5 Easy Steps to Become a Personal Trainer [Updated 2022]

This is the ultimate guide for how to become a personal trainer in 2022. You will learn:

The prerequisites for training
How to get certified
Special study tips
+Much more

By the end, you will have to tools and knowledge needed to easily become a certified personal trainer.

Make sure to take the quiz to get a good idea of which certification is right for you.

I’m gonna break it down in 6 easy steps.

Let’s dive right In.

How to become a personal trainer

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    1. Prerequisites for personal training

    1. Prerequisites for personal training

    Here you will learn everything that you need to have in order before you can become a PT.

    Overall, all of these are fairly easy to get.

    Let’s see what you will need.

    Before we get started, I have three important things to tell you:

    1. I have free study guides and practice tests for all of the top PT certifications.
    2. Trainer Academy has fantastic PT cert study materials and they offer an exam pass guarantee.
    3. My Running Start course is 100% free and will guide you A to Z to starting your PT career.

    In this section, I will be talking about the personal trainer educational requirements or required qualifications you need to have as well as the easy steps to becoming a personal trainer.

    The most significant qualification that you’ll need is getting certified as a personal trainer through one of the various respected certifying agencies.

    There are dozens of certifying agencies that are accepted by potential employers that I will be talking about.

    High school diploma or the equivalent

    Almost every certifying agency requires its potential trainers to be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED, have a valid ID and be CPR/AED certified by a reputable certifying agency.

    That being said, if you meet the age and educational requirements that I mentioned above just jump right into the next steps!

    Getting CPR/AED certified by a reputable agency

    Getting CPR/AED certified by a reputable agency

    Pretty much every single reputable certifying agency will require you to be Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certified before taking their exam or even signing up for the certification program.

    At the time of writing the certification exams, you must be having the current CPR certification and AED certification.

    Most major CPR/AED certification that I have seen is valid for two years before it expires and you are required to get recertified.

    I have been recertified multiple times since I got into the health and fitness industry.

    Most CPR/AED classes will last around four hours.

    During this time you will learn about chest compressions, how to give a proper rescue breath and how to operate an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

    Two of the most popular, as well as reputable, places to get certified are through the American Heart Association or American Red Cross.

    There are tons of different CPR providers out there, but in my opinion, these are the two most reputable organizations.

    These two organizations also seem to offer more classes than any other organization.

    If you want to find an American Red Cross class that is close to you, here is a link to their website.

    If that link does not work for you or does not offer a class nearby, you can hop on Google and search “CPR classes near (your location).”

    This is a necessary step you need to take because no reputable certifying agency will allow you to get certified through them without first being CPR/AED certified.

    And in this training career knowing how to save people’s lives is even more important!

    If you have a passion for fitness and desire to get the right personal training education, then also make sure to get CPR and AED certified.

    In no time, your personal trainer career will be on the move.

    Do you need a degree to be a personal trainer?

    You must have met and heard of a personal trainer that holds a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in some science courses and this will prompt you to ask, do I need a degree to be a personal trainer?

    No, you don’t need a degree at this level.

    You only need it at the advanced level where you are aspiring for specialization certifications.

    At that stage, you will need to have a master’s degree or bachelor’s degree in kinesiology or exercise science before you can be qualified to write some exams.

    In summary, what education is needed to be a personal trainer? A degree (or higher) would be nice, but it is not compulsory!

    How to get a personal trainer license?

    There are no known organizations giving out licenses to personal trainers.

    All that is needed is the basic personal trainer qualifications that I have mentioned above.

    Look for an organization that is NCCA accredited, follow the certifications requirement, choose a personal training program and a study package.

    Pass the exam and you are on your way to becoming a fitness professional.

    Note: The personal training programs may be similar but they lead to different personal trainer careers and that also influences which trainers association you will end up with – if you so choose to join one.

    2. How to get certified as a personal trainer

    2. How to get certified as a personal trainer

    In this section, you will learn about how to get certified as a personal trainer.

    Check out my full comparison article of the top five before you make your final decision.

    One of the most important steps towards becoming a personal trainer is getting certified through a reputable certifying agency.

    You need to choose a personal training credential that will best soothe your daily busy schedule as well as give you the best knowledge.

    There are dozens of certifications on the market today, and all of them have a slightly different emphasis on the style of training they teach.

    Today is your lucky day because a large part of my website PTpioneer.com is dedicated to reviewing and talking about the differences between each certification.

    Because a lot of the website has much more in-depth information on this topic, I will only do a quick summary of some of the proper certifications.

