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Become a Personal Trainer - Basic steps for becoming a trainer

What you need to become a personal trainer


Updated June 04, 2014

How to become a personal trainer
Tim Robberts Collection/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Do you enjoy ordering people around? Do you have a passion for exercise, health and fitness? If so, maybe you've thought about becoming a personal trainer, but didn't know where to start. Becoming a personal trainer is fairly easy, but being successful at it is an entirely different matter. Do you have what it takes?

Characteristics of a Personal Trainer

While anyone can be a personal trainer, it helps if you have some of the following characteristics:

  • Outgoing personality
  • Endless enthusiasm
  • Patience
  • Charisma
  • Knowledge
  • Teaching and listening skills

It also helps if you're flexible, like being around different types of people and are willing to work hard to market yourself.

Getting Certified

Before you start torturing people with dumbbells, you'll need to get certified through a professional organization. This certification identifies you as a legitimate trainer and indicates you've been through some type of workshop, seminar or home study course. Many organizations certify personal trainers, so you need to consider a number of characteristics when choosing your certification organization.

The most important factor is whether the organization has been accredited. The accreditation process requires that certifying organizations have their certification procedures and protocols accredited by an independent third party, such as the NCCA. Aside from that, other questions to consider include:

  1. Is it a national/international certification? Is it universally recognized?
  2. What are the prerequisites for the exam? Most require, at minimum, a high school diploma, a CPR certification and that you're at least 18 years of age.
  3. Does the exam require attendance at a workshop or seminar? Is it offered in your city or nearby? If seminars aren't an option for you, do they offer a home study program?
  4. How much does it cost?
  5. What are the continuing education requirements to renew the certificate? Completing a certain number of continuing education hours is a requirement of most certifications and will be an extra expense to consider.
  6. Is there a specific club you want to work for? If so, find out what certifications they require or recognize before taking the test.

How do you find this information? Most organizations have websites that detail the different certifications they offer, along with exam locations and dates, prices, home study options and other crucial information. The next page lists some of the most prominent organizations and the job options available for personal trainers.

Next page Organizations and Job Options

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