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How Long Does It Take to Become a Personal Trainer?

author image Rick Rockwell
Rick Rockwell is a self-employed personal trainer and experienced freelance writer. His articles have been published throughout the Internet. He has more than eight years of experience as a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and lifestyle coach. His company, Rockwell Fitness, is dedicated to educating and empowering others to live healthy lifestyles.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Personal Trainer?
Woman instructing man with weight lifting. Photo Credit: Chris Clinton/Digital Vision/Getty Images

A personal trainer is a professional who assists the public in areas such as nutrition, exercise, goal setting, diets, lifestyle and more. It takes time to learn and develop the necessary education and skills needed to become a certified personal trainer. The amount of time depends on the individual’s prior experience, knowledge, and method for becoming a personal trainer.

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Online Program

Fitness organizations, such as the International Sports Sciences Association, offer an online personal training program for those interested in becoming a personal trainer. The program can take from four to six weeks to complete. The time frame is an estimation based on the average time taken for past enrollees. Once you have completed the online exam, it can take a few business days to receive your grade.

Testing Center

The most popular method for becoming a personal trainer is by taking a test at a monitored testing center. First, obtain the course material from the fitness organization and then schedule to take a test at a testing center close by. This process can take about six to eight weeks depending on the individual’s experience and knowledge, and the scheduling of the exam.


Some organizations, like the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, offer workshops as an option for becoming a personal trainer. Instead of studying on your own as in the online program option, you can participate in a three-day workshop that prepares you for the certification exam. Depending on your level of knowledge and experience, this method could take less than a week to complete.

Vocational School

There are many vocational schools that are now offering health and fitness programs for students. Typically, it can take up to two years to complete the program. Upon completion, the student will have enough knowledge and experience to pass the certification exam.

College Degree

Most gyms, health clubs, and fitness centers are accepting four-year college degrees as the equivalent to a personal training certification. The degree has to be in a related field like exercise science, physical education, nutrition, or kinesiology. This is the longest amount of time it could take an individual to become a personal trainer.


Before taking a personal trainer certification exam, an individual must possess certifications in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and First Aid. In fact, most gyms, fitness centers, and health clubs are now requiring an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certification.

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