    If you want to learn more, head over to the VS section (like NASM vs ACE, NASM vs ACSM and ISSA vs NASM), the individual certification reviews or the main article on my top 5 certifications.

    There are some quick things I would like to warn you about though.

    Multiple online scams try to “get you certified” by taking a weekend online course while you fork over money to them.

    Potential employers will not accept these fake certifications! Certifying agencies are not legitimate unless either the DETC or NCCA accredits them.

    Read more about how to become an online personal trainer and how to identify one too.

    Below is the list of fitness organizations that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies(NCCA) and Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).

    National Commission for Certifying Agencies(NCCA) / Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
    • American Council on Exercise
    • National Academy of Sports Medicine
    • National strength and conditioning Association
    • American College of Sports Medicine
    • International Sports Sciences Association

    My top three certifications that stand out for me are NASM, ISSA and ACE.

    All three of these certifications are highly recognized by a wide variety of employers.

    The most important thing is that you understand what type of clients you would like to train.

    There are so many people out there with different issues with their bodies, as such, training clients like that involves different approaches.

    This is the most critical factor in determining what type of certification you should get.

    Once you get to the crossroads of trying to decide which certification to go for, you should read the other articles and sections of my website that I linked to above.

    If you want to learn how to become a great fitness instructor, getting the right certification for you is very important!

    Make sure to check out my free personal training certification study materials on my website:

    Also, definitely check out Trainer Academy as they have the best study materials for personal training certifications and will reduce your study time by 50% as well as offer exam pass guarantees.

    Don’t forget to also check out my top fitness trainer certifications article afterward.

    All these will help you to know how to be a certified personal trainer.

    What can you expect to spend to become a trainer

    Choosing the right personal training certification can be difficult.

    One of the most significant factors is how much personal training certification costs.

    The average price of the certification is approximately $500.

    This price can fluctuate between $100 and $200 depending on which certification you get and whether or not you get it at a discounted price.

    Check out my full article on the costs for various personal training certifications.

    How long it will take you to become a trainer

    Another factor is how long it takes to become a personal trainer.

    For the majority of the certifications that I talked about in my top certification article, the average length of time is 3 to 6 months.

    You can naturally achieve this faster if you charge through the textbook and cram every single day.

    This is something I don’t recommend you do because you want this information to stay with you for a long time.

    Leave the overnight cramming for your history final.

    The 3 to 6-month period should be enough to learn and retain the information.

    If you have a background in exercise science or kinesiology, this might not take you three months.

    Check out my article on how long does it take to become a personal trainer for a more in-depth look into how long should take you.

    3. Study for and pass your personal training exam

    3. Study for and pass your personal training exam

    Here, I’ll talk about how to prepare for your personal trainer certification of choice.

    Let’s put on our study caps.

    The study materials provided by your specific certification

    Once you have sat down and thought long and hard about which certification would be best, you need to get into the studying mindset.

    When you study and pass your exams, you are on your way to starting your career in personal training.

    Most certifying agencies have specific packages that contain different types of study materials that will prepare you for their tests.

    Every agency at least contains the textbook to study from.

    In fact, some agencies provide you with multiple books.

    Sometimes your study bundle will come with instructional videos that can better help you visualize the information.

    Almost every single certifying agency offers some live workshops to help you get hands-on practical training experience and to help those that are kinesthetic learners.

    When preparing to study and work through the curriculum, you should ask yourself in what ways do you learn the best.

    Are you a visual learner, an audio learner, kinesthetic learner or good at memorizing textbooks.

    You might be a combination of two or more of the learning styles above.

    So many learners use flashcards to memorize terminologies that are found in the study materials.

    If you are new to the field of exercise science, you will find a lot of words in the textbooks that you need to cram.

    I am more of a visual learner and I got a lot of value from videos and flashcards more than anything else.

    Certifying agencies typically provide multiple packages that contain different types of study materials.

    You should learn what kind of learning style works best for you so that you can receive the study materials that are best fit for you.

    Remember that the depth and breadth of knowledge influence personal fitness trainer salaries.

    So, study as much as you can.

    Study materials that are outside your certifications’ curriculum

    If you are still in the process of deciding which personal training certification is right for you, you could even study general kinesiology (exercise science) because there are sections of each certification’s curriculum that are virtually the same.

    For example, if you were to pick up an anatomy textbook, you could flip to the section about the musculoskeletal system.

    Studying the muscles, bones, origins, and insertions of the muscles will help you no matter what certification you decide to choose in the future.

