Personal Trainer Requirements and CPT Duties/Responsibilities
Personal Trainer Requirements, Duties and Responsibilities

Every gym has them. And personal trainer is a massively important member of any gym team. Thanks to their one-on-one input, a personal trainer can help a range of different people who might come to a gym for their own specific reason.

The thing is if YOU are looking to get into the world of fitness or perhaps you already work in a gym but want something more, becoming a personal trainer is a solid route to take. Once you get your certification, the world of personal training opens so many other doors for you.

So if you are looking to find out more about personal trainers, this blog is going to cover the following, providing you with information YOU need to know about the world of a personal trainer.And specifically, we will be looking at:

  • The requirements to become a personal trainer
  • The responsibilities of a personal trainer
  • And finally, the duties of a personal trainer
  • So let’s jump right in then!

If you are not yet certified as a trainer, make sure to take the quiz find out which certification best for you. Also, check out my must-read article on the top five certifications. The menu at the top of this page will answer any question related to personal training that you have. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment here (I’ll respond within 24 hours). Also, visit the home page for the most recent and popular articles.

Want to Become a PT? Here are the personal trainer job requirements

Personal Trainer Duties

So you have thought about it and come to the realization that your entry point into the world of fitness is as a personal trainer.

But what exactly are the certified personal trainer requirements you need to meet to become one? Also make sure to check out my ultimate guide on how to become a trainer.

What do you need to be a personal trainer?


To be a personal trainer, you need to be at least 18 years old.

But why 18?

Well, it’s simple, really. The accreditation course you will take has the age as part of its personal trainer requirements.

And a maximum age? Well, none is specified so if you are older, fit and fancy a new direction in life as a personal trainer, why not!

High School Diploma

There is a basic education needed to become a personal trainer.

Many of the certification courses you might want to undertake will require that you at least have a high-school diploma.

Some might even want you to have a college degree before you can sign up for them, so bear that in mind when searching for the right certification provider.

For some of the certifications to become a personal trainer, a bachelor’s degree is usually needed.

CPR/AED Qualified

CPR/AED Qualified

ALL personal trainers will need to be CPR/AED qualified.

In fact, it’s best to get this done even before you look towards the rest of your personal trainer certification requirements.

But what exactly is a CPR/AED qualification and how can you obtain them?

When undertaking a CPR/AED qualification, you will learn a range of medical procedures. These can be used in the treatment of a patient that is having a cardiac emergency, in other words suffering from a stroke or perhaps a heart attack.

This will include first aid training as well as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an automated external defibrillator.

But why is this necessary?

Well, just think about it. As a personal trainer, you are dealing with people of varying ages, fitness levels and who are working out. This means raised heart rate levels.

And while you would have thoroughly accessed each client and worked out a training program for them, there is always a small chance that at some time a client might have a cardiac emergency.

And don’t you want to be trained to know what exactly to do in that situation?

A CPR/AED certification forms a very small part of the education needed to become a personal trainer but it’s important, that’s for sure!

And where can you obtain this certification?

Well, many hospitals, medical centers, and even your local fire station will have courses that you can sign up for.

Other organizations such as the American Heart Association, the Red Cross, the National CPR Foundation and a host of other training centers will offer the course as well.

And what can you expect when attending such a course?

Well, there is plenty of theory to work through with the instruction but of course, a practical, hands-on portion is also a crucial part of any CPR/AED course.

And that will be done with a CPR dummy where you will learn the exact techniques used in CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator as well.

You will also receive a manual as well as basic first aid instruction during the program.

Simply sign up for one, take a day out of your schedule, attend the course, pass the exam.

It’s that simple really.

Personal Trainer Certification

Personal Trainer Responsibilities

Now the most important thing about becoming a personal trainer is the need to be certified.

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Well, it means you are qualified to put a client through their paces in terms of a training program, something you would be drawing up for them.

In truth though, it just shows that you know what you are talking about and are an expert in your field.

You don’t visit a doctor without a qualification, do you?

Or have a lawyer defend you in a case if they aren’t qualified, right?

So why should the world of personal training be any different? Therefore it’s important to take personal trainer certification requirements seriously.

That means you have the education needed to become a personal trainer covered and that makes you more marketable. Some of the accreditations/certifications you could consider are provided by the:

  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • American Council on Exercise
  • International Sports Sciences Association
  • take the quiz to see which certification right for you

All of these require you to pass an examination to receive your certification.

