15 Steps How to Become a Personal Trainer

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You may be asking what are the certification of a personal trainer? or how to become a personal trainer? or how to become a personal trainer in the gym?  and many more. Take it easy, the answers are here in this article.

However, before we go deep into the content, let me clarify who a personal trainer is.

So who is a personal trainer?

A personal trainer is an individual who has qualified to work in health clubs, fitness studios, gyms, recreation centers, hospitals and other relevant areas where they provide training tips(1).

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The training tips improve the overall health of the group or the person being trained.

In fact, exercise has several health benefits such as preventing chronic illnesses and helps in recovery from illnesses like cancer, diabetes, blood pressure among others(2).

Types of training tips offered by a personal trainer include aerobics and resistance training or strength training.

Steps on how to become a personal trainer?

To become a personal trainer you need to have certain qualifications or certifications, which are discussed in this article.

These certifications are result oriented and will allow you to deliver a successful skills to any fitness client who want to become fit.

Here are the steps on how to become a personal trainer

  1. Get qualified
  2. Choose your fitness specialty
  3. Register for personal trainer certification programs
  4. Get the required trainer skills
  5. Sit for the exams and pass it to get personal trainer certification
  6. Get insurance
  7. Find a personal trainer jobs
  8. Build your fitness brand

These are discussed in details as follows

Step 1: Get qualified to become a personal trainer

Yes, you need to get qualified. You cannot coach any person if you do not have the necessary skills and not over 18 years. Therefore, this is the first step on how to become(3). 

So, what are the qualifications of a personal trainer?

For you to be a personal trainer, you need to qualify from various certifications programs.

There are various training or lessons offered by professional bodies, to support those who want to become a personal trainer. It will also enable you to avoid mistakes as a new personal trainer.

There are also examinations that you must pass to get certificates.

To be precise, here are the qualifications of a personal trainer.

You must be 18 years of age or older, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and have at least two years of physical fitness experience(4)

In fact, the qualifications of as a personal trainer varies depending on what you aim to specialize in.  You can specialize on aerobic or resistance training.

Also, there are several classes that someone in a fitness industry can specialize on.

In addition, you have to abide by the rules and regulations of the government.

For that matter, you are not allowed to influence a group to participate in illegal acts like robbery, killing among others.

Summary

You need to be 18 years and above and have completed at least your high diploma. Actually, most national certification bodies only require candidates be 18 years plus and have a high school diploma or equivalent to sit for a certifying examination.

Step 2: Choose a fitness specialty

Yes, you need to know what you want to pursue. Actually, every person has it area of interest and you too have a unique personal interest. 

Therefore, you need to choose a fitness specialty prior to becoming a fitness trainer.

There are several specialties in fitness industry, for that matter, select a specialization that matches your skill sets, personal interests, and professional goals(5).

Once you have selected your specialty, review the various fitness certifying bodies and each of their fitness certifications.

Register for the program that makes the most sense, from a preparation and professional outcome point-of-view(6).

You can select the best specialty depending on your interest to avoid trainer mistakes.

Here are the best specialties you can choose:

  • Athletics and Sports: as a personal trainer, you can help athletes improve their core strengthening, balance, speed, and performance and get more income.

how to become a personal trainer

  • Weight Management: As a fitness trainer, you  can work with fitness clients who are overweight, obese and big belly bulges who want to manage weight, or manage their lifestyles(7)
  • Orthopedics: You can work with clients who have knee pain, arthritis, or other chronic conditions(8).
  • Medical Exercise Specialist: As a personal trainer,  you can work with post-rehabilitation clients who are recovering from conditions such as heart problems, muscle sprains, or orthopedic surgery to enjoy the benefits of exercise(9).
  • Nutrition: you can help clients with the diet portion of their goals, giving them specific advice on how they can eat healthily and lose weight(10).

Summary

Fitness specialty is very important to every fitness trainer, therefore, choosing the right path is key to success as a trainer. The specialty such as medical, nutrition, orthopedics and weight management are booster for more salary. You need to have certain skills on those areas for easy coaching of group of fitness clients.

Step 3: Register for personal trainer certification programs

The next step is to identify the certified body and register for the course you are interested in and make fee payments(11).

In fact, for you to get personal trainer certificate, you have to undertake a given fitness program that are offered by various organizations.

 This can take varying duration depending on the specialty.

However, for a full course, you need to have 200 hours of study including exams. That is two years of study.

Some courses can take hours to get completed. For instance, taking only specialized courses such as for squats can take few hours and you are done.

However, for two years studies, you will be taught on wide array of units such as anatomy, physiology, philosophy, techniques and teaching methods(12).

In addition, many professional bodies offer other credentials including sports facilities, vocational schools, community colleges, gym among others. Remember the best company is all you need to get your certificate from.

What is personal trainer certification cost? 

The personal trainer certification costs vary from about $300 to more than $1000, and may not include the study materials and workshops.