    The biggest problem is that these large anatomy and physiology textbooks are quite expensive.

    A solution to this problem is to head over to a local library and either check one out or study it there.

    Some great free online resources for anatomy are www.innerbody.com and www.biodigital.com.

    I suggest that you check those two out.

    Surprised? Don’t be! You can learn a lot about how to become a personal fitness trainer with respect to human anatomy from great online resources like my site.

    By studying on your own, you’ll be able to learn all about different exercise routines, proper form, repetition ranges and hundreds of exercises from favorite websites such as bodybuilding.com and www.exrx.net.

    All of this great information will give you a huge headstart in preparing for any of the certifications that I talk about on this website.

    Check out my free study materials for the top personal training certifications here on my site.

    You will find these study materials the best fit for studying for these particular certifications.

    Obviously, there are tons of other curricula-specific information for each certification, but you will be leaps and bounds ahead of other people if you do some studying on your own before you decide which certification to choose.

    If possible, get permission to shadow a personal trainer

    This is one of the most important tips that I would love to travel back in time to give myself before I started out.

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    If you have a friend, family member or acquaintance that is a personal trainer, you should contact them to see if you could shadow them during one of their sessions.

    In my experience, all you need to do is ask, and in most cases, they will be extraordinarily willing and possibly flattered by the idea that you want to shadow them.

    I’m sure that with just a little searching you will be up to find somebody that is willing.

    Once you get the thumbs up, you should come fully prepared for the session with a pencil and notepad.

    Make sure not to interrupt or ask questions during the session because the client pays good money for their time.

    Make sure to make detailed notes and have a good list of questions for the trainer after the session is done.

    This is one of the best ways to learn information that is NOT IN THE TEXTBOOK!

    Check out my full article on personal training internships.

    Take your personal trainer exam!

    If your head is spinning from too much studying, that is a good thing! It means that you are ready to take the test and dominate it!

    Most of these certification organizations follow almost the same structure when setting the personal trainer certification exam questions.

    For instance, they all have the multiple-choice questions section containing the scored questions and the non-scored questions that are sometimes called the experimental questions.

    Some even have essays and case studies sections.

    Before you pick an organization, read through their exam format so that you will know how to properly study for the test.

    If you are in the process of setting a test date but are not entirely confident that you understand the material, set the test date a couple of months in the future.

    This will allow you time to perform any tweaks to the information you know.

    Your daily routine on the day of the test, as well as the night before, is essential to the success you will attain.

    During the night before your test day make sure you have a good study session on key points you have collected.

    This should not be a time to cram all the information into your head.

    That is why you give yourself months to prepare!

    I have seen friends that have procrastinated the last minute and try to learn it all and a couple of nights.

    It did not work out well for them.

    Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before.

    And in the morning make sure you have a protein-packed healthy breakfast.

    This will help keep you concentrated during the test!

    If you are nervous about taking the exam or are scared that you will fail, make sure to pick up the best study materials available here.

    4. Getting hired as a personal trainer

    4. Getting hired as a personal trainer

    In this section, I’ll talk about tips and strategies to get your foot in the door.

    I’ll also be talking about the differences between commercial gyms, studios in working for yourself.

    Put on your best suit and let’s go.

    So, which is the best way to become a personal trainer?

    After you pass the test for your certification of choice, it is time to suit up and fine-tune your resume. It’s time to start hunting for jobs!

    In most cases, you will receive your certification by mail a few weeks after you pass the test.

    Certifying agencies allow you to print out a temporary copy while you are waiting for the real thing to come in the mail.

    During this time you need to prepare yourself so that you stand out from the crowd of applicants.

    I have a great article on how to create a fantastic personal training resume that you should check out.

    Once you have finished perfecting your resume, you are ready to hand it out to potential employers.

    In general, there are two different places you can work when you are just starting out as a personal trainer.

    You can either work for a corporate gymnasium such as 24-hour fitness or a local gym or studio.

    The third option is that you can work entirely for yourself by either bringing clients to your house or renting out studio space and filling it with the necessary equipment.

    This option is far less likely if you’re getting started out as a personal trainer because of the initial investment costs.

    Let’s dive in to learn more about these three options.

    Getting a job at a commercial gym

    Working for a corporate gym or health club is probably the most common job for a first time personal trainer. 

    It is also a fantastic way to get your foot in the door and learn more about the industry.

    The best gyms to work for all depends on how you want to earn your income.

    You will have to come to an agreement with a gym owner on how you prefer to operate.

    Commercial gymnasiums such as Bally’s and 24-hour fitness are two examples of corporate gyms to find a job.

