Personal trainers devise routines and motivate performance in order to ensure that their clients get the most out of a workout. As fitness experts, they must remain knowledgeable about the latest exercise equipment and activities, but their number one priority remains client safety. The best trainers also provide expert advice and support on nutrition, lifestyle, and weight loss. In order to master these diverse skills, many obtain their expertise through online personal trainer programs.
Typically, a motivated person can earn a personal training certification online in one year. Most programs will cover the basics of fitness and equipment, as well as safety. People who obtain a certificate can likely expect to find work right away. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), personal trainers will remain in high demand through 2024.
Those who complete online certificate programs for personal trainers have their choice of work environments. Those who prefer to work one-on-one as personal trainers are frequently entrepreneurs, and they devise specific fitness plans for many individual clients in a health club or gym. Others use their fitness expertise to work as group trainers and instructors; often, these professionals are employed by a fitness center and not only devise and lead group classes, but perform other duties for the facility, as well. Most personal training certificate programs share basic admission requirements, such as a high school diploma or GED and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.
The typical vocational certificate in personal training will take two semesters to complete. Students will learn the basics of fitness instruction and fitness regimen design. The best programs will include classes in health and safety and also usually come with a CPR certification. Since many trainers are self-employed, many schools offer classes in entrepreneurship, as well. Most schools provide at least one course of hands-on experience, so students get real world experience in a supervised setting.
What's Next for Personal Training Certificate Holders?
According to the BLS, the median annual wage for fitness trainers and instructors in 2014 was $34,980, with just under 280,000 employed in the field in the U.S.
Some professionals choose to continue their education and pursue an associate degree. They know that with more education comes higher pay. According to the Georgetown University report, people with associate degrees will earn $180,000 more over their lifetimes when compared with their neighbors with vocational certificates. In fact, there is a clear preference by employers for higher educated workers. Those who continue with college and obtain a bachelor’s degree will have even higher earnings and better job opportunities.