Personal Training Online Courses with Career Options

Aspiring personal trainers can find online courses and programs that can help prepare them for certification and a career in the field. Students can study the fundamentals of exercise science, as well as their applications to the creation of training programs for individuals with different needs.

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Online Courses for Personal Trainers

Here are some descriptions of online courses related to personal training:

  • Anatomy and Kinesiology: In this program, students are introduced to all of the basic body systems (anatomy), with a focus on the control of the musculoskeletal system (kinesiology). It can provide foundational scientific knowledge for personal trainers.
  • Exercise Physiology: This science course focuses more specifically on the state of the human body during exercise and how to optimize performance. Emphasis is placed on the cardiopulmonary, neuromuscular and glandular systems.
  • Sports Nutrition: Personal trainers who wish to work with athletes can take this course to learn about how dietary choices relate to energy metabolism and overall performance. Students learn about designing eating plans and using nutritional supplements.
  • Special Populations: This course prepares personal trainers to work with special populations, such as senior citizens or those with chronic health problems, such as cardiovascular disease or arthritis, who want to improve their fitness. They learn to design programs that help these individuals meet their training goals while staying safe.
  • Client Consultation and Fitness Assessment: This course prepares personal trainers for success in their first meeting with a client, when they are evaluating the client's current fitness level and health goals. Students may learn about effective communication, as well as fitness assessment techniques to determine the client's strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity.
  • Business Administration for Personal Trainers: In this course, personal trainers are introduced to the business aspects of the field, such as marketing their services to prospective clients and managing payments.

Program Information

Online educational programs for aspiring personal trainers result in either a professional certificate or associate's degree. Some are designed specifically to prepare individuals for industry certification exams. Participants in these online courses may watch lectures or videos offering practical demonstrations of training techniques. In addition to coursework, some programs also offer optional field internships of up to six weeks at local fitness facilities, providing aspiring trainers with hands-on experience in the field. For experienced personal trainers, there are some schools that offer online continuing education course credits, which are required to maintain certification.

Career Information

While certification is not a state or federal requirement, most gyms and fitness centers prefer to hire personal trainers who have earned one or more professional designations, such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA) certification. In fact, some online certificate programs are offered in partnership with industry organizations. While graduates must still take separate examinations to become certified personal trainers, discounts on exam fees and study materials are offered to graduates, and guided self-study courses for exam preparation are often available.

In their careers, personal trainers usually work with individuals or groups at gyms or recreational centers. They may find employment at local YMCAs, private fitness facilities, or they may offer their services independently on a contractual basis. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that job growth for fitness trainers and instructors would be 8% from 2014 to 2024, which is about average compared to the national average for all occupations. This growth will be fueled by increased awareness of the benefits of exercise, as well as the growing number of baby boomers interested in physical fitness. This especially rings true for personal trainers with extra training in yoga and Pilates, since many older clients seek lower impact exercises and training regimens.

There are a variety of online courses that aspiring and experienced personal trainers can take to prepare for certifications and/or boost their knowledge in relevant topics. Programs can lead to either a certificate or a degree.

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