Personal Trainer Certification and Certificate Program Information

A personal training certificate program prepares students for careers as personal trainers. Take a look at what is needed to become a certified personal trainer and salary information.

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Essential Information

Courses in a personal trainer certificate program focus on health basics, nutrition, anatomy and physiology. Students learn how to create effective strength and conditioning programs that incorporate different exercises and work all parts of the body. They also develop interpersonal skills in order to build professional relationships and establish open communication with clients. Voluntary certifications in personal training are available from a few organizations and usually require successful completion of an exam. Some of the program fields for personal trainer certification include heart and respiratory monitoring, resistance training, and training techniques and exercises.

Certificate in Personal Training

The coursework in a physical training program enhances students' ability to assess, monitor and improve human health. The curriculum emphasizes conditioning, strength training, nutrition and communication. Courses are available in:

  • Fitness testing
  • Health assessment
  • Flexibility training
  • Weight training
  • Nutrition and diet
  • Cardiovascular training

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), career opportunities for fitness trainers and instructors are expected to grow 8% from 2014-2024. This increase is due to companies understanding the importance of employee physical fitness and aging baby boomers becoming more concerned about their health. The BLS shows that the average annual salary for a fitness trainer or aerobics instructor was $40,970 per year, as of May 2015.

Continuing Education

Certification in personal training ensures that professionals have up-to-date knowledge in all aspects of exercise and nutrition. Although certification is not mandatory, some employers prefer to hire certified personal trainers. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) offers several fitness certifications, including one for personal trainers. The ACE certification consists of an exam that trainers prepare for on their own. After signing up for the test, students receive study materials from ACE.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) also offers a personal trainer certification. Students can choose from different levels and can prepare by ordering exam prep materials or enrolling in a preparation course.

There are other certifications available, but personal trainers should always check with the National Commission for Certifying Agencies to make sure the organization is accredited. Personal trainers may also want to assess their career goals and employers' expectations.

Although a certification is not always needed to be a personal trainer, many employers prefer it when hiring. Some of the courses needed to be certified include fitness and nutrition classes, as well as weight and flexibility training.

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