how to become a certified personal trainer how to become a certified personal trainer

Become A Certified Personal Trainer: 4 Key Steps to Start Your Own Business

Over the evolution of fitness culture, a personal trainer has become a good career path to choose from.

A personal trainer is a person who is an expert in fitness professionals and trains people to achieve their fitness goals. It’s a responsible job, as a personal trainer has to take care of everything about his client’s health and fitness.

Now, if you are one of those who want to know become a certified personal trainer then you are at the right place to get your answers. I will tell you everything about how you can become a personal trainer and can perform excellently in this field.

1. Prerequisites to Personal Training

Before moving to become a certified personal trainer it’s important to know what the requirement of it.

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In this section, we’re going to be covering the educational requirements and the prerequisites that you would need to get started as a personal trainer.

  1. 18 Years or Above
  2. High School Diploma
  3. Bachelor’s Degree programs (for Advanced Trainers)
  4. CPR AED Certification

Pretty much every certifying agency requires you to be at least 18 years old and you need to have a CPR AED certification. You also need a high school diploma.

Every certifying agency requires you to have your CPR AED certification before you even take the exam or sometimes even before you can purchase the certification program. Most of these CPR AED certifications will last around four hours, during this time you’ll learn how to do things such as chest compressions or even how to operate an automatic external defibrillator.

Some of you may have also heard that you need to hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in order to become a personal trainer. This may be true however only for the most advanced certifications as a personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach. This is only applicable to those who want to apply for advanced certification.

Now you may also be wondering about personal training licenses in regards to this pretty much all you need is a personal training certification, as long as it’s NCCA accredited or accredited by the DEAC.

Now once you’ve selected a certification you need to pass all the requirements go through all the studying and take the final exam.

2. Become a Certified Personal Trainer

After knowing about the prerequisites, it’s time to move to the process through which you can become a certified personal trainer. In order to become a personal trainer you need to follow some steps. The steps have been listed below:-

2.1 Get Certified

One of the most important steps to becoming a personal trainer is getting your certification through a reputable certifying agency.

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When it comes down to this you need to select a personal training certification that both fits your schedule and gives you the proper knowledge. Right now there are dozens of different personal training certifications on the market each of them emphasizing a specific training style. Additionally, you may run into some possible online scams where you can get your certification over a weekend course. Most employers won’t be able to accept these as they aren’t accredited by the NCAA or the DEAC, so be wary of those.

The tops three certifications that we normally recommend for upcoming personal trainers are the ones from NASM, ISSA, and ACE certifications. Again when it comes to picking and choosing a specific certification that is best suited for you.

2.1.1 Dilema in Choosing the Right Certificate

You also want to keep in mind what sort of clients they want to train. Different clients have different requirements for their training and thus this is a very important aspect of choosing a certification. So, make sure you’re checking which sort of client you’re trying to train as well as the certification that would match and you are also getting the additional study materials that you need to better prepare yourself.

2.1.2 Factors To Consider in Choosing the Right Certification

Now, choosing the right certification can be kind of difficult, one of the most significant factors in choosing a certification is the overall cost. The average price for a personal training certification currently is roughly around $500. This price range can be more or less depending on if you have a discount.

Another additional factor to consider is the length of time it takes to become a personal trainer. It’s usually about a three to six months course. This is the general amount of time for most individuals and you can probably cut this down to one or two months if you really try to cram all the information however this is not advised. If you do happen to have a background in something like exercise science or kinesiology this can definitely cut down the study time however we would recommend taking as long as you need.

2.2 Study For Your Certification

After you’ve selected a certification all you have to do is start studying and pass your certification exam.

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Most certifying agencies have different study packages that you can choose from when you’re preparing for your final exam. Some of these packages may include multiple books to choose from or some of them will only have a single textbook. Some of these study packages may also include some additional study materials such as lecture videos or some additional study questions and practice exams.

Almost every certifying agency has an in-person workshop where you get a rich experience in this field. Some additional study materials can also take the form of flashcards, so there are going to be multiple packages that you can choose from in order to prepare yourself for your exam better. Before you pick and choose a personal training package it’s best to understand which study method is best suited for you. Overall it’s better to understand which learning style is best suited for you that way you can choose which personal training package to purchase.

2.2.1 Kinesiology Textbook

Now if you’re still deciding on a personal training certification that is best suited for you, you can also pick up a general kinesiology textbook this is mainly due to the fact that some of the information that’s found in the curriculum for the personal training packages and that specific textbook might also be the same. However, the biggest problem with this is that some of this information and the textbooks are hard to access or very expensive.

You can find some of this information for these kinesiology textbooks over at places such as or and you can also find some additional study materials for these certifications on the main pt pioneer website.

2.2.2 Another Good Option to Study Prep

Another option to learn how to become a personal trainer is by shadowing a personal trainer. If you have a friend or a family member that is a personal trainer it’s worth it to ask them if you can shadow one of their training sessions. If they say yes be prepared to take some notes and be careful not to disturb their training session.

2.3 Take Your Final Exam

After the successful completion of the certification, it comes to taking the personal trainer certification exam. Most of the certifying agencies have a very similar structure when it comes to their final exam.

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For example, most certifying agencies have a multiple choice questions section in their exam with some of the questions being scored and some non-scored. Some of them also have essay sections or case study questions that are in the final exam. Some of these final exams have essay questions or case study questions.