    These are an excellent option for first-time trainers because they sign up a lot of members.

    On top of this, they have dedicated sales teams that will help build up your clientele quickly.

    This is a good thing and a bad thing in the long run.

    It is a good thing because you will get lots of experience extremely fast by working with lots of clients.

    It is a bad thing because you will need to split the money that your client pays between the salesperson as well as the gym.

    If you are not a good salesperson, this is great because you would not have that many clients without the dedicated sales team.

    Typically, the salesperson will typically make one-third of what your client pays for your time and expertise.

    In most situations, the salesperson makes the most money out of anyone working at the gym.

    Some gyms will let you sell your own training, and if you have a knack for sales, you could make two-thirds of what your client pays.

    Working for a commercial gym is typically the lowest paying option for personal trainers.

    The average hourly rate is around $20 an hour compared to the average hourly rate (without the sales middleman/woman) which is between $21 and $35.

    This doesn’t seem that much when you realize that your client is paying $50-$60 for every hour of training that you do with them.

    Check out my comprehensive guide that explains personal trainer salary.

    Getting a job at a local studio or gym

    Working for a local studio or gym can be a lot more profitable because typically you aren’t splitting your client’s money.

    Local spots also tend to give a higher percentage of the client’s money to the trainer right off the bat.

    So that the salesperson is not hogging all of your client’s money, you can start to gain traction financially by making approximately $30-$40 for every hour session you do.

    The biggest downfall is that you need to build up your own clientele.

    If you’re confident in your abilities and skills as a personal trainer, this should not be that difficult.

    Sales is a necessary skill you will have to learn in a setting like this.

    Check out my article on how to sell personal training.

    But once you have built a decent network and you have a reputation for getting excellent results, your clients should come to you much more naturally.

    I have seen multiple trainers that started at a commercial gym and moved over to a local studio bringing most of their clients with them.

    Typically this is against the rules and your agreement with a commercial gym, but it still happens all the time and is the client’s choice!

    Another way to get more clients is to use some fantastic marketing techniques that I like to use.

    Marketing yourself should be easy.

    Check out this article about the top 9 jobs in a gym and see which you would love.

    Working for yourself

    Starting a personal training business is by far the most profitable scenario out of all three, but it is also the hardest to accomplish.

    It is the most profitable because you will not be splitting any of your client’s money.

    You will make 100% of the money that you charge your client.

    The reason why this scenario is the hardest is that you do not have a full gym with lots of members.

    You will have to have a relatively extensive network of individuals that are interested in your service.

    This is necessary before starting your training business.

    It’s also important to be a talented salesperson because you will have to be selling every single agreement.

    The great thing about working for yourself is that you only need approximately 1/3 of the total clients that you would need at a commercial gym.

    With this number of clients, you could make the same amount of money.

    You can be working part-time and be financially stable once you get enough clients!

    There are four main necessities that you need to run your training business.

    These four necessities are space, necessary equipment, liability insurance, and excellent sales/networking skills.

    Let’s dive into each of these necessities to take a look at them individually.

    Having the necessary space to perform training sessions

    Finding the essential space that is needed to conduct training sessions is probably the hardest obstacle.

    This is mostly dependent on the essential equipment you need to perform your sessions.

    Three reasonable options are to create space in your own home, to create space in your clients home or to rent out a designated area for your training.

    If you require large pieces of equipment such as squat racks, your best bet is to rent out and create your own training studio.

    This could run you upwards of $1000 per month in rent alone plus the cost of all the equipment.

    If all you require are some dumbells, bands, a stability ball, or Bosu ball, you can very quickly create space in your own home to do your training sessions.

    You need to make sure that your training location is clean, spacious and safe.

    The last option that you have is to perform your training sessions outdoors!

    This option is best for summer months when it is nice outside.

    You could take your clients to a local park or even a beach if you live near one! The only problem is that this option is not viable all-year-round.

    Purchasing the necessary equipment

    The equipment that you need will entirely depend on the type of clients that you train.

    For example, if most of your clients are athletes that are focusing on peak performance training, you will need a lot of heavyweights and equipment.

    This might take up lots of space like squat racks, benches and Olympic weights for powerlifting.

    On top of this, you will not be able to do this type of training outdoors, so you will probably have to rent studio space.

    If the type of client you are training is focusing on flexibility, functional training, and corrective exercises, you can get away with a lot less.

    You could perform excellent training sessions with light dumbbells, bands, floor mats, bosu balls, and a stability ball.

