Personal training can be a fun and rewarding profession that requires you to teach your clients how to exercise in an effective and safe manner. You are also responsible for motivating your clients and keeping them accountable to their health and fitness goals. The personal training field is growing rapidly, with the United States Department of Labor projecting an increase in the number of trainers by 29 percent from 2008 to 2018.
Education and Training
As a trainer, you will need to have a thorough understanding of exercise physiology, anatomy and biomechanics. These fields of study will teach you how to design fitness programs and the potential changes the client’s body will make in response to those programs. To work as a personal trainer, you will typically need to pass a personal training competency certificate exam. Some, but not all, of the major companies that offer these certificates require a four year bachelor’s in kinesiology or a related field. Some of the most nationally recognized certifications are through the American College of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. To ensure that trainers are current with the latest in personal training and exercise science, many of these certificate programs require continuing education in the form of correspondence work or attending hands-on workshops.
Job growth in personal training is projected to expand. This is in large part due to the aging baby boomer population and the national rise in obesity rates. Traditionally, trainers would work with middle-aged women; however, there has been a shift in clientele types with trainers catering to clients of any age, gender and fitness level. As of 2008, the United States Department of Labor counts a total of 261,100 active personal trainers in the United States.
The yearly turnover rate for personal trainers is high, and a result, there is strong demand for part-time personal trainers. There are three main branches of personal training job prospects. At the medical level, trainers work within the care of doctor’s and physicians to train clients. Corporate personal training is another key job area with large companies hiring trainers to keep their workers healthy and in-shape. The third, and more traditional area, of personal training jobs are located in large and small gyms and studios across the country. Personal trainers can often transition their skills into group exercise instruction as a means of supplementing their income. More specialized training can also allow a personal trainer to work as a strength and conditioning or sports specialists whose primary job is to work with elite level athletes.
Trainers can expect to make anywhere from $19,000 to $44,000 for a full-time position. Educational level, job experience and demographic make-up of the location you are training all play a crucial role in the amount of money you can make. It is also important to note that since most personal training positions are part-time, compensation in the form of health insurance and a retirement package are unlikely.