While many provide impressive study aids to help you along the way, getting some third-party help is recommended as well. Online study portals such as Trainer Academy can help you ensure that you pass your certification easily.

And there you have it! Now you know what the certified personal trainer requirements are that allow you to become part of the exciting world of fitness!

As a Personal Trainer, What are Your Responsibilities?

As a Personal Trainer, What are Your Responsibilities?

Ok, so we know that as a personal trainer, you will be working with individual clients.

Essentially, it’s all about using exercise to help them make a healthy change to their lifestyle but of course, it goes a little deeper than that.

The personal trainer job description is all-encompassing. What does a personal trainer do?

Why? Well, you might be an exercise specialist but as a personal trainer, you going to need a few more strings to your bow as well.

Think about it, you need to educate clients as to why the exercises you are giving them will help them in the long run.

Not only that, but you are going to need to motivate them as well. You know that when you workout, some days are far easier than others. On occasions, your clients will be struggling for motivation and that’s where you will step in.

But let’s take a quick look at the personal trainer responsibilities you are expected to fulfill.

Setting Goals

After meeting with a new client, the first thing a personal trainer does is set both short-term and long-term goals for them. And this is a very important step.


Well, it shows the client what you have in store for them, how you can ultimately help them, and gives them a destination to reach.

For example, a client wanting to lose weight will need a final goal weight that you think they can reach. But they also need short term goals such as a weight loss figure per week and per month.

All of these goals must be attainable as that will help with motivation.

Coach, Motivate and Educate

Personal Trainer Requirements and CPT Duties/Responsibilities 4

It goes without saying that the majority of your day as a personal trainer will be spent in one-on-one sessions with clients.

Most of these will revolve around using the gym equipment. In the beginning, it’s important that you focus on coaching your clients on how to use the equipment in the correct manner.

Often, that means showing them first. You are the professional after all!

If they have never used the equipment before, you will guide them every step of the way through each exercise you wish them to accomplish. Having them do it right, the first time is crucial in ensuring that they start off on a firm foundation in trying to meet their goals.

It also shows the client that you do indeed know what you are talking about!

But there is more to that as well.

We have mentioned motivation before, and it certainly is an often undervalued part of a personal trainer’s skills.

Although you would have set each of your client’s realistic goals, you have to place yourself in their shoes. Sometimes, reaching those goals can seem like an insurmountable task.

Take someone who is overweight and who has taken the brave decision to turn their life around. Just setting foot into a gym can be an overwhelming experience, especially if they have body image issues.

While your training program will help them shed the pounds, it’s your motivational skills that will keep them coming back.

Training is hard for people in situations like these but with care and consideration, it’s up to you to guide and motivate them towards a healthier lifestyle.

Give Advice

Your training and certification mean that you have lots of knowledge about a range of subjects that pertain to fitness.

They are the basic requirements to be a personal trainer.

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Of course, that includes knowledge about training, fitness, and gym equipment, but that’s a given, right?

You also have knowledge about how your clients can make lifestyle changes, about their health as well as information on nutrition. And as a personal trainer, you will put all of this to use on a daily basis as you give advice to your clients.

And you can continue to learn as you go along. There is nothing stopping you from adding more knowledge and expanding your expertise by completing more certification courses.

The possibilities are endless, really.

Train Your Clients and Learn More About Them

Personal Trainer Requirements and CPT Duties/Responsibilities 5

We mentioned earlier that for new clients, you would actually show them the correct way to use the gym equipment.

For more regular clients, well, you don’t need to as they would by now know how to use each machine effectively. But that doesn’t mean you can leave them to their own devices.

As their fitness level grows, you will take each and every client through their gym session. It’s here that your personal, hands-on approach shows them how much you really do care for their health as well as their fitness levels.

It’s also a time when you learn a little more about each individual and what makes them tick. And you can use this to help motivate them.

Each client is unique and it’s by spending time with them while they train that you build up a relationship with them.

And it’s an awesome part of the job of a fitness trainer, that’s for sure.

Monitoring Client’s Progress

Last but not least is monitoring the progress each client makes in their overall fitness levels.

While this might not be something you need to do at every session, at least once a week you should record and store some readings related to your clients.

This could include their:

  • Heart rate (resting and while exercising)
  • Weight
  • Body-fat percentage
  • Body measurements, such as the thigh, arm, stomach, chest, etc.

By having these from the outset, it’s easier to show a client the progress they are making and in that way, help to motivate them.