    Not only are these equipment light and portable, but they are also not that expensive.

    You can fit most of these in your car and perform your training sessions either outdoors, in your own home, or in your client’s home.

    In summary, you can get away with very little equipment depending on what type of clients you train.

    Acquiring liability insurance for your business

    This is one crucial personal trainer information you need to pay attention to.

    Since you are not working for a commercial gym that supplies your liability insurance, you will need to get out there and purchase your own.

    There are dozens of companies that provide professional liability insurance for personal trainers.

    Larger certifying agencies such as ACE and NASM have an option for liability insurance for personal trainers for an additional cost.

    You should see if your certification provider has this option for you.

    Besides going through your certifying agency, there are lots of other options out there depending on how much you want to be covered for.

    On the lower price range, you can typically get covered for about $1 million in damages for a year.

    The price is approximately $150.

    I recommend anyone just starting their training business to get covered for at least $1 million.

    This amount of money should be enough to cover any medical or legal action taken against you.

    I know many people feel that they are cool and can handle stuff without insurance, but trust me, it is a lifesaver like no other.

    Since nothing is predictable and the status of your client’s health is known to you only to the degree to which they wish to expose, anything can happen during a training session.

    You do not want a client’s family member and family to come hounding you in the event of some injuries or worse.

    Beyond personal liability insurance, insuring your gym and the equipment (when you get to that level) is also a wise idea and I honestly recommend it.

    Make sure to check out my full article on personal training insurance!

    Having the necessary sales and networking skills

    Besides having the space required for training, this is the most crucial aspect of working for yourself.

    After all, you will need to have many clients to get ahead.

    If you do not have a network of clients and also lack the ability to sell yourself, then you will not go far in the personal training business.

    These are two skills that you will have to study and practice actively.

    One good way of finding potential new clients is to let your current clients know that you are looking for more work.

    This will help you spread the word by asking their friends and family.

    Something that is necessary for you to have is an excellent business card!

    This is a fantastic way to promote yourself and also give potential clients an easy way to find your contact information.

    You should be handing these cards out like hotcakes!

    Don’t worry about the price; you can usually get approximately 1000 cards printed out for $10-$20.

    Once your name starts spreading around town, you will have a list of potential clients.

    At this point, you need to reach out to each of them individually to sell yourself and your services.

    There are dozens of books written about sales techniques that you can read.

    But in general, just be yourself, be confident, and be extremely helpful.

    Even if you don’t make the sale to a specific individual, if they remember that you are very helpful and you made a good impression, they might recommend your services to a friend or family member!

    In this business, I have come to the conclusion that word-of-mouth advertisement can be very powerful.

    Such a recommendation does two things: they are proof that you know your job and can deliver.

    Also, it means that there is no limit to how many clients you will get from a single chain of recommendations.

    No matter how long it takes to become a personal trainer, acquiring this skill is even as important.

    Design a corporate Personal Trainer program

    A corporate wellness program is a style of personal training service that personal trainers use to make big bucks.

    It takes the form of group exercise and is very engaging.

    Most employers that want their employees to perform at the optimum level will find your proposal attractive.

    You can approach corporate organizations and do a sales pitch/presentation to them, telling them why their employees require your professional service.

    Describe how it will increase productivity at work, decrease the number of sick leaves and how it will improve the overall work environment.

    This is where your communications and business skills come in handy.

    I can tell you confidently that this is one method to quickly expand your network and gain more clients in a short time.

    Use a Personal Trainer Management software

    Do you know how well technology is being used to replace humans in today’s world? Do not fear, the ones that I am talking about are not replacing you.

    This job still requires human intervention to make connections and train clients in order to get the desired fitness goals.

    Health clubs use technology to enhance their job in this industry and this makes health coaches‘ jobs easier.

    There are software programs such as PTminder, Nudge coach, Trainerize, and a few others, that are created to ease and perfect your work as a personal trainer.

    Such business management software programs are used by small businesses (if you are just starting out) to create events, schedule workshops, and make payments.

    The good thing is that you do not need to be a geek to use these apps.

    So far you can navigate and understand how to use a smartphone, you will be able to utilize any one of them appropriately.

    You should get one of those.

    5. Developing the right attitude and qualities for PT

    5. Developing the right attitude and qualities for PT

    Below, You will learn about the most important attributes to possess in order to succeed.

    Let’s not waste any time and get right into it.

    Developing the right attitude and qualities for personal training is what makes you have an edge in this industry.

    You must first of all fall in love with this job for it is a way of life.

