Physical trainers are more commonly known today as personal trainers, and to become a certified personal trainer, students must complete a certificate program and pass a test. High school graduates or GED holders can apply to these programs, but other requirements, such as a credential in first aid, might be necessary. These programs are offered at many types of post-secondary schools, including vocational schools, universities and community colleges.
Physical Trainer Certification and Certificate Program Information
Students in personal training certificate classes study human anatomy, physiology and human movement. They learn how to evaluate fitness levels, create fitness plans and perform various exercises properly. Some common classes include:
- Exercise science
- Resistance training
- Cardio-respiratory training
- Wellness and nutrition
- Business management
Personal trainers find employment in various fitness establishments and some are self-employed. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the fitness field is projected to increase 8% between 2014 and 2024. In May 2015, all fitness trainers and instructors, including personal trainers, earned an annual median salary of $36,160.
Professional Certification and Continuing Education
Graduates of personal trainer certificate programs are prepared to sit for a certification exam. The BLS reported that numerous agencies offer personal trainer certifications, and those that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies are the most respectable. Each certification agency sets its own eligibility requirements for receiving certification, but all applicants must pass an examination. Continuing education is usually necessary to keep the certification valid.
Students can pursue their studies in personal training further by enrolling in an associate's or bachelor's degree program. Relevant programs at the master's and doctoral levels are also available such as, athletic training, kinesiology or exercise science.
Getting certified is the best way to ensure success as a professional personal trainer, and the education necessary for certification is available at most post-secondary educational institutions.