In order for you to become a personal trainer in California, you will need the following:

  1. Be at least 18 years old
  2. Have a GED or the equivalent education
  3. Have a current adult CPR/AED Certification
  4. Become certified through a recognized personal training organization

What certification in California do you need?

We developed this critical quiz to help you find the best certification for you and your goals.

Personal Trainer Certification California

Here are the best personal trainer certifications in California ranked in order:

  1. International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA-CPT)
  2. National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT)
  3. National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF-CPT)
  4. American Council on Exercise (ACE-CPT)

I recommend you take the quiz to find out which certification makes the most sense for your specific California personal trainer career goals.

Personal Trainer Certification California Cost

The cost to qualify as a personal trainer in California depends on the certification chosen but usually varies from $449 to $999.

Do you need a license to be a personal trainer in California?

Having a personal training certification is not mandatory in California, however, it will improve your job prospects greatly. A majority of employers in California will prefer to hire certified personal trainers from NCCA accredited institutions.

Personal Trainer Schools California

There are quite a number of kinesiology schools in California that you can choose from. Some of the top exercise science schools that you can consider for personal trainer certification include:  

If you haven’t yet, be sure to take the quiz to find out the best personal trainer certification for your career.

How Much Do Personal Trainers Make in California

A personal trainer in California will make $73,421 on average, but their annual income can range between $52,965 and $90,196. this salary variate can range depending on various factors such as their overall level of education and professional certifications, any other relevant skills they may have as well as their level of experience. You can check out this report on salary.com.

Make sure to check out the general guide on how to become a personal trainer.

How To Become A Personal Trainer In California

How To Become A Personal Trainer In California (YouTube)

🐻 How To Become A Personal Trainer In California In 2023

How To Become A Personal Trainer In California (Podcast)

State Fitness Rating

The state fitness rating is the first bit of vital information to consider as a fitness trainer.

The smart folks over at exercise.com did a fantastic job of evaluating each state based on the level of fitness it represents.

This will allow you to begin understanding your market and your employment options.

The fitness rating is based on two main factors.

The first factor is obesity.

Obesity prevalence is the percentage of the overweight population to the point where it is deemed unhealthy.

The second factor is the top gyms ranking.

This statistic indicates how many of America’s top mainstream gym chains provide the general population access to affordable wellness/fitness services.

Gyms in this category include:

  • Snap Fitness
  • LA Fitness
  • Gold’s Gym
  • 24 Hour Fitness
  • Anytime Fitness
  • YMCA
  • Planet Fitness
  • Crunch Fitness
  • Orange Theory Fitness

As far as California is concerned, the state has a commendable obesity prevalence of 29%.

That’s a rate just below the national average.

This also means that the fitness goals of many people may be weight management or weight loss, which is a plus if you run your own personal training business.

This gives California an obesity ranking of  5.

This is impressive and promising, not just from an industry perspective but also from a public health perspective.

The top gym ranking, however, leaves a bit to be desired.

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The state only has 1775 top gyms in total as of writing.

That may seem like a lot, and it may well be for most states, but California has the largest population by state, capping off at around 39 million inhabitants.

With those numbers, the gyms per capita, which is how many gyms are available for every 100 thousand residents, sits at just 4.52.

With all that considered, California’s final state fitness ranking is 17, which is pretty high, but it could have easily been a top 10 ranking had it not been for the low gym stats.

what does it take to be a personal trainer

Being a personal trainer requires discipline and dedication first and foremost. On top of that, you will need to earn an NCCA-accredited personal training certification to have the best career options for personal training and ensure you have the knowledge and skills to get results for your clients.

How to Be a Fitness Trainer

To be a fitness trainer, you need to get an NCCA-accredited personal trainer certification and then focus your training outreach and employment applications on gyms that serve general fitness clientele. Additionally, tailor your marketing towards general fitness as opposed to strength and conditioning or endurance.

Do you need a certification to be a personal trainer?

In general, you do not need a certification to legally call yourself a personal trainer. However, it’s far more preferable to hold an NCCA-accredited personal trainer certification if you want to be a successful fitness professional.

Fitness Market Makeup

California is a massive state with the most significant population, so you can expect the fitness market or most other markets to be everywhere.

However, in the spirit of tradition, these articles only hone in on the top cities.

In California’s case, LA, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco are our focal points.

These metropolitan, cosmopolitan hubs have modern, progressive cultures that drive a booming fitness industry.

In fact, many of the latest health and fitness trends of our time have either originated or become popularised in these California cities.

The concentration of top gyms is also much higher in these cities than in any other state settlements.

That leaves you a huge opportunity to become a personal trainer in San Diego or any other top city.

Los Angeles is especially recognized for its physical fitness culture and is one of the global meccas of the bodybuilding and aesthetic physique community.

It also has some iconic private gyms, such as:

  • Burn Fitness
  • The Gym LA
  • Logic Fitness studios
  • Training Loft
  • LIT Method

When you become a personal trainer in San Francisco, this fitness segment has a great opportunity.

The fitness culture here is very much about looks and appeal.

Unlike other fit states like Colorado, where athletic prowess is the flavor, California leans more towards the aesthetics of either being “toned” or “jacked.”

Personal Trainer Certifications in California

Personal trainer certification in San Jose and other cities is all that is needed to get a job as a personal trainer in California.

I have written an article on my best personal trainer certifications.

Overall here are my top 2 best personal trainer certificates in California.

Personal trainer certification in Los Angeles or any other city is pretty much the same as anywhere else in the country.

The best personal trainers in Los Angeles would need at least personal trainer college courses or some other personal training programs to get a job at one of the top gyms.

Personal Trainer Jobs in California

When you become a personal trainer in Los Angeles or any other major city, there are various options.

