Gaining Employment In the Fitness Industry and Obtaining Personal Trainer Certification By Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench.com
Fitness is a booming, multi-billion dollar industry that is only going to keep growing and growing—especially considering that fact that nearly one-half of Americans are considered overweight. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of jobs in the fitness industry is expected to grow by more than 13% over the next five years. And it's no surprise that there is a lot of money to be made helping people to get and stay fit. The money itself draws a lot of people into the industry but that's not the only reason people seek employment in the fitness business. A lot of people do it because they love fitness themselves and enjoy helping others get fit too.
Today's fitness environment offers a wide variety of job options for those seeking an enjoyable, rewarding job helping people get healthy and fit. And depending on your particular likes, dislikes, goals and aspirations, you can make just enough to get by all the way up to enough to live the high life, if that's what you really want. For some of the lower paying jobs in the fitness industry, just a basic high school diploma will get you in the door. Some of the higher level positions though, require some sort of training or certification. There are even some fitness-related careers that require a four-year college degree or higher.
Let's start by going over some of the fitness-related employment options from which to choose. Starting with the most basic jobs, you can start your career in the fitness industry by working at the front desk of a gym, health club or training facility. This type of position generally does not require an education beyond a high school diploma. You would of course need to have some interpersonal skills and most likely, you should have some computer skills as well. This position is for the most part, not going to be a high-paying job and is going to be a 'job' not a career.
If you start at the front desk and stick with a while—or you otherwise have management experience—you could consider becoming a facility manager. This position pays more than the front desk but it also includes a lot more responsibility. At most clubs or gyms you probably don't need to have a formal education beyond high school for this position but that all depends. Some gyms and health clubs may require either some college and/or formal knowledge of fitness. And this can be a lucrative job track—many people have built successful careers and gym or health club managers.
When most people look at finding a job in the fitness industry though, becoming a personal trainer is one of the most popular career choices. A personal trainer provides one-on-one or group fitness instruction to people who either want a training program tailored to meet their needs or those who just need some to motivate them to stick with the program.
Personal trainers usually work at one gym, multiple gyms or provide services in the home. Trainers provide a lot of different services for their clients. First, they evaluate their clients' fitness levels and determine if they have any injuries or health-related issues that might impact their ability to participate in a training routine. Next, the trainer talks with the client to determine his or her specific health- and fitness-related goals. Personal trainers also need to assess their clients' likes and dislikes, motivation level, diet and eating habits, physical abilities and limitations and anything else that will impact the development of a custom-tailored training program.
Once the trainer has all of this information, he or she can set about developing a customized training program that will help clients to achieve their particular health and fitness goals. Once they've developed the program they work with the client to determine a mutually-agreeable training schedule and off they go. When working with clients, personal trainers demonstrate the proper movements and make certain that clients are performing the exercises properly in order to prevent injury.
In working with their clients trainers must motivate and push them towards their physical limits. And if the person suffers an injury, the trainer may be called upon to create a special rehabilitation program. Some personal trainers also create nutrition plans for their clients too.
Given the complexity of these various job-related responsibilities, it's no surprise that being a personal trainer requires a fair degree of knowledge. It takes more than just being in shape yourself—you need to understand the mechanics of the body and how it operates. That's why most states require personal trainers to be certified.
When it comes to getting certified, there are a number of different options from which to choose. A few of the programs offer online training while others require in-class sessions. Depending on where you live, your local community college, technical college or vocational training school may offer personal training certification classes.
Here are a few other options for obtaining certification as a personal trainer:
1) National Federation of Professional Trainers; 2) National Council on Strength and Fitness; 3) International Sports Sciences Association; and 4) the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.
This is not an exhaustive list—just some of the options that are available. You can check out any of these online. Before signing up for classes though, be sure to check your state's requirements.
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