ISSA: Certified Personal Trainer

Many people ask about profession of personal trainer and about certification. As we always answer – there are plenty of variants in multi training platforms, which could be easily find t LEENjoy page.

But today we want to share some information from specialized platform called ISSA (International Sports Science Association). Read attentively, because here you will read not only about profession of personal trainer.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Personal Trainer?

Becoming a successful personal trainer takes more than just a passion for fitness, although that is also important. You need a related education, a passing score on an accredited exam, a recognized certification, and practical experience. You also need to be a good communicator, a professional, a listener, a problem-solver, and a motivator, all skills you can work on over time.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Personal Trainer and Work with Clients?
Personal training and fitness instruction are not government-regulated industries. This means that, legally, there are no qualifications and requirements. Practically speaking, though, personal trainers go through several steps:

Age Requirement
The first and most basic qualification for personal trainers is that you must be 18 years of age to take the certification exam. So, if you are still in high school, finish strong and take courses related to the field, including anatomy, health, and P.E., and get involved in school sports. If you didn’t graduate from high school, working toward earning your high school equivalency or GED is also beneficial as some employers may require it, even if you are 18 years or older.

Choose a Personal Trainer Certification Course
Even if you have a lot of experience working out, taking fitness classes, and even offering advice to others, you’re not a trainer until you get a credential. A personal trainer certificate program provides you with the knowledge necessary to train clients effectively and safely.

Choose a basic personal trainer course to get started. It should be accredited and meet your needs in terms of duration and cost. Most courses are available online, so you can complete them at your own pace.

Pass the Certification Exam
At the completion of the course, you will take a certification exam. Taking the course is not enough. You also need to pass this exam to actually get your credential. The exam should be accredited. Before completing a program, make sure it is accredited and that the exam is as well.

Don’t Forget CPR/AED Certification
Many personal training programs include this, but if not, make sure you get certified in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator). Many gyms and other personal trainer employers require CPR/AED certification.

Even if an employer doesn’t require this credential, it’s good to have. You could end up saving a client’s life. Also consider earning a first aid certification. If any of these are not part of your personal trainer program, you can find certification courses through your local Red Cross.

Add Additional Credentials
A general personal training certification is a great starting point. You can go far in your career with that credential, but many trainers choose to specialize. With additional certifications, you can offer clients extra services and gain more job opportunities.

With a general certification in hand, consider earning specializations, for example:

Nutrition and health coaching

Group fitness

Strength and conditioning



Corrective exercise

DNA-based fitness coaching

Youth fitness

Senior fitness

For more ideas for branching out as a trainer, check out the full list of ISSA specializations.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Personal Trainer Online?
People are increasingly turning to online personal trainers for the convenience and often lower costs. If you want to work with clients online, you still need all the qualifications. You might get away with skipping CPR certification, but it’s a good idea have it regardless of where you work.

As an online trainer, you’re likely striking out on your own. This makes it even more important to have the right credentials. Clients are unlikely to choose a trainer who has no official certifications.

With a personal trainer certification, you can work as a fitness instructor, trainer, or coach, but there are other options too. These are some of the additional and alternative careers to consider once you have your credential.

What Are the Qualities of a Good Trainer?
Nearly as important as external qualifications are your own internal qualities? Besides education, experience, and certification, what makes a successful personal trainer?

First and foremost, you should be into fitness. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder, an athlete, or even very good at sports, but you must be passionate about exercise and fitness.

A love of fitness will only take you so far. You could win 5k races and CrossFit competitions, but if you can’t work well with people, you can’t train them. Personal trainers enjoy working with people and are clear and conscientious communicators.

You should also be a good listener, able to motivate people, and flexible. Trainers must be able to assess their clients and shift the training plan as needed. Problem-solving is another important skill. You’ll come across clients who keep missing their goals, and you as the trainer need to figure it out.

Finally, you need professional skills. A good personal training certification course will give you at least a brief overview of this. Learn how to maintain boundaries with clients, how to present yourself as a professional, and how to meet your responsibilities with clients.

Is it Possible to Work as a Trainer Without Qualifications?
It might be, but this is strongly discouraged. Qualifications are a matter of safety above all else. You can do a lot of harm to clients without the background knowledge of how the body moves and how to do exercises correctly.

I Have My Qualifications, Now What?
Starting a personal training career begins with your credentials. Now you have to do the hard work of finding a job or starting a business. The latter is the easier route. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for fitness trainers and instructors are growing at a rapid pace of 39%.

You should find it easy to land a job, at a gym for instance. This is a great way to start your career, even if you eventually want to start your own small business. A job at a gym gives you valuable experience and helps you network, crucial factors for any entrepreneur.

If you’re searching for employment, keep your mind open to all opportunities. Personal trainers work in big box gyms, smaller boutique gyms, recreation centers, spas and resorts, physical therapy offices, retirement communities, and even large corporations that offer their employees wellness plans.

Network as much as you can by visiting different gyms, taking fitness classes, talking to trainers you know, and going to health and fitness events and expos.

If you run into an issue related to lack of experience, consider working with friends and family first. Gain some experience by offering them free sessions in exchange for reviews. You can also request to shadow or assist trainers at your gym.

Becoming a personal trainer is not something that happens overnight. There might not be official or legal qualifications to meet, but you need to be able to show employers and clients that you have knowledge, training, and experience. Start with earning a credential to get your new career off the ground.

ISSA’s Certified Personal Trainer – Self-Guided Study Program is a perfect way to start your career in the fitness industry. It provides you with a recognized credential and all the knowledge you need to get started.

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