How to Become a Personal Trainer

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Contributor, Benzinga
May 26, 2020

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Do you love all things fitness? A career as a personal trainer may be the perfect fit. You can create tailored workouts for your clients, advise them on lifestyle choices and watch them meet their goals right before your eyes. This gratifying career also has a high earning potential if you want to venture off and start your own company. 

Benzinga’s guide will teach you how to become a personal trainer. 

Personal Trainer Overview

Maybe you have an idea of what personal trainers do but seek more detailed information on the role. You might be brimming with questions: How much can you expect to earn? What are the education requirements for new trainers? Do you need to get certified? Will there be a higher demand for personal trainers in the future? 

We’ve included the answer to these questions and more. 

Job Description

Personal trainers help individuals or small groups meet their fitness goals. In this role, you will educate clients on proper fitness and nutrition and share ways to make positive lifestyle changes. You will also assess your clients’ physical fitness and create exercise regimens to ensure they reach their fitness goals and lead healthier, active lifestyles.

Training can be done at the gym, at a client’s residence or in a location convenient for your clients. 

Salary Information

In May 2019, the median annual wage for personal trainers was $40,390, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here’s how it breaks down by the top industries that employ personal trainers: 

  • Civic and social organizations: $33,080
  • Educational services: $38,320
  • Fitness and recreational sports centers: $42,700
  • Government: $37,440

Education Requirements

You should earn a high school diploma before pursuing a career as a personal trainer. Some employers also require an associate or bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, exercise science or a similar discipline. 

Job Outlook

The projected growth rate for personal trainers is 13% through 2028, notes This is good news for the industry as the average rate for all occupations is only 5%. 

Tips for Becoming a Personal Trainer

Keep these tips in mind as you pursue a career as a personal trainer.

Get Certified

You may land a role as a personal trainer without getting certified, but the employer will probably require you to obtain your professional certification right away. It’s also vital that you get certified in automated external defibrillators (AED) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Take this step before seeking your professional certification as a personal trainer.  

Take an Online Course

Interested in learning more about what it takes to excel in the field as a personal trainer? Or maybe you want to start your own business and are looking for more detailed guidance. An online course is an ideal way to acquire the knowledge you need. Affordable options are available for all skill levels and you can work through the material when it’s convenient for you. 

Earn a Degree

Stand out among the competition with an associate or bachelor’s degree in exercise science, kinesiology or a related discipline. When evaluating programs, look for options that are offered by accredited institutions. It’s also best if the college or university features small class sizes to give you the individualized attention you deserve. Programs that extend specialized support to distance learning students are also most ideal. 

Best Universities for Becoming a Personal Trainer 

Want to earn your bachelor’s degree before working in the field as a personal trainer? These online exercise science degree programs will give you a generous return on your investment. 

1. The University of North Carolina Wilmington


Consider an online Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. This program dives into the scientific principles of exercise, fitness, health and wellness and prepares you to work in an academic, commercial, clinical, corporate, government, industrial or private setting. 

Students complete core courses on legal issues in exercise science and sport, exercise science management, motor behavior, strength training and conditioning, exercise prescription and more. You can also specialize your degree by selecting the exercise physiology certification. The courses you’re required to take will closely align with your career goal of becoming a personal trainer. 

2. California University of Pennsylvania

The California University of Pennsylvania also offers an online Bachelor of Science in exercise science. It’s a 3-year degree program that’s nationally recognized. The curriculum focuses on fitness education, preventive healthcare and professional development. You will also learn more about financial, legal and sports marketing challenges. 

When you complete the program, you will be prepared to sit and pass the certified personal trainer certification exam on the first attempt. You will also have the expertise to pass the speed and explosion coach exam. 

These online courses on becoming a personal trainer will help you get up and running in record time. 

1. Becoming a Certified Personal Trainer: The “A-Z” Guide 

Source: Udemy

Just $11.99 gets you a seat in this highly-rated course that teaches you what it takes to thrive as a Certified Personal Trainer. “Becoming a Certified Personal Trainer: The “A-Z” Guide” is divided into 4 core modules: 

  • Personal Training 101
  • Getting Started: Requirements and Certification Options
  • Money Talks: Personal Trainer Income and Expenses Uncovered
  • Beyond the Client: The Curriculum

Register today to unlock 28 lectures condensed into 30 minutes of on-demand video, 1 article and 1 downloadable resource. You will also receive a certificate of completion when you finish the course. 

The class is led by ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutritionist Rebecca Forcier. 

Enroll now. 

2. Start a Fitness Personal Trainer Business – Plan and Documents 

Source: Udemy

Want to launch your own personal training business? This is the perfect course for you as it includes all the documents you’ll need to get up and running.

Start a Fitness Personal Trainer Business – Plan and Documents consists of 3 segments: 

  • Business Plan for Your Fitness/Personal Trainer Company
  • Financial Statements for Your Fitness/Personal Training Business
  • Other Start-Up Documents to Use for Your Fitness/Personal Training Business

It includes full lifetime access to 35 minutes of on-demand video, 2 articles and 42 downloadable resources. The course also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if the material doesn’t quite suit your needs.  

Enroll now

Prepare for a Career as a Personal Trainer 

Ready to get started? Check out our online courses to learn more about becoming a personal trainer and performing well in your role. We’ve also included a course for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to take their personal training skills outside of the workplace. 

An online degree in exercise science or a related discipline is also worth considering if you want to enhance your knowledge and impress prospective clients or employers. It’s also worthwhile to check out our recommendations before selecting a program that suits your needs.

Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU Online Offers:

  1. Flexible schedules
  2. Affordable tuition
  3. Online tutoring
  4. Access to electronic research materials
  5. Specialized academic advising
  6. Supportive online community

Learn more at SNHU.