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    You have to believe in it inwardly first before you can deliver your service outwardly and then communicate it to a potential client.

    The primary goal of any personal trainer is to change their client’s lives to make them feel great.

    To achieve these primary goals for your clients, you must possess certain qualities. Let’s talk about these qualities.

    Being comfortable one-on-one and having good social skills is important

    Since the majority of your time will be spent one-on-one with individual clients, you need to be able to relate to everyone.

    Since each of your clients will have a completely different personality type, you need to be able to adapt to relating with each of them personally because your clients put a lot of faith and trust in what you’re doing.

    You need to display from the beginning that you have the knowledge that they need to achieve their goals.

    Having excellent listening and communication skills is a must to become a successful personal trainer.

    Possessing excellent leadership qualities

    What do you need to become a personal trainer; what kind of personality best suits this job?

    For your clients to trust you as a trainer, you need to display yourself confidently.

    When you speak to your clients, you need to speak confidently.

    You are the expert, and they are paying you for your expertise.

    If you come off as unsure of what you are talking about or lacking in confidence, you can bet that they will not feel confident in you.

    If you think that you lack leadership qualities, take a class in public speaking! Trust me, it works!

    You need to lead a healthy lifestyle

    Have you ever heard the saying “practice what you preach?” Since you are promoting healthy eating and exercise for your clients, you should be practicing healthy lifestyle habits too.

    If you do not live the lifestyle that you preach, how do you expect your clients to trust what you say? Your clients cannot follow your lead if you are not leading in the right direction.

    Your clients are 1 million times more likely to trust what you say and follow your instructions if you lead a healthy lifestyle.

    This part is the very basis of how to start personal training.

    Also, make sure to check out my article on personality traits for personal trainers.

    Leading by example is one of the most important traits of a good trainer.

    You will find a lot of information in this article about the best nutrition certification very useful in this regard.

    6. Specializing and Continuing Education

    6. Specializing and Continuing Education

    Continuing education is extremely important for bettering yourself and your clients.

    Let’s see what it’s all about.

    Continuing education for personal training

    Most certifications require that you show proof of continuing education every 2 to 3 years to get recertified through them.

    Most certifying agencies either use continuing education credits (CEC’s) or continuing education units(CEU’s).

    There is no real difference between these two; they are just a way to measure continuing education.

    There are different places that you can receive continuing education from.

    If you look online for “fitness workshops in my area,” you should be able to find some weekend workshops that offer continuing education.

    Another option is to either get a separate certification or an advanced certification from either your current certifying agency or another.

    In my experience, almost all certifications transfer over valid continuing education credits for big-name certifications.

    It is always a good option to get additional certifications because it will make you a more diverse trainer.

    Most fitness professionals recommend this.

    You will then be able to work with a broader range of clients.

    The last option is also the cheapest option that I know of.

    A website called exerciseetc.com is a great place to get home study materials and take an online test.

    Some of these programs will cost you less than $100 and will fulfill most certification’s continuing education requirements!

    Check out my article on the cheapest continuing education credits if you need them right now.

    Specializing as a personal trainer

    Once you have gathered some experience in the personal training industry, you might find yourself gravitating towards one style of coaching.

    You may discover that you prefer working with individuals with muscular imbalances and that you are good at correcting them, for instance.

    Gaining specialty certifications will help you to improve your personal trainer skills and also to make more money as a trainer.

    There are advanced certification programs that will fit almost every direction you want to take personal training.

    For example, NASM’s corrective exercise specialist would be an advanced certification for working with individuals with muscular imbalances.

    You also might find that you would instead work with peak performance athletes that are trying to get to the top of their respective sport.

    For this type of training, I would recommend NASM’s performance exercise specialist or NSCA’s CSCS.

    There are dozens of other specialized certifications such as a weight-loss specialist certification or youth exercise specialist certification.

    ACE also has some great specialization certifications such as a health coach certification or a group instructor certification.

    These specialization certifications will take your knowledge of specific topics to a whole new level.

    You will learn about weight management, strength training, exercise physiology, etc.

    As such, your advance personal trainer skills will turn you into a body performance expert.

    A specialty certification like CSCS allows you to work with special populations and it is very challenging.

    A college degree is required for you to obtain this certification with NSCA.

    On top of gaining this helpful information, they also fulfill your continuing education requirements, so there is no losing!

    If you are wondering how you can become a great trainer that people look up to? Getting a specialist certification is what you need to do!

    Developing the right attitude and qualities for personal training

    The primary goal of any personal trainer is to change their client’s lives to make them feel great.

