6 Simple Steps to Take to Become a Certified Personal Trainer

The fitness industry in the USA alone is estimated to be worth over $87 billion. With over 39% of the USA population holding gym membership, the industry value is expected to rise by at least 33% within the next five years.

So, what does that mean?

The demand for fitness consultants, health and wellness coaches, and personal trainers will increase as well. So getting into this career path is not just rewarding when you change people’s lives and help them achieve their health and fitness goals. You’ll also have a marketable and reliable profession.

The question is, what does it take to become a certified personal trainer (CPT), and how can you do it?

Here are 6 simple steps to acquire the best certification for personal training and make yourself an attractive candidate for personal training positions.

Tips on How to Attain the Certified Personal Trainer Status

1. Find a Certification Program

A PT program is just like when you’re going to college; there are numerous institutions to choose from and a variety of programs available. You just have to find the right one for your budget and one that meets your needs and is well-recognized and accredited. 

Here are some of the most popular Personal Trainer certification programs:

  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  • National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)
  • Academy of Applied Personal Training Education
  • National Exercise Trainers Association
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association
  • International Fitness Professionals Association
  • National Council for Certified Personal Trainers
  • ACTION Certification
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • National Council on Strength and Fitness
  • World Instructor Training Schools
  • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • PTA Global

Consult industry experts, and check online reviews and also job postings to see which program is most marketable.

2. Meet the Program Requirements

After you’ve found a suitable certification program, the next step is to check whether you meet its recommended prerequisites. Some of the requirements that cut across most programs include;

  • Minimum 18 yrs
  • A CPR/AED certification
  • Minimum high school diploma or GED

Of course, each program differs; some may even require some industry experience, like working as a gym assistant. 

3. Apply for the Program and Pass the Exams

If you tick all the boxes, the next step is to enroll and like any other course, there’ll be exams at the end of it. It’ll take you anywhere between 3- 6 months to complete a PT course but obviously depends on the program you’ve enrolled in. Some, like the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program, could even take up to 12 months.

The method of assessment will also vary per program. Most programs require a written exam, a practical assessment, or a simulated workout situation. They’ll most likely test your knowledge of anatomy and physiology, nutrition, exercise technique, and program design. 

The NASM program, for instance, tests on:

  • Client Fitness Assessment
  • Program Planning
  • Exercise Techniques
  • Legal, Safety, and Emergency Procedures

4. Niche Down 

A certified personal training program is broad and can decide to specialize in one niche. You have a variety of options ranging from strength training to weight loss and sports performance. Defining your specialty can help you attract clients and set yourself apart from other trainers. Plus, it pays more.

Consider your interests and experience in the fitness industry, research the current demand for expertise in your area, and see where you can fill a need.

5. Hone Your Personal Trainer Skills 

Becoming an excellent personal trainer isn’t just about certification. You’ll also require some personal skills.

As a CPT, good communication skills come in handy. You should at least be able to listen to your client’s needs, explain complicated concepts, motivate them, and provide feedback.  It’d also be great if you are familiar with most, if not all of the equipment and techniques used in personal training and at the very least understand the basic principles of nutrition and dietetics..

A good place to start would be a gym or health club that will give you an opportunity to work alongside gym instructors. You can also volunteer with local organizations that offer free fitness instruction. 

6. Update Your Resume and Apply for Jobs

When you’ve gone through a program, and have been certified as a Personal Trainer, you are eligible to apply for jobs in that field. Extra experience and certificates will come in handy during your application process. Take advanced courses in your area of specialization, attend fitness seminars and workshops and always do your research to keep up with industry trends.

Take advantage of technology to put yourself out there. You can build a website to act as your portfolio or even start a YouTube channel to share knowledge and in the process land high-end clients.