Personal trainers devise routines and motivate performance in order to ensure that their clients get the most out of a workout. As fitness experts, they must remain knowledgeable about the latest exercise equipment and activities, but their number one priority remains client safety. The best trainers also provide expert advice and support on nutrition, lifestyle, and weight loss. In order to master these diverse skills, many obtain their expertise through online personal trainer programs.
Typically, a motivated person can earn a personal training certification online in one year. Most programs will cover the basics of fitness and equipment, as well as safety. People who obtain a certificate can likely expect to find work right away. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), personal trainers will remain in high demand through 2020.
Types of Personal Training Certificates
Those who complete online certificate programs for personal trainers have their choice of work environments. Those who prefer to work one-on-one as personal trainers are frequently entrepreneurs, and they devise specific fitness plans for many individual clients in a health club or gym. Others use their fitness expertise to work as group trainers and instructors; often, these professionals are employed by a fitness center and not only devise and lead group classes, but perform other duties for the facility, as well. Most personal training certificate programs share basic admission requirements, such as a high school diploma or GED and a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.
The typical vocational certificate in personal training will take two semesters to complete. Students will learn the basics of fitness instruction and fitness regimen design. The best programs will include classes in health and safety and also usually come with a CPR certification. Since many trainers are self-employed, many schools offer classes in entrepreneurship, as well. Most schools provide at least one course of hands-on experience, so students get real world experience in a supervised setting.
What’s Next for Personal Training Certificate Holders?
Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce recently released a report on the benefits of obtaining a vocational certificate; the report noted that, on average, certificate holders earn $35,000 annually. In a separate report released by the Center, it was found that certificate holders earn 18% more than their neighbors who stopped their education with a high school diploma. According to the BLS, the top 10% of fitness trainers earned more than $63,400 in 2010.
Nonetheless, some choose to continue their education and pursue an associate degree. They know that with more education comes higher pay. According to the Georgetown University report, people with associate degrees will earn $180,000 more over their lifetimes when compared with their neighbors with vocational certificates. They are also nearly 20% more likely to be employed, as noted by BLS unemployment data.
In fact, there is a clear preference by employers for higher educated workers. Those who continue with college and obtain a bachelor’s degree will have even higher earnings and better job opportunities. In 2012, while the unemployment rate for those with vocational certificates was 7.7%, for those with a bachelor’s degree, it was only 4.5%; in that same year, bachelor’s degree holders earned median weekly earnings over 45% greater than vocational certificate holders, as well. Furthermore, those with bachelor’s degrees will earn nearly $2.3 million dollars over their lifetimes; that’s more than $700,000 more than the average lifetime earnings of their certificate-holding peers.