When it comes to educational requirements of personal trainers and fitness instructors, little or no on-the-job training exists. Most new trainers are expected to come to work already knowing the basics of their job, but they will be allowed time to learn about the employer’s specific administrative procedures.
The educational background required for work in the personal fitness industry depends on the specific exercise technique being practiced. Certification is usually required by most employers, but many will allow their trainers the time to gradually attain certification, rather than requiring it on day-one. Increasingly, a bachelor’s degree in a field related to health is required by some employers. Four-year universities offer bachelor’s degree programs for aspiring personal trainers. Useful majors include kinesiology, physical education, exercise science or other related topics.
There are several institutions in the United States that offer certification for fitness instructors. To gain certification, the prospective fitness trainer must have a high school diploma, be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and pass an examination with written and practical components. The topics covered on this exam are typically related to human physiology, exercise techniques, client fitness assessment and exercise program development. Some organizations that offer fitness instructing certification include:
- National Strength and Conditioning Association
- American Council on Exercise
- National Academy of Sports Medicine
- NSCA Certification Commission
- National Commission for Certifying Agencies
- Pilates Method Alliance
- Yoga Alliance
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