How do I get Personal Trainer Certification?

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  • Written By: Britt Archer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 January 2019
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There are many jobs available to help others improve their health, and a personal trainer, sometimes called a fitness trainer or exercise trainer, is just one of them. Personal trainers are naturally self-motivated, and should be good at motivating others in a nurturing, patient and persistent manner. Good interpersonal skills as well as a good level of fitness are generally also necessary traits. A person wishing to break into the field of personal training does not need to be well-muscled, but should lead a healthy lifestyle to motivate and inspire their clients.

A personal trainer must acquire an education in the field, ranging from two- to four-year programs offered by colleges, trade schools and universities, or, in some cases, workshops given by accrediting organizations. The more education a person obtains, the more likely they are to receive personal trainer certification and build a good client base. A good knowledge of exercise physiology is essential to the job, as is knowledge of anatomy and general physiology. Continuing education to keep up with the latest ideas and methods is recommended for all personal trainers.


People look for personal trainers for a variety of reasons, and because of this there are many certifying associations. A person wishing to achieve personal trainer certification may want to choose one area of the population to work with, or work with all areas. A personal trainer may specialize in sports medicine, or work with those who have injuries or illnesses, for example. Another trainer may choose a more general route and seek employment at a gym, or become self-employed and run his own business.

Personal trainer certification is gained through an accrediting organization. The American Council of Sports Medicine and the American College of Exercise are just two examples. For those who are seeking work outside the United States, the International Fitness Professionals Organization is considered one of the prime accrediting bodies.

People with a personal trainer certification can find jobs in a variety of settings. Cruise ships and corporate offices will often hire accredited personal trainers to work with their clients or employees. The majority of personal trainers, however, work in a gym or set up a small business for themselves. Training a client in his or her own home is another popular option, as many people who want a personal trainer are too self-conscious to attend a gym and would like the individual attention and privacy that this setting provides.



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