There are so many ways fitness is acceptably implemented, even as an entry-level fitness instructor.

From large commercial gyms to all the numerous specialist and boutique gyms dotted across the state, there’s no shortage of personal trainer jobs in San Diego and other cities.

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Being a private, self-employed PT is also very lucrative, especially when you start to break into really high-income populations such as Santa Monica, Calabasas, and Hollywood, to name a few.

This is where becoming a celebrity personal fitness trainer is a real possibility.

You can become a personal trainer in San Jose and other cities outside of LA with equivalent success, despite these not being celebrity hotspots themselves.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to take the quiz to find out the best personal trainer certification for your career.

How Do Personal Trainers Get Paid?

Personal trainers get paid either by their employer, such as a gym or fitness studio, or directly by the clients in the case of self-employed trainers. If paid by an employer, you can be either a 1099 independent contractor or a W-2 employee.

Best Cities to Be a Personal Trainer in California

The best Cities to be a personal trainer in California are also some of the best cities to be a personal trainer in general.

As I’ve mentioned, California is super competitive, especially in large cities.

Life is fast, so you’ll need to be on your toes, continuously innovating and staying in the loop to get ahead.

The best action plan is to locate yourself in LA, San Francisco, San Diego, or San Jose.

Also, you can make yourself more marketable by enrolling in exercise programs or personal trainer degrees online.

These are the most populous cities in the state, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that fitness is a numbers game.

Let’s check out the best cities in terms of population.

City In CaliforniaPopulation
Los Angeles3, 979,576
San Diego1, 423,851
San Jose1,021,795
San Francisco881,549
Fresno531,576
Sacramento513,624
Long Beach462,628

As you can see, even the less populated cities tend to clock in just above or close to the 500k mark.

I think a population center of around 500,000 inhabitants or more is good for business as a PT.

Personal Trainer Salary in California

The average annual salary for any career path is vital to gain knowledge of even before you start getting your qualifications.

As far as being a PT in California, the average personal trainer salary is $69,033 annually.

This is significantly higher than the national average of around $61k annually.

As expected, Personal trainer jobs in San Jose are potentially as lucrative as in any other major city.

Of course, it will depend on the amount of work you put in, considering how competitive it likely is.

Make sure to check out the full guide on personal trainer salary.

Quality of Life Rating

Quality of life in California is quite a mixed bag. 

On the one hand, you have one of the country’s wealthiest states, a mecca for progressive American values and modern advancements, a global commercial and cultural hub, and some of the best natural surroundings in the US.

On the other hand, you have some really bad crime stats, a housing and property price nightmare in the larger cities, and urban decay in many of the large metropoles.

California also sits on the infamous San Andreas fault, making it an earthquake hotspot, which generally dampens the mood.

It really depends on which city in the state you live in and which part of the said city you call home.

Overall, California has a decent standard of living, so I’ll give it a QoL rating of 7.5/10.

Methodology  

In reviewing personal training in California, I invoked my many years of experience in the industry and conducted detailed research while considering the following criteria:

  • The population of the state and its major cities.  
  • The obesity figures as compared with other states.  
  • The number of top gyms in the state
  • Personal trainer certifications are obtainable.  
  • Availability of personal training schools & colleges.  
  • Career prospects for personal trainers.  
  • Earning potential for certified PTs.  
  • Quality of Life (QoL).  

FAQs on How to Become A Personal Trainer in California

Do you need a degree to be a personal trainer?

To become a personal trainer in California or any other state in the US, you don’t need a degree.

However, most personal training certification programs require that you have at least a high school diploma and are 18 years old before enrolling.

Which personal trainer certificate is most respected?

Most gyms accept the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM CPT), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), ISSA, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), NSCA, NCPT, and NCSF.  

All these fitness certificate programs are nationally recognized and accredited by either the NCCA or the DEAC. 

How to get a personal trainer certification online?

You can take a certified personal trainer course online, most of which have exercise physiology, human anatomy, biomechanics, and aerobics in their curriculum.

These fitness programs provide study materials and practice exams during the training experience to better prepare you for the actual exam.

How to become a workout trainer in California?

There are steps to becoming a personal trainer in California and other states.

Taking a personal trainer program or a group fitness certification program is one way to do this.

There are, however, prerequisites that must be met to take some of these certification exams.

What are the requirements to be a certified personal trainer?

To get certified as a personal trainer, you will be required to meet the following criteria:

– must be age 18 or older,
– have a high school diploma or equivalent degree,
– obtain a CPR/AED certification, and
– pass a certified personal trainer course.

How hard is it to become a personal trainer?

Becoming a personal trainer is a process that requires you to put in a decent amount of hard work and dedication to succeed.

One way to do this is to enroll for a fitness certification the national commission approves for certifying agencies.

Which online personal trainer certification is best?

I would say the best online personal training certification is ISSA.  

ISSA offers everything online, including the curriculum and taking the exam online.  

However due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many other certifying bodies have moved their final exams online.

Final Words on How to Become A Personal Trainer in California

Becoming a personal trainer in San Francisco or any other city is as lucrative as it is competitive.

As you can imagine, personal trainer jobs in Los Angeles have thousands vying for them, so credentials and experience are essential. 

Of course, having a personal trainer certification in California is definitely more profitable than being a personal trainer without certification.

Once you hit your stride, however, you’re looking at one of the best places in America to work as a fitness professional.

Personal trainer certification in San Diego, San Francisco, or LA is a synch with all available options.

References

https://www.California-demographics.com

https://www.exercise.com/learn/ten-fittest-states-in-the-us/

https://www.salary.com

https://www.americankinesiology.org/SubPages/Pages/Kinesiology%20Institution%20Database

https://www.teleport.org

Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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