How To Become A Fitness Trainer

Fitness trainers have the responsibility to lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities. Fitness instructors who work one-on-one with clients are called personal trainers. Fitness trainers and instructors guide people through many different exercises such as cardiovascular, yoga, Pilates, aerobics, and strength training. Fitness trainers initially work with senior instructors and conduct group training before moving on to individual training.

Fitness Trainer Job Description
Fitness instructors normally carry out the following duties:

  • Guide people in various exercises
  • Oversee clients to make sure that they are exercising correctly
  • Provide alternate exercises to people with different fitness level and skill
  • Keep a check on client's progress and customize fitness programs accordingly
  • Create awareness about the use of exercise equipment and safety rules
  • Inform clients about nutrition, weight control, and lifestyle issues
  • Apply first aid in case of an emergency

How To Become A Fitness Trainer
Fitness trainers and instructors require at least a high school diploma to begin their career. The educational requirements vary by employers, but many employers now prefer fitness instructors to hold an associate's or bachelor's degree in any relevant health care and fitness field; such as kinesiology, exercise science, or physical education.

Employers prefer certified fitness trainers and instructors. There is no specific training required for the certification, but there are many books, CDs, audio visual materials, workshops, and seminars for exam preparation. Many organizations offer certification in fitness and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) lists the certifying organizations that are accredited.

All certification exams have a written as well as a practical part. The certification exam aims to evaluate candidates on knowledge of human physiology, correct exercise techniques, ability to assess a client's fitness level, and on the development of exercise programs. Advanced certification in fitness requires candidates to have an associate's or a bachelor's degree in an exercise related subject. Advanced certification is available in specialized areas; such as training athletes, working with injured or ill people, or advising clients on a healthy lifestyle.

Personal Qualities And Skills
There are a number of essential personal qualities and skills that successful fitness trainers and instructors possess:

  • Customer service skills to attract, motivate, and retain clients
  • Listening skills to understand the needs and fitness goals of the clients
  • Speaking skills to effectively guide the clients on exercise routine and workout
  • Motivational skills to help clients follow the fitness program
  • Physical fitness as instructors require a considerable amount of exercise on the job
  • Problem solving skills to identify the fitness issues of clients and devise an appropriate fitness plan

Career Outlook And Salary
According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median wage of fitness trainers was around $31,000 in May 2010. The lowest ten percent of the fitness trainers earned around $17,000 or less, while the ten percent highest earners had an annual wage of $63,000 or more. The BLS also indicates a positive career outlook for fitness trainers and instructors. The job opportunities are expected to increase by 24 percent from 2010 to 2010, which is higher than average growth rate for all occupations.


Q:How long does it take to become a fitness trainer?

A:It can take you 1-2 years after college to become a fitness trainer. The exact duration will depend upon the academic route you pursue. Most fitness trainers pursue a certification in this field that may take 6-12 months to complete, and an additional year of practice/training. On the other hand, individuals can also opt for an associate degree which takes two years to complete.

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