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Physical Trainer Certification and Certificate Program Information

Certificate programs in personal training are available to prepare students for physical training certification. Get certification details, and learn about required coursework, prerequisites, salary information and employment outlook.

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Essential Information

A personal trainer certificate program trains students to determine safe and effective physical activities for clients. Students learn to communicate and motivate clients to reach physical fitness goals. Nutrition, anatomy, exercise physiology and business management are some of the topics covered in these programs. Students can apply for certification after completing a certificate program and passing a test.

High school graduates can apply to these programs, but other requirements, like a credential in first aid, may be necessary. The certificate program is offered at many types of postsecondary schools including vocational schools, universities and community colleges.

Educational Prerequisites

A high school diploma or its equivalent is required for admission into some personal trainer certificate programs while others have no prerequisites. Having certain safety and first-aid certifications is also required by some.

Program Coursework

After taking personal training coursework, students are knowledgeable about human anatomy, physiology and human movement. They learn how to evaluate fitness levels, create fitness plans and perform various exercises properly. Some common classes include:

  • Exercise physiology
  • Exercise science
  • Anatomy
  • Resistance training
  • Wellness and nutrition
  • Kinesiology
  • Business management
  • Fitness assessment
  • Cardio-respiratory training

Employment Outlook

Physical trainers find employment in various fitness establishments and some are self-employed. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the fitness field is projected to increase 29% between 2008-2018. Motivating this increase is the recent greater health interest many people have had and their willingness to spend more money on it. In May 2010, personal trainers earned an annual mean salary of $35,920.

Professional Certification and Continuing Education

Graduates of a personal trainer certificate program are prepared to sit for a certification exam. The BLS reported that numerous agencies offer personal trainer certifications, and those that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies are the most respectable. Each certification agency sets its own eligibility requirements for receiving certification, but all applicants must pass an examination. Continuing education is usually necessary to keep the certification valid.

Students can pursue their studies in personal training further by enrolling in an associate's or bachelor's degree program. Relevant programs at the master's and doctoral levels are also available such as, athletic training, kinesiology or exercise science.

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