, or an accredited stand alone personal training certification, the first step is to decide which education program is right for you, to secure your study materials and to prepare for your exams. In general, most college courses in Exercise Science are 4 or 6 year programs. Stand alone personal training certifications generally require about 80-100 hours of study total. Depending on your background, experience, and available time you may be able to complete a stand alone course in a shorter amount of time.
  2. Pass Your Exam: If you’re pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the health and wellness field, you’ll need to complete all required course work, internships, etc in order to complete your degree. If you’re enrolled in a stand alone personal training certification, there is generally both a written and practical exam that must be passed in order to become certified. You’ll also need to make sure sure you meet all prerequisite requirements for your exam, which includes holding a current CPR/AED certification with live skills check.
  3. Start Your Career: Upon completing the required examinations and receiving your certification, you’re ready to begin your career. It’s wise to look into liability insurance before you begin to train potential clients or seek out employers. You’ll need to determine which environment you want to work in (a health and fitness club, specialty studio, medical fitness facility, or if you’d like to venture out on your own) and where. Get a clear idea of your target market to connect with clients who will be a good fit for your services.
  4. Continue to Learn: As you work with clients, you may find it helps to focus your expertise in specific areas like sports conditioning, fitness nutrition, weight management and behavior change. Consider the needs in your community, what you are most passionate about, and your preferred training style. As a personal trainer, you’ll need to maintain a current certification and will always need to continue education to enhance your competence to safely and effectively lead people to change.

Have you considered becoming a personal trainer? Get in touch with me to find out more information about our BeyondFit Trainer’s Course!


Here’s a free ebook to get you started!


Get 3 Ways to Boost Your Business & Make an Impact…Earn More Money and Help More People!


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You’ll discover:

  • The 3 key ingredients to grow your list of clients now
  • The formula to turn a client’s ‘no’ into a ‘YES’
  • The proven plan that has brought in over 1,000 clients in the last 3 years
  • The most important client retention strategy that you must always remember


Download the eBook HERE!


There will no doubt be more questions you need answered once you start your career. Finding a mentor can help you navigate some of those challenges, and I’m happy to help with any additional questions you may have.

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