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Becoming a Personal Trainer

Libby Remi provides advice on how to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

So, you hang out in the gym all the time, you are in shape, you are crazy about your health. Now if you could only get paid to live this kind of life! Well, you can. By becoming a Certified Personal Trainer, you can get paid to help others get in shape and lead a healthy lifestyle. However, there is a lot more that goes into the profession than just what you see in the gym.

Being a personal trainer, like any profession, has its nuances, challenges, and things you need to understand. In this article, I want to cover two of the biggest questions I get asked:

  1. How long does it take to become certified?
  2. Where should I try to work once I am certified?

How Long Does it Take to Become a Certified Personal Trainer?

The short answer is about three months. This incorporates the workshops that you must attend, the online coursework which many courses require, the hands-on training in the gym, and the exam portion. That said, in many cases, gyms will hire you without a certification. However, they will make your employment contingent on receiving your trainer certification within your first three months on the job.

Now, if you are graduating from college with a degree in Kinesiology or Exercise Science, the process will be much more streamlined, both in terms of finding a job and completing the certification process. While receiving your degree you will be coached on how to take all the tests required, as well as how to manage your clients.

Where Should I Focus my Attention Once I am a Personal Trainer?

The first-place people look, are to conventional health clubs, and there is nothing wrong with that. This is the place you are going to find the most motivated people that are looking to get in shape, and that could probably use some help. Regarding "needing help", studies are showing that one of the main reasons people join a gym and never go back is because they do not know what to do once they are in there. They feel out of place and do not know where to begin. They do not know if they should be focused on an aerobic routine, anaerobic routine, or possibly a mix. Honestly, most will have no idea what either of those routines even is. Personal trainers are there to fill this gap. They give the client a mentor/friend/trainer that knows what they are doing, and how to guide them. Even better, the need for personal trainers in this sector is rising, as is the number of gyms that are opening up in our health-conscious climate.

Another place to look is in retirement communities, nursing homes, and assisted care centres. With the growing baby boomer population starting to retire, there is going to be a very, very large need for individuals to design programs and help the elderly population that is looking to stay in shape. What is more, this is a segment of the population that needs assistance and is receptive to it. Their bodies are not as healthy as they used to be, their fitness goals may have changed, and they may not understand the best way to care for themselves anymore. You can carve out a niche for yourself in this market if you are successful.

Finally, and in perfect symmetry, look to the youth. With schools having more difficulty acquiring public funding, it has been the gym classes that have in part suffered. Leaving kids exercising less, and subsequently in higher need of people that can help them get in shape. Some theorize that this has a lot to do with the childhood obesity epidemic that we see today. Trainers are being used at a higher rate in settings such as community churches, summer camps, and child daycare to help keep children active and healthy.

All the statistics on careers within the personal trainer sector are promising. There are always going to be groups and individuals willing to pay good money to stay healthy. Not just in terms of the physical workload, but in terms of motivation and understanding healthy diets and lifestyles.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • LIBBY, R. (2012) Becoming a Personal Trainer [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Remi Libby is a graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Kinesiology and Political Science.  He is a certified personal trainer for individuals in the Chicago land area and also volunteers his time in youth initiatives at summer camps and the Special Olympics.