In fact, progress is often the biggest motivation that they need.

What are the Daily Duties of a Personal Trainer?

What are the Daily Duties of a Personal Trainer?

So now that we have dealt with the responsibilities you have as a personal trainer, it’s time to look at the personal trainer duties to be carried out daily. These are in no particular order because none of them is more important than the other.

Client Screening

As a personal trainer, your lifeblood is your clients. And clients come and go.

Often, once a client has reached their initial goals, they might opt to no longer make use of your services as you have given them everything they need to train on their own.

And so, you will need new clients and once they have been signed up, they need to be screened.

We have talked about gathering all the vital information that you need to know about your client’s and that’s basically what client screening is.

It’s about determining their fitness levels, take readings of their heart-rate, fat percentage, body measurements, and weight so as to have a base point to monitor their progress from.

But it’s also a little more than that as you begin your relationship with them and get to know them a little better.

Devising Workout Programs

Personal Trainer Requirements and CPT Duties/Responsibilities 6

In down times between screening and working out one-on-one with clients, you are going to be devising workout programs.

Each one of these is totally unique for each individual client. And they are based on what it is the client wants to achieve using you as their personal trainer and working out.

For example, someone might want to specifically build muscle, another client might want to lose weight, while someone else might be recovering from injury and be in need of specific strength training.

This is where your expertise in exercise and the human body comes to the fore. And it’s an awesome part of being a personal or physical trainer, that’s for sure.


It goes without saying that a large part of your day will be spent training your clients one-on-one.

That’s all about getting them through their routine which you have tailor-made for them. It’s also a time when you will be providing them with the necessary motivation as well as information on the progress they are making.


Improving yourself can only have a positive impact on your personal training journey.

And it’s not only about working out, although it’s good to keep yourself in the game, obviously.

If you have some free time during a day, use it to plot your own future, for example, what certification could you focus on next to help expand your knowledge?

Or if you have already chosen your next certification, use this time to ensure you prepare yourself properly for the certification exam.


To survive as a personal fitness trainer, you need clients. And if you are good at your personal training jobs, your clients are often your best source of new referrals.

So ask them to suggest your services to any friends they might have who need the help of a personal trainer.

But you can also market yourself and social media is a great way to start.

Use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to your advantage. Advertise your services on local Facebook groups or even consider small social media ad campaigns.

And don’t forget traditional marketing methods either such as business cards, flyers, and posters. Get yourself out there, meet people at businesses around the gym and tell them what it is you do.

This will help you get more personal trainer jobs and clients.

You will be amazed at the number of clients you can make that way.

First Aid

The fact that a personal trainer has CPR/AED certification, as well as knowledge of first aid, means that from time to time, they may be called to use that knowledge in the gym.

These are just some of the daily duties you will perform as a personal trainer.

So Let’s Wind Down…

So Let's Wind Down...

Before jumping into the conclusion, if you have not done so yet, take the quiz to see which personal training certification is the best fit for your training style.

Without a doubt, the life of a personal trainer is varied. No two days are going to be the same, that’s for sure, even though it mostly revolves around gym and exercise.

But it’s the people that you work with that keep it interesting.

Lastly, it’s good to note the characteristics that a good personal trainer should have. It’s something to consider as you begin your journey in the world of fitness.

  • A personal trainer is patient

As a personal trainer, you have the knowledge about exercise, gym equipment and a host of other things your clients do not. So it pays to show some patience.

Think about it, a client might not use the equipment correctly. In fact, you may need to show them how to on a few occasions. Staying patient is key.

  • A personal trainer is analytical

Working with numbers, exercises and the like means a personal trainer has to have a fairly analytical brain.

  • A personal trainer has empathy

As a personal trainer, you need empathy. Each client has a different story to tell and will be relying on you to be empathetic as you help and motivate them towards a new lifestyle.

  • A personal trainer listens

As a personal trainer, you need to live in the moment with each and every client. And that mostly means being a good listener. Hear what they are saying and figure out a way to help your clients achieve the goals they want to.

Often, you can find out more from a client while they are working more so than in your initial client screening.

There you have it! We have outlined everything you need to know about personal training job requirements that you should know.

And that’s what you can expect from the world of personal training.

One thing is for sure, it’s never dull!

Are there questions that still have on the functions of a personal trainer, you can use the comment box below the FAQ to ask.

Personal Trainer Requirements and CPT Duties/Responsibilities FAQ

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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