While the exams cost for fitness programs ranges from $250 to $600 depending on the certified body.

cost of certification programs

Where to get the best personal trainer certification programs to become a personal trainer?

Here are some of the professional bodies where you can get your personal trainer certificate after completing your course.

  1. National Academy of Sports Medicine

You need to have National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer certification.

Before getting the certifications from NASM, you need to register and sit for exams.

They provide lessons that will pave your way to a skilled personal trainer.

After training, you will be required to sit for exams, in which you have to pass. 

Actually, National Academic of Sports Medicine provides optimum performance training model that enables all the fitness trainers to successfully train any fitness client who want to become fit.

  1. American Fitness Professionals & Associates

AFPA is a professional body that provides optimal training skills to those in fitness industry.

They offer several practical skills including, nutritional and wellness skills.

Some of the most common offered lectures and certifications include Personal Trainer Certification Course, the Advanced Personal Trainer Certification Course, and the Master Personal Trainer Certification Course.

Therefore, they can equip you with the best skills and techniques to perfectly train anyone who wants to become healthier through fitness.

A part from all those, they also provide a wide array of physical activities to the society such as yoga, Pilate, boot camp and various fitness classes to children, adults, and elderly people.

  1. National federation of personal trainers (NFPT)

They also provide a wide array of courses for those who want to become a personal trainer.

In fact, this organization gives out exams to his students, and other learning materials.

NFPT provides Certified Personal Trainer credential to his students after successfully passing your exams.

These equip any personal trainer to deliver optimal services to any fitness clients and get paid good money.

You can learn online through their website portal and fitness program design software.

  1. American council of exercise (ACE)

You can also get your certificate as a personal trainer through American Council of Exercise.

They provide perfect course for the students including practicals that enable you to acquire the best skills of all time.

In fact, ACE is the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education, and training organization in the world offering ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam online.

You can register from any location and get the lessons and exams plus your certificate online.

So be sure to get the best from this professional body.

  1. Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)

Another professional body where you can have self-study to get your personal trainer certificate is the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America(AFAA).

It provides rich reading materials both online and offline.

After the study, there is end examination test that is given. You have to pass the exams in order to be awarded the certificate.

The exam can be initiated online or offline .

They also provide the practical aspect of the training through their well-designed software.

Furthermore, you can get their learning materials on their online shop or on their workshop.

Other bodies include

  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

Personal trainer certification test

This part is very important since you need to acquire the best skills and certifications.

So, you need to sit for your exams and ensure that you pass the test.

The goodness is that most personal training certifications are computer-based tests that you can do online.

However, you have to pass the exams in order to get your certifications as a personal trainer.

personal trainer certification

Summary

You have to pass the exams from a certified bodies to get  certifications of personal trainer. The above bodies provides the best certifications for fitness trainers and you can work anywhere. However, the fee or cost of certification programs varies depending on the company.

Step 4: Ensure you have the required skills

So, what are the skills of a personal trainer?

As a personal trainer, you need to have enough soft skills to enable you relate with clients and others. For that matter, you need to have the following skills: 

  1. Fitness Assessment skills

Getting the best personal trainer fitness plan, you need to have enough skills and understand fitness screening techniques.

Know what is best for your fitness clients, what they love and how you can improve them(13).

You need also to be  capable to identify the risk factors that could impact the client’s health.

This will enable you to become a successful personal trainer and get more income.

  1. Communication skills

A personal trainer must have good communication skills.

Actually, as a personal trainers, you should be effective communicators with solid communication skills.

Be capable to teach clients and have good listening skills(14).

You should also be able to respond to client needs, and maintain professional relationships.

This will build a good brand and boost your incomes. In fact, good communication skills is very important in every aspect of life, not just in business alone.

  1. Leadership skills

Being able to portray a good leadership to your fitness clients is very important(15).

As a personal trainer, you will be leading a big team of fitness clients that will require a good leading to every steps in becoming fit.

In fact, a fitness trainer should be ethical professionals that have an ability to convey information effectively to build a strong bond with fitness clients to achieve their dream goals.

  1. Nutrition & Weight Management skills

To become a successful fitness trainer, you should be knowledgeable about nutrition(16).

Know the best meals for fitness clients and be able to recommend them on which diet plan is best for them.

For instance, you are coaching obese and overweight clients, recommend then on which foods to eat and to avoid for effective weight loss and how to start realistic workout plan.

Also, be able to establish appropriate exercise program guidelines for weight loss and management(17).

  1. Analytical Thinking skills

A personal trainer needs to know when the client is tired to avoid overtraining and clients learning styles(18).

For that matter, it is very important to you to understand human behavior, able to understand and leverage a client’s learning style. This will help them in  maximizing their exercise needs and achieving their dream goals faster.

It will also build a good brand for you enabling you to make good money.

