What Education Do I Need to Become a Personal Trainer?
Most personal trainers hold at least a high school diploma, though employers may prefer trainers with associate's or bachelor's degrees. A period of hands-on instruction with an experienced trainer is usually required as well. For more information about education and certification for personal trainers, keep reading. Schools offering Athletic Coaching degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
The educational requirements for personal trainers are fairly relaxed; you might be able to enter the field after completing a few classes or receiving training from an experienced personal trainer. If you'd like to train athletes or offer health advice, you may need to hold an associate's or bachelor's degree. Degrees in fitness-related fields, such as exercise science or kinesiology, provide you with additional training and education that can help advance your personal training career.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) notes that earning certification is a more and more important career step for personal trainers, and some employers even require it. To ensure that you earn certification from a respectable organization, you may wish to determine whether the organization is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The NCCA only accredits organizations and programs that meet a high quality standard.
You'll be eligible to take a certification exam once you are over 18 years old and a high school graduate; some organizations also require you to be cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) certified. Once you've successfully completed a certification exam, you will be granted your professional credential. This designation is good for a set amount of time, usually two years. Most organizations allow you to maintain your certification by taking additional coursework, attending conferences, writing articles, or retaking the certification exam.
Certification Study Programs
Many certifying bodies offer courses you can take to prepare for certification exams, some of which can be used as college credit. Common course topics include interviewing and goal-setting techniques, exercise science, and risk factor screening. Although you aren't required to take these certification courses before you may become certified, the BLS reports that many personal trainers get their start in the field through these educational programs.
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