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How To Become A Personal Trainer

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After completing the certification process, you can explore several avenues of work, which is part of the beauty of becoming a personal trainer, says D’Orazio. Options include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Training clients individually at a gym
  • Teaching small group classes
  • Starting a personal training business

Vasquez suggests reviewing gym job boards and your certification organization’s website, which may have its own job board or special partnerships with gyms that could lead to job opportunities.

You may even be able to land a gym job before completing your certification. “Some gyms require that you finish your certification within three to six months of starting employment,” says Summers.

“Many gyms are willing to train newly certified personal trainers and hire personal trainers without experience,” adds Vasquez.

In fact, it may be easier to start by working in a gym to connect with clients, which can be difficult to do on your own at the beginning of a personal training career, says D’Orazio. It can also give you the opportunity to simply walk around the gym and meet new people and potential clients, says Summers. “I got my first client by just saying hi,” she says. “Over the years, I picked up clients through management referral, word of mouth, people seeing me on the gym floor and social media.”

Working in a gym can also provide professional liability insurance, which covers you in the event a client claims injury—an important part of being a personal trainer, says D’Orazio. Still, she recommends obtaining your own insurance and having clients complete health history questionnaires, informed consent forms and liability waivers to protect both the trainer and client.

Once you get started, it’s important to build both your experience and client base. “As a new trainer, get as much in-person experience as you can,” advises Vasquez. “Decide if there’s a specific demographic you prefer to train—for example, youth or athletes—and with time, tailor your expertise to that demographic.”

After some time and experience at a gym, you can branch out, says D’Orazio, either moving to a different gym or earning additional certifications in specializations like group fitness or Pilates, for example. These extra certifications may require additional coursework and do tend to come with their own exams.

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