  1. Exercise Mechanisms skills

Trainers should have a vast library of knowledge around exercise, including proper warm-up and cool-down, session length, type of equipment required, physical limitations, and exercise monitoring to provide safe training plans for clients.

Summary

Having enough soft skills listed above can enable you grow your career as the best personal trainer. Good skills is a result oriented in every business. It promotes a stronger bond within your specialty. For that matter, you should learn the skills above for your own benefits.

Step:5 Get personal trainer insurance

It is important to take insurance cover after getting personal trainer certification?

Yes, insurance cover is very important for everyone who is involved in any business.

It help you cater for any loose in case there is damage. Therefore, as a personal trainer, you need to have insurance for the liability of your job(19).

This is one of the best strategies to stay safe and grow your monthly income while coaching any fitness client. Actually, 99 percent of businesses have insurance cover and they are doing well.

For that matter, you need to apply for insurance cover, visit any certified insurance organization or you can apply online. Now you are set to go.

Do You Need To Get A Personal Trainer License after getting personal trainer certification?

Most people in the fitness industry as if they have to get a personal trainer license in order to qualify as a fitness trainer.

Actually, having a license is one of the requirements for any legal business in every country.

Therefore, getting a license is guarantee to a successful business.

However, for a personal trainer, there is no license requirement.

You can therefore, offer your skills and services to a group of people or individuals who want to become fit or recover from chronic illnesses.

However, you must get certifications as a personal trainer in the fitness industry.

Step 5: Find a personal trainer jobs

The big question is here, how to find a personal Trainer Job after getting personal trainer certification?

After getting your certificate and the required skills, now you are set to find a job. Happily, there are a variety of places you can work as a personal trainer, not just at a gym.

In fact, you may be an employee of a health club, recreation centers, hospitals, business or work as an independent contractor for them(20).

Furthermore, you may also train clients with various chronic illnesses at home-base.

Here are places you can get a job as a personal trainer

  1. Commercial Gyms such as 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Planet Fitness, among others(21,22,23)
  2. Gym Studios: you can apply job in local and get paid
  3. Local Community Centers like local clubs.Actually,  most fitness clubs hires fitness trainers
  4. Hospitals or Wellness Centers
  5. Cruise Ships like Cruise Ship Job Finders (24)
  6.  Spas/Resorts: All-inclusive resorts sometimes hire personal trainers or fitness instructors to teach exercise classes. Cool Works and ResortJobs.com are websites that provide job listings for parks, resorts, and spas(25,26).
  7. Corporate Fitness: You can work for a company that offers corporate wellness packages for businesses wishing to improve their employees’ health.
  8. In-Home Training. You can train clients in their homes.

Step 6: Build your fitness brand

How to build a brand for a personal trainer?

To market yourself as a personal trainer may be challenging. For that matter, you need to do the following to get more clients and find more jobs as a fitness trainer. See 15 steps how to make boost your income as personal trainer here.

  1. Create your fitness website

The website is very important for you as a fitness traner. It will allow you to write fitness blogs, sell your products and do affiliate marketing among others.

This will generate more income as compared to someone who has no websites.

Interestingly, setting up your website can be as simple as getting a domain name and signing up with a simple website company, or making your site with the help of a web designer.

         2. Design your business cards

Let people know your capability, market yourself.

This is best when you have business cards to give your clients or friend to build awareness. You can create your own business cards at home or you can use a low-cost website(27).

          3. Create Social media accounts

Social media is a great tool for you. However, it can be good or bad.

You need to monitor the activities in your account to avoid social media frauds and hackers. Set up profiles on Facebook, Twitter,  and Instagram so you have a way to communicate with your clients

  1. Networking

Networking can land you to a gig and sponsorship. You can also offering free seminars, locally or online, about exercise, health, diet, etc. are often a great way to meet potential new clients.

Personal trainer certification

         5. Ask for referrals

Be free to ask for referral from your clients. In fact, your existing clients can be a great source of marketing to their social circle. They can get you more clients. This will boost your income.

What is the salary of a personal trainer?

As a qualified personal trainer, the salary will depend on where you are working.

However, a personal trainer can earn an average of $40,000 to $100,000 or more per year. That means you can make $3,300 to $8,300 per month(28).

Some may have other part-time clients that can boost the monthly income as a personal trainer. So you need to work smart to boost your incomes.

This means you have to avoid certain mistakes as a personal trainer.

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You need also to improve your services. See how to increase your incomes as personal trainer here.

 You can also visit this link to get to know the mistakes to avoid as a personal trainer.

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Summing it up

For you to become a personal trainer, you have to qualify and acquire a personal trainer certificate from a certified organization. You need also abide by the rules and regulations.

Having an insurance cover is another important thing you should have to secure your activities.

There is no license required for you to become a personal trainer.

However, you need to have a personal trainer certificate. So, you will need to register with professional bodies to learn various lessons and sit for exams either online or one-on-one.

You must pass the exams in order to be awarded a certificate.

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