How To Become a Fitness Trainer

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: October 13, 2021  •  8 min read  •  Health
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Are you super into fitness? Maybe you want to make it a career. You can learn how to become a fitness trainer in a few steps. As a fitness trainer, you can help others get in shape and stay healthy.

If you’re considering going down this career path, you’ll want to know the job duties of a fitness trainer. It’s also important to understand the steps to become a fitness trainer. Here are some of the things you should know if this is the career for you.

How To Become a Fitness Trainer

Job Duties of a Fitness Trainer

As a fitness trainer, you will help others reach their fitness goals. This is the main job duty of all fitness trainers. Whether you help individuals or you help groups, your main job is helping them reach their fitness goals.

Your job duties as a fitness trainer may vary. There are many unique positions inside this career. However, it’s common for fitness trainers to handle the following job duties:

You will likely provide one-on-one instruction and group instruction. It’s possible to specialize in a specific area, such as weight loss or bodybuilding. If you specialize, your job duties may vary a bit from the above.

How To Become a Fitness Trainer in 4 Steps

Step #1 – Get a Degree (Optional)

You don’t need a college degree to become a fitness trainer. However, it can help you stand out compared to other fitness trainers.

A degree in kinesiology, exercise science, or physical education is best for those following this career path. These types of degrees can give you a great foundation for a career as a fitness trainer.

Step #2 – Become Certified

Whether you choose to get a degree or you don’t, becoming certified offers a great way to become a fitness trainer. There are several different certifications you can get to become a fitness trainer.

Fitness trainers will need to become certified in first aid and CPR. This is the easiest and fastest certification to get. It can be completed in a few hours, as long as you can pass the test.

Along with this certification, you can also use one of the following programs to become a certified fitness trainer:

There are other certification programs you can complete, as well. Some are offered completely online, while others will require in-person coursework. Most employers will look for some type of certification, especially if you don’t have a degree.

Step #3 – Specialize

Many fitness trainers will specialize in one area or another. You can decide to work with clients one-on-one or in groups. You can also specialize in a specific type of fitness, such as Pilates or weight lifting.

Choosing a specialty will help you to build your resume. It can also be very helpful if you plan to work for yourself.

Step #4 – Gain More Certifications

Sometimes, fitness trainers need more certifications to help advance their careers. Many of the organizations offering certifications will offer advanced levels, as well. Consider which certifications will help you advance as a fitness trainer.

You can become certified in another area of exercise to add another class to your schedule. It’s also possible to gain certifications in related areas, such as nutrition or diet. This can help you lead your clients to their fitness goals in a more complete way.

Common Characteristics of a Top Fitness Trainer

If you want to become a top fitness trainer, you’ll want to develop the right characteristics. Some of the common characteristics of a top fitness trainer include:

These characteristics tend to be common with the best fitness trainers. If you want to reach the top of this career, make sure you work on developing these characteristics.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Fitness Trainer

How much can I make as a fitness trainer?

If you work as a fitness trainer for an employer, you will earn an average hourly pay of about $22.44. Top companies will pay more than double this rate for very experienced fitness trainers. It will also depend on the location you work in, as some pay more than others.

New York tends to pay more than any other state, while Texas and California also pay above-average hourly rates. Some other larger cities, such as Seattle and Chicago also pay more than the average rate for fitness trainers.

Many fitness trainers are self-employed. You can work for yourself and make a much higher rate than the average pay. It depends on the type of fitness trainer you become and what you teach.

The salary of a fitness trainer will vary based on your experience, too. An entry-level job as a fitness trainer will earn between $20K and $70K per year. When you gain a few years of experience, you can earn a bit more with a range closer to $25K to $102K.

Very experienced fitness trainers have a salary ranging from $30K to $130K. The best of the best fitness trainers can earn as much as $165K per year.

What type of benefits do fitness trainers get?

Working as a fitness trainer for someone else can provide you with plenty of benefits. Most fitness trainers will get a free gym membership, a flexible schedule, health insurance, paid time off, and a few other benefits. It’s common to get employee discounts on merchandise and some fitness trainers can even work from home.

How much does it cost to gain certifications?

Fitness trainer certifications can vary in price quite a bit. Often, they will cost between $400 and $1,000. Most certifications include materials, such as practice tests, flashcards, textbooks, an online portal, or other necessary materials.

What is the demand like for fitness trainers?

There are many job opportunities in the fitness industry. Fitness trainers are in high demand and the demand is expected to grow. With many new people looking to get healthy, the expected growth over the next ten years is about 10%. This is higher than the average of all occupations.

What type of work environment is common for a fitness trainer?

It’s common for fitness trainers to work in fitness centers and gyms. However, if you work for yourself, you may hold classes in a public park or another public area. Some fitness trainers will provide private instruction in the homes of their clients, too.

If you work as a fitness trainer online, you might provide instruction from your home or your home gym. It’s common for fitness trainers to spend the entire day on their feet. You will also do many exercises throughout each day, as you teach your clients.

What type of hours do fitness trainers tend to work?

You may have a very flexible schedule or a set schedule, depending on your employer. Often, a fitness trainer’s schedule will be based on their clients. You may work many hours in the evening and on weekends. It’s also common for fitness trainers to work early in the morning with clients.

What type of clients do fitness trainers work with?

It’s common, as a fitness trainer, to work with people trying to lose weight or reach a new fitness goal. This may include working with:

You will likely work with many different types of people with different abilities.

Who hires fitness trainers?

Of course, gyms and fitness centers hire fitness trainers. However, these are not the only types of employers you can work for. Cruise ships also hire fitness trainers. You can work on a cruise ship with people on vacation and enjoy all kinds of unique perks.

It’s also common for fitness trainers to work for wellness centers and hospitals. Private fitness trainers can provide in-home training. Some local community centers will also hire fitness trainers.

Another very popular place for fitness trainers to work is for a spa or resort. This can lead to a higher salary if you work for a luxury spa or resort.

Those looking to become fitness trainers can use the steps above. You now know how to become a fitness trainer. It’s up to you to do the work and build your new career in fitness.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.