What Education Do You Need to Be a Personal Trainer?

You don’t need a college degree to become a personal trainer, but you will need to obtain a certification from a nationally recognized organization. Once you have your certification, you can start working with clients and helping them reach their fitness goals.

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The Role of a Personal Trainer

Personal trainers are fitness experts who help people set and reach their physical fitness goals. As a personal trainer, you will work with clients one-on-one or in small groups to help them exercise safely and effectively. You will also design customized workout programs based on your clients’ individual needs and goals.

To be a successful personal trainer, you must be passionate about health and fitness and have a strong desire to help others improve their lives. You should also be outgoing and motivated, with the ability to inspire and motivate your clients. In addition, you will need to have excellent communication and people skills.

While there is no specific educational requirements to become a personal trainer, most employers will require that you have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some personal trainers may also choose to pursue voluntary certification through a professional organization such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) or the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

The Education Requirements of a Personal Trainer

Most personal trainers have at least a high school diploma, although some have pursued higher levels of education, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in exercise science or a related field. Some personal trainers are also certified by an organization such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) or the American Council on Exercise (ACE). In addition to their educational background, personal trainers must have a strong interest in fitness and helping others achieve their fitness goals.


The most important education requirement for personal trainers is certification. There are many different organizations that offer certification, but the two most widely recognized are the National Commission on Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA). Certification ensures that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and effectively train clients.

In addition to certification, many employers prefer or require personal trainers to have a degree in a related field, such as exercise science, kinesiology, or physical education. While a degree is not required, it can give you an edge when competing for jobs.

Personal trainers must also be CPR and First Aid certified. This certification is typically obtained through courses offered by the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.


In order to become a certified personal trainer, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Although not required, many personal trainers pursue postsecondary education in exercise science, kinesiology, or a related field. Certificate programs in personal training also are available from many community colleges and technical schools and typically take 1 year or less to complete.

On-the-job Training

In addition to professional certification, personal trainers often have to complete on-the-job training before they can start working with clients. This usually involves shadowing another certified trainer and gradually taking on more responsibility as their skills and knowledge improve. Some gyms also require new trainers to successfully complete a gym-specific training program before they are allowed to work independently.

The Skills Needed to Be a Personal Trainer

A personal trainer is someone who helps people to achieve their fitness goals. A personal trainer is not only knowledgeable in fitness and exercise, but they are also excellent motivators. A personal trainer will typically have a college degree in a health or fitness-related field, and they will also be certified by a nationally-recognized organization.

Communication Skills

In order to be an effective personal trainer, you must be able to communicate well with your clients. This includes being able to listen to their goals and concerns, as well as being able to explain concepts in a way that is easy to understand. You should also be able to provide motivation and encouragement, as well as give constructive feedback.

Motivational Skills

In addition to being physically fit, personal trainers must also have excellent motivational and customer service skills. They need to be able to keep clients motivated throughout their workouts and help them set and reach their fitness goals. Because personal trainers work closely with their clients, they also need to be good listener and be able to build trust.

Organizational Skills

Personal trainers need to be able to juggle many tasks at one time. For example, a trainer may be working with one client on strength training while another client is doing cardiovascular exercises on the other side of the gym. The trainer must be able to keep track of the time, set up the equipment, and make sure that both clients are doing exercises correctly and safely.

Some personal trainers work with multiple clients at the same time. This can be challenging, as the trainer must be able to give each client the attention they need while not neglecting the others. In addition, the trainer must design a workout routine that meets each client’s individual needs while also being safe and effective for all.

Good organizational skills are essential for personal trainers, as they must be able to keep track of their clients’ progress, schedule appointments, and plan special events or workshops. They may also need to order supplies or equipment and keep track of inventory.

The Benefits of Being a Personal Trainer

Being a personal trainer can be a very rewarding career. You get to help people achieve their fitness goals, and see the results of your hard work firsthand. You also get to be your own boss, and set your own hours. However, there are a few things you need to do before you can start working as a personal trainer. Let’s take a look at the education and experience you need to be a personal trainer.

Job Satisfaction

A job with high job satisfaction will result in a happier life. If you are passionate about physical fitness and helping people, then a career as a personal trainer may be perfect for you. A study by the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) program found that people who were instructed by certified personal trainers had greater changes in body composition and cardiovascular health than those who were not instructed by certified personal trainers. In addition, another study found that participants who had a positive relationship with their personal trainer were more likely to continue exercising than those who did not have a positive relationship with their personal trainer.

Helping Others

Personal trainers typically work one-on-one with clients, helping them set and reach fitness goals. Although some personal trainers work in gyms or other fitness facilities, many are self-employed and work with clients in their homes or in other settings, such as parks. Some personal trainers travel to their clients’ homes or workplaces.

Good Salary

As of 2019, the median pay for personal trainers was $22.98 per hour, or $47,710 annually, which is much higher than the median salary for all occupations of $38,640. The top 10 percent of earners made over $74,520 per year, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $19,590.

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