Physical Trainer Education Requirements and Career Information

Earning associate's degree in physical training or personal fitness can be a good educational background for students who want to become physical trainers. Physical trainers are often self-employed or work at gyms, wellness and recreational centers. A physical trainer helps clients meet their fitness goals by suggesting and overseeing a fitness regime that may also include dietary advising.

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Educational Requirements for Physical Trainers

Students who want to become physical trainers can gain valuable career instruction through an associate's degree program in physical fitness training. The degree can usually be completed in two years and provides graduates with fitness knowledge for activities like leading group exercise classes and conducting one-on-one training sessions.

Associate of Applied Science in Physical Fitness Training

Students enrolled in an associate's degree program in physical fitness training learn how to evaluate the physical fitness of clients and design exercise programs that will help them achieve their fitness goals. Physical training courses cover topics like cardiovascular programming, nutrition, human performance, first aid and group exercise programs.

Some courses also cover interpersonal and oral communication, which is important for physical trainers, because they have to earn the trust of their clients. Good communication is also important for physical trainers, because this can help them ensure that clients will understand their suggestions and implement them safely. Some courses may also include instruction on physical rehabilitation, though this is not the exclusive domain of a physical trainer and is usually handled by athletic trainers and physical therapists.

Career Information

Physical trainers work with clients who want to increase overall fitness and lose weight. They can find employment in places that focus on fitness like gyms, health clubs, country clubs and wellness centers. Physical trainers usually assess their clients' overall physical health and also learn about their fitness goals before developing a fitness plan that suits each client's individual needs.

Once a program has been developed, a physical trainer usually plays a role in motivating the client to stay disciplined and able to stick with the program to the end. This may also involve guidance on what to eat and which exercises can be performed at home. A 24% increase in employment of fitness trainers is expected for the 2010-2020 period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reports the May 2012 median annual salary of a physical trainer as $31,270 (www.bls.gov).

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