2.3.1 Point to Remember While Setting Test Date

If you’re in the process of setting an exam date but you’re not entirely comfortable it’s better to set the test date a couple of months ahead. You can then have some time to study and can perform then better in the exams.

2.4 Get Hired as a Personal Trainer

Once you’ve passed the exam and you’ve gotten your certification it’s time to start job hunting as a personal trainer most of the time you can get started with this right away as you can get your certification within a few weeks after passing the test.

how to become a certified personal trainer
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2.4.1 Work at a Gym or at a Local Studio

You can either start working at a corporate gym such as 24-hour fitness or maybe even at a local studio. Another option is to start working for yourself by bringing clients into your own personal training space or doing some things completely online. Working for a corporate gym or a health club is probably the most common first step as a personal trainer. These are excellent options for a first-time personal trainer as you’ll get a consistent flow of new clients coming in.

You’ll get a lot of experience working extremely fast with a lot of clients however you will only make around one-third of what your client pays mainly just for your time and expertise. The average hourly rate is going to be around $20 an hour when we compare that to what the client pays which is going to be roughly between $50 to $60 dollars per session.

Working for a local gym or studio can be more profitable as you won’t be splitting the amount of money that your client is paying. The biggest drawback to this is that you won’t have a steady flow of new clients coming in, however, if you’re confident in your sales skills as a personal trainer most of the time this won’t be a problem.

Once you’ve built up a decent network and you have a solid reputation for delivering results most of the time clients will start coming to you naturally.

2.4.2 Personal Traning Business

The last option is to start your own personal training business. This is going to be the most profitable but this is also one of the most difficult processes.

Starting a personal training business is going to be probably the most profitable but this is also the most difficult. The first reason is that you don’t have a full gym, full of members looking for a personal trainer again. You’ll have to start building your network in order to find individuals that are looking for your service. Additionally, you also have to be a proficient salesperson as you will be a part of every single new agreement that comes in for a personal trainer.

When it comes to this scenario, there are four main necessities to getting started with your personal training business.

  1. Personal Training Space
  2. Gym Equipments
  3. Traning Space should be clean, safe, and spacious
  4. Training Outdoors

The first is finding a personal training space to conduct your sessions this is mostly dependent on the essential training equipment that you would need in order to train your clients. Some options for this would be training at your own home, training at your client’s home, or renting out a space.

If you do require some additional equipment that is very large such as squat racks you might need a studio or a personal training space. With this, you need to factor in how much the equipment will cost as well as the rental for the space every single month. You also need to ensure that your training location is clean, spacious, and safe.

The last option that you can also do is training outdoors the equipment that you would need will depend entirely on the client side you will train. For example, if your clients are athletes that are focused on peak performance training you do need some resistance equipment for resistance training. Things such as squat racks, benches, and Olympic weightlifting platforms are going to take up a lot of space. Again you won’t be able to do all of this stuff outdoors so it might be worth it to rent out studio space.

However, if your client base is mainly individuals that are focused on mobility and flexibility training you can get away with a lot less. You would only need something such as some light dumbbells and not only is this equipment very light and portable it’s also not as expensive. You can easily fit this equipment in your car or even a space in your home office.

So, in summary, the equipment that you will have to purchase and use will also depend on the types of clients that you will end up training.

2.4.3 Liability Insurence

requiring liability insurance is also another key aspect of becoming a personal trainer. Since you aren’t working at a corporate gym that would supply this liability insurance it’s up to you to acquire it on your own. There are dozens of companies that provide liability insurance for personal trainers and large certifying agencies such as ACE or NESM also offer this for personal trainers at an additional cost.

Besides going through a certifying agency there are dozens of options out there depending on how much you need to be covered. On the lower end of the price range, it will cover damages up to a million dollars per year and on average this will cost around $150. For anyone that’s starting a personal training business, this is going to be more than enough and this will cover any medical and legal expenses put against you.

Besides liability insurance, it’s also worth it to ensure your gym and fitness equipment. As we mentioned previously having sales and marketing skills is also an important factor for a personal trainer. If you don’t have the necessary networking and sales skills as a personal trainer unfortunately you won’t make it far in the business. One good way to practice your networking skills is to ask your clients if they know anyone that is looking for personal training.

2.4.4 Corporate Wellness Program

You can also brush up on these skills by reading about them in various books. Now one way to make a significant income as a personal trainer is to set up a corporate wellness program. Most employers that want to incorporate some form of health and wellness program might look towards your services. One way to do this is to approach corporate organizations with a sales pitch indicating how this would be beneficial for them and their employees. This is also where your communication and sales skills will come in handy.

The Takeaway!

This was all about the topic. Follow the steps and you can become a good trainer, train clients and have a successful career in the fitness industry. It is really a good career path if you love fitness, and want to continue your career in this field only. This can give you a good career boost and you can actually earn a good amount of money in this field. However, there will be many ups and down in this process but these are the parts and parcel.

Last Updated on by Suchi


  • Priyanshu Jangid

    This is Priyanshu Jangid. He loves traveling, reading books, and writing. Writing is indeed one of his favorite hobbies. Along with that he is also fond of traveling. These two hobbies have greatly facilitated him to write about travel articles, did you know and what's new articles.

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