Being a personal trainer is an excellent career choice for anyone with a passion for fitness, and for making a real difference in the lives of others. It is also a quickly expanding field, as more and more people desire the benefits of improved health. For those who want to seek employment in this field, obtaining certification is the first critical step.
Most certification programs, once completed, declare the trainer a Certified Personal Trainer, or CPT. Exact titles may vary, as there is a wide range of programs available. Currently there is very little government oversight of personal trainer certifications, but that may not be the case for long. A few states have begun to draft legislation calling for more standardized requirements, and other states will presumably follow their lead.
One of the first considerations when determining which program to pursue is whether or not the program is accredited by a national, unaffiliated organization. Most often this will be the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), but there are others as well, such as the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Once national accreditation has been established, the potential trainer can weigh a multitude of options to choose the most convenient program.
If there is a specific gym or other facility where
one wants to work, the simplest thing to do is just inquire from them which certifications they approve. At a minimum, most programs will require the trainer to be a legal adult of 18 years or older, with current CPR and First Aid training, and a high school diploma or equivalent. Course time is generally between three and six months.
Some programs require attendance at their own training center, which may limit choices to those close enough to travel to, while others offer online training. Costs also vary widely, so it can be helpful to research and compare different offerings. Other important factors include how frequently the course examination is given; whether it can be taken again if failed, and if so, how long the trainer must wait before retaking; how long the exam is, and how much time is allowed (generally between 100-200 questions, to be completed in two or three hours); how frequently recertification is required (usually every 2-3 years); and how much recertification costs.
This is a great time to enter the field of personal training, with many options available for certification. All it takes is a little research to find the best program for each individual, and the motivation to get it done.
Personal Training Resource Center