    To achieve these primary goals for your clients, you must possess certain qualities.

    Let’s talk about these qualities.

    Being comfortable one-on-one and having good social skills is important

    Yes, this is paramount.

    Personal trainer skills are not just knowing about exercise design and how the human body responds to it or how to maintain nutritional balance, you also need other skills to succeed.

    Since the majority of your time will be spent one-on-one with individual clients, you need to be able to relate to everyone.

    Since each of your clients will have a completely different personality type, you need to be able to adapt to relate to each of them personally.

    Your clients put a lot of faith and trust in what you’re doing.

    You need to display from the beginning that you have the knowledge that they need to achieve their goals.

    Having excellent listening skills is a must to become a successful personal trainer.

    Managing temper and tantrums

    Believe it or not, people can go “lose it” in the gym and it is your job to calm them down.

    This is a great responsibility – especially if you are dealing with teens or the elderly bloc of clients.

    Asking a 70-year old man to push and pull, roll and twist again and again can become overwhelming.

    As such, you need to learn how to calm them down and make them see reasons as to why your routines are designed that way.

    To overcome this, take things slowly, go with their pace, and once you see temper rising, take a break for a few minutes.

    Another formula that really works is to learn how to talk subtly and reassuring.

    Don’t leave them to their thoughts; instead, keep reminding them about why they signed up, about how close they are to the goal, etc.

    Work like a professional

    You must dress the part and work as a true professional.

    Also, ensure that your space is clean and organized.

    Little things like dusty surfaces or unorganized training space put some people off and they will not take you seriously.

    Remember that you will be working close to your client’s nose, so ensure that you are as clean as possible and your sweat does not become a body odor that will turn them off.

    There are great cosmetic products designed for people working out in the gym; make sure to get one and use it.

    FAQ on becoming a personal trainer

    How to become a personal trainer: Quick Infographic Breakdown

    This excellent informative infographic showcases the six benefits of being a personal trainer and the nine essential steps to becoming one.

    Don’t forget to read the rest of the article as it provides many more details on how to become a personal trainer.

    After guzzling this up, check out more stats about personal training here.

    I hope you like it!

    How to Become a Trainer


    Conclusion on How to become a personal trainer

    Well, that’s about it on my guide showing you how to become a personal trainer.

    Did you enjoy it? Do you think that personal training is the right career choice for you?

    If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to shoot me a message down below. Thanks for stopping by!

    Look at you!

    You made it to the end of this monster article!

    I hope you gained some valuable information from this guide?

    So, is it worth it to become a personal trainer?

    I would say a big YES to this.

    It is a job where you change your life as much as you change the lives of your clients. The employment opportunities are endless and the future outlook is great because every successful person needs a form of coaching.

    Your job is important because you are to coach the old and young to help them realize their health and fitness goals.

    Personal training is the best job I have ever worked in my life. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my time.

    The next step is to Take the quiz to find out which PT certification is right for you so that you can start your journey as a trainer!

    Check out my free study guides and practice tests for all of the best personal training certifications available. Or, if you want an exam pass guarantee and to cut your study time in half, check out Trainer Academy for premium study materials.

    The feeling that you get from helping people reach their goals and live healthy lifestyles is gratifying. I am grateful for the job I work every single day. Personal fitness training is connected to the body and the mind, it is a fulfilling and rewarding job.

    With drive, ambition and the help of this guide, you should be able to get certified and start working full-time as a personal trainer in no time! This post is just the beginning, make sure to check out my other articles on PTpioneer.com.

    So, right now I suggest that you think long and hard about what type of clients you would like to train and then check out my article on the best personal trainer certifications so you can find the one that will fit your training style!

    If you have any questions or comments, send me a message down below.

    Make sure to spread the word about my website especially if you have friends or family that are also interested in fitness.

    I hope you guys enjoyed my article and that my personal trainer guide has been of great use?!

    Good luck on your path to personal training, it is a great one!

    If you are interested in becoming a personal trainer in a specific state, check out my state-by-state Guide to Becoming a personal trainer.

