If you want to become a certified personal trainer, you have chosen a great career with a huge number of opportunities. With over 15% growth predicted within the industry for the last 5 years, you will be working in a high paced industry with lots of room for you to make your mark. Thankfully, getting certified is easier than you think, and is something you do either full or part time.
The first thing that you need to do is choose a program provider. There are a number of different certified training programs, and all of them will offer different approaches. Most programs differ the most when it comes to the types of exercises they emphasize, and the clients that they prepare you to deal with. There may be a large number of options available in your area, but most will work for what you need. Start your search with a specific goal in mind, and check out the top companies in your area.
Once you have chosen a company, you will need to prove you are eligible for the certification. You must be over the age of 18, have a valid government Identification card, have your current certification, and have completed high school or an equivalency. This does mean that you can certify right out of high school, and there is no upper limit for certification age.
Next you will undergo around 80-100 hours of training, to ensure that you know the best practices and can prove you will not harm your clients. This will normally take 3 months, but you can spread it out over a longer period of time as needed. You will need to pay careful attention in each sessions, and will need to read and understand all supplemental material as well.
The next step is to register for the exam, making sure that all of your documents are current and in their original form. This is a good time to cram in some extra studying as well. You will normally have to register for your test within 6 months of starting your training course, but you do not have to complete the exam within that time. You can put off the exam for up to 9 months, ensuring that you pass and get your certification.
After you have passed your test, you will receive, usually via mail, your official certification. You cannot practice as a trainer until you receive this certification. You must display this certification and allow it to be examined if you are questioned about your training. You must also keep current with any information in the field and may be required to keep up with new trends and developments via continuing education classes.
Once you are certified, you will gain access to business insurance, and a large number of discounts to begin stocking your own equipment. You will want to ensure that each piece you buy is in line with the guidelines for your specialty. You will also be responsible for the maintenance of all equipment that you purchase.
You will then be ready to start looking for a job, and to put in hours within your profession. If you do not find a job, you may have to re-certify within a number of years. However, there are a large number of options available for new graduates.
There are two paths to take when finishing your fitness training certification and looking to apply your skills.
The first is to look for an existing employer, joining with a program or group that has already been active. In this scenario, you are most likely working at a gym, and will be given assignments based on need. You may also find this work at hospitals, clinics, and various clubs as well. Generally you don’t choose your clients, but they are vetted through the organization, saving you paperwork and allowing you to focus on the needs of the client.
In the second type of opportunity, you open your own practice, or work out your home. This is the most common option, and one where you will be on your own to build up a number of different clients. You will generally be able to accept or refuse clients, and can focus heavily on a certain group of people or a certain type of training. This allow you more freedom, but does come with more paperwork and more liability.
Both options are completely valid and will complete your journey to become a certified personal fitness trainer.
To quickly recap – to become a certified personal trainer, you sign up for a fitness certification course, ensure you have the documents, spend a few months training, and then test out to prove your skills. After this you are free to work any way you want, and may even own your own fitness business.