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How to Become a Personal Trainer

Working out is no easy task. Whether going to the gym or getting fit at home, many people struggle with getting in shape. These difficulties can lead to significant health problems, weight gain, and even depression.

A personal trainer’s job is to help people overcome those difficulties and get them on the right track. This guide will teach you how to become a personal trainer in 2020 so that you can help people get in shape.

What Is a Personal Trainer?

A personal trainer creates fitness programs for their clients. These programs are one-on-one and are specifically designed around an individual’s weight goals, health, and body type.

Personal trainers may help a client lose weight, gain muscle, or increase stamina, depending on their goals. There are different approaches to personal training. Some are motivators, others work in a more mentor-like role, and some even push their clients in a drill-sergeant manner.

What Does a Personal Trainer Do?

A certified personal trainer works with clients in a one-on-one or group setting to help them reach their fitness goals. The fitness goals and levels of clients may vary, which is why personal trainers must be able to adapt and revise workout routines to fit their client’s physical capabilities.

Designing Workout Routines

Based on the client’s health goals, a personal trainer creates a workout routine for them to complete. The routine has a list of workouts with specific instructions. Some personal trainers even go so far as to give their clients a specific diet to go along with their workout.

Demonstrating Workouts

One of the most dangerous aspects of training is poor form. The proper form makes workouts more effective and reduces the chance of injury. Personal trainers demonstrate new workouts to their clients and make sure they have proper form with each rep.

Modify Workouts and Routines

When working out, it’s imperative to change up the routine and workout regimen as you grow stronger. Certified personal trainers use their knowledge and skills to adjust a client’s workout regimen to push them closer toward their fitness goals and ensure they reach their goals.

Essential Personal Trainer Skills

Outgoing Personality

Personal trainers work closely with their clients. Weight loss and extreme fitness goals are difficult to achieve. A personal trainer must have a personality that is inviting and friendly. Some personal trainers take a more drill-sergeant approach to physical fitness, but even they’ve established a level of trust with their clients.

Creativity and Organization

As a personal trainer, you must keep your clients motivated throughout the training process. This means being creative, making fitness plans, changing things up to keep them motivated, and more. A personal trainer must have the skills to recognize changes in their client and adjust accordingly to keep them on track.

Passion for Helping Others

When you’re a personal trainer, not every client will be the same. Some will be highly dedicated and others will struggle throughout various steps of the training process. Personal trainers must be passionate about their job and helping others. That passion is what drives them to get through the difficult times and ensure their clients reach their goals.


Extreme physical fitness puts people into a strong mental and emotional state. As a trainer, you must be patient and allow people to adjust to the difficult training and push themselves at their own rate. A personal trainer develops a relationship with their client and patience is key to making sure they stay on the right track.

Personal Trainer Salary

The average salary of a personal trainer in the United States is over $61,000.  However, the range typically falls between $40,000 and $75,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median annual wage for fitness trainers was $40,390 in 2019.

The salary of a personal trainer varies based on several factors, which include skills, education, certification, and experience. Personal trainers have various options when it comes to making money. Some of them work with gyms and receive payment regularly. Other personal trainers receive payment through their clients directly through private or online training.

Job Outlook for Personal Trainers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that personal trainer jobs will grow by 13 percent, which is much faster than the average outlook for all other occupations.

There are several reasons for this incredible growth. Businesses and insurance organizations are starting to recognize the benefits of having a fitness and health program for employees. More companies now provide caregiving incentives to employees so they can join a gym or receive some other form of physical fitness training.

Online personal training has also seen incredible growth. These online services allow trainers to make adjustments to schedules, workout regimens, and more in an easy and more immediate manner.

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

It can take eight to 10 weeks to become a certified personal trainer through the International Sports Sciences Association. For those earning their degree, it takes a minimum of two years to earn a relevant degree in personal training.

Prospective personal trainers can complete multiple programs to become certified. Many choose the route of school. There are bachelor’s and associate degree programs for those who want a career in personal training. These degree programs can last two to four years for full-time students.

Several organizations offer distance-learning personal training certification programs online. These programs are self-paced, which means you can study based on your schedule. It’s possible to complete these programs within a few weeks.

If you prefer to become a personal trainer at an actual facility, some certifying agencies have testing center exams. You’ll have to look up personal training testing centers in your area to find out when they’re open and how long they take to complete.

How to Become a Personal Trainer: Step by Step

With the rise in people wanting a healthier lifestyle, the demand for certified personal trainers is increasing. If you want to become a personal trainer, follow the steps below for this rewarding career choice.

Step 1: Get Your Degree

First and foremost, you must get your degree. You can become a personal trainer with a high school diploma. However, there are also options to study personal training further through an associate or bachelor’s degree program.

These programs give you greater insight into physical fitness, health, and more. They may also help you qualify for certain positions or make it easier for you to get certified as a personal trainer.

Step 2: Get Your Certification

The next step to becoming a personal trainer is to get certified. Certifications are requirements for you to become a personal trainer. While degree programs give you the knowledge to work as a trainer, certifications are what allow you to legally work as one.

You can choose from any number of certification programs to train individuals. However, you must choose a certification that’s accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

After you choose your certification program, you need to begin studying. These programs typically give you study materials and are self-paced. The length of time it takes to complete them depends on the program you choose.

Step 3: Take the Exam

After you’ve studied, the next step is to take your exam. You may be required to register for the exam within a certain amount of time after you’ve signed up for the certification program, so be prepared.

Before you’re allowed to take the certification exam, make sure you meet all the requirements needed to take it. For example, most certification programs require you to have your CPR/AED certification before you can take the exam. Look into your certification program to find out what prerequisites you need to meet.

Step 4: Choose Your Employer

After you’ve passed your exam, you’ll be an officially certified personal trainer. Having your certification means that you have the option to work in gyms or work directly with your clients.

Many gyms provide personal trainers stable income, but working with clients means that you set your own hours, prices, and more. Keep in mind what method works best for you during your studies.

Should You Become a Personal Trainer in 2020?

If you have a love for physical fitness and helping people, then becoming a personal trainer is a no-brainer. Not only do you help people become physically fit, but it also pushes you to stay in shape as well.

In terms of job outlook, personal training is expected to be in high demand. An increase in technology also makes it easier to become a personal trainer in a variety of ways. You can more accurately get an idea of how your client’s fitness is going, their health, and more to better serve them and help them reach their goals.


How Much Do Personal Trainers Earn?
Prices of personal trainers vary. The average rate a personal trainer charges is anywhere from $40 to $60 per hour. The national average is $55. With just a few clients throughout the week, it’s possible to make a livable income.
Is it Difficult to Become a Personal Trainer?
It is not difficult to become a personal trainer, but it does require an extensive amount of study and work. There are entry-level and advanced certification programs, depending on your level of knowledge. Personal trainers spend a lot of time creating workout plans for their clients and marketing their services.
How to Get Started as a Personal Trainer?
Once certified, personal trainers can work at any gym or health club they choose. Other personal trainers select a more entrepreneurial route, which requires a great deal of marketing.
What Gyms Pay Personal Trainers the Most?
The highest-paying gyms for personal trainers are 24-Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Crunch Fitness, LA Fitness, Planet Fitness, and Equinox. This list is based on base pay, incentives, and benefits.
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