    Now get out there and help some people achieve their goals! 🙂


    1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htm
    2. https://acewebcontent.azureedge.net/assetportfoliodownloads/ACE_SalarySurvey.pdf
    3. https://blog.nasm.org/newletter/strengthening-communication-skills-clients/
    4. https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/5-essential-qualities-to-look-for-in-a-good-trainer
    5. https://study.com/training_requirements_for_personal_trainer.html
    6. https://www.cprcertified.com/blog/careers-that-require-cpr-certification
    7. https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/cpr-training/cpr-renewal
    8. https://www.nfpt.com/personal-trainer-certification-comparison
    9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18948652
    10. http://blog.acpe.edu.au/index.php/health-fitness/work-fitness-trainer/
    11. https://www1.salary.com/Personal-Trainer-hourly-wages.html
    12. https://www.acsm.org/get-stay-certified/get-certified/comparing-personal-trainer-certifications
    13. http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/trainers-30-ways-to-make-more-money

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    18 thoughts on “How to Become a Personal Trainer in 6 easy steps [Updated 2022]”

    1. Thank you so much!! This was very comprehensive and informative. I love your other articles on certifications as well. I was so confused about certifications until I found your website!

    2. Hi, I’m looking for a pt in Spanish. I live in Florida and I thinking about NCSF, because they have Spanish course but I’m not sure if that certification working in Florida.

      1. Hey Maria,
        I am not 100% sure which certifications are provided in Spanish as well as English. In terms of whether or not a specific certification will be accepted in your area, I would go around to local gymnasium’s that are hiring to ask them which certifications they accept and which ones they prefer. I hope this helped

    3. Tyler,
      This is such helpful information! Thank you! I passed my ACE personal training exam yesterday! I’m really excited but I am not comfortable yet starting as a personal trainer. I am looking for some sort of shadowing program so I can learn what I’m doing before I take on clients. Do you know of any gyms that offer some sort of training program? If not, do you have advice how to get start started and know what you are doing?
      Thanks so much!

      1. Hey Rachel,

        Thanks so much and I am really glad that you like the articles. Congrats on getting certified that is super exciting! In terms of shadowing programs, the best advice that I have is to call your local gyms and ask if you could shadow a few of the trainers. Most trainers are totally open to this in my experience. It could also be a good way to get your foot in the door for work. Another idea just to practice is to train friends and family members for free. This is great practice and is beneficial for you as well as the person getting trained! Hope this helps and good luck getting started!

    4. Hi Tyler,

      Great info

      “If you are still in the process of deciding which personal training certification is right for you, you could even study general kinesiology(exercise science) because there are sections of each certifications curriculum that are virtually the same”

      I know there are other guides, books, in regards to this

      What option would you recommend for book to purchase for one to pre stud/prepare while deciding what CPT to go to?
      To help with studying and to help with the eventual Test

      I did not know if you have a resource page
      Link if you have one, for your “ credit”:)

      I’m more of a textbook hands on

      In other wards , what Amazon Book to buy and Or library lighter book to borrow

      Thank You

    5. cosmicgreengirlygirl

      I am very interested in getting my personal training certification but I want to specialize with people whom have had bariatric surgery or people who have had weight loss surgery. what certification would i need and how would i go about getting specialty classes or certifications in this field?

      1. Hello,
        It sounds like you need to get a specialization certification. In order to do this, you need to get a general personal training certification first. I recommend either NASM, ACE or ISSA and then after that you can get a specialization certification such as the weight lost specialist from NASM. I hope this helps with your question!

    6. Hello,

      I love your page! Thank you for explaining the process on how to become a CPT. My first goal is to get my Health Coach Certification though ACE, do you have any discount codes that I could use? 🙂
      Thank you!

      1. Hello Yarelis,
        That is great to hear you’re starting your journey as a certified personal trainer! A health coach certification is definitely an excellent certification to get. Teaching people how to break bad habits is just as important as putting them through a workout routine. At the moment I do not have any discount codes for the ACE health coach certification 🙁 I’m sorry I couldn’t help you out this, but thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

    7. I currently hold a certificate in nutrition coaching and run coaching and I’m interested in next steps. Do you recommend becoming a full personal trainer or getting a strength cert?

      1. That’s great that you already hold a nutrition certification. The next thing I would do is definitely become a general personal training certification with one of the top five organizations. Afterwards, you can get a specialization certification in strength and conditioning. That’s the route I suggest you take.

    8. Hi, Very good Information.
      My daughter is 13 y/o She loves to do exercises and she plays competitive tennis since she was 5 y/o.
      She wants to be a Personal Trainer, but she does not have the require age.
      Is there any possibility she can get the training materials but no apply for the certification?
      Or an free online place to learn during this pandemic time?

      Thanks, -Maria

      1. You can definitely get all these study materials for free. In fact, you can purchase any of the textbooks from any of the personal training organizations listed on my website. That’s a great way to get the knowledge and then when she turns 18, she can get certified.

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