Page 1 of 3

I wan to be a personal trainer...but

Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:03 pm
by Juggers
After a lot of consideration I think that I want to be a personal trainer.

I have a few questions though...

Does anyone know the best way to become a personal trainer? I know that I could get cirtfication from a bunch of places, but which place is the best? I checked online and there are a lot of websites that have personal trainer certification...but how legit are they?

I am in college right now and am majoring in business...Should I get a degree in business administration or switch my major to something else that is angled towards personal training? I am assuming it would be good to know about nutrition/chemistry/biology if I am dealing with a health related field.

If I get a degree in business, maybe it would be usefull because I might be able to start up my own business.

I just wanted some insight from anyone here who is a personal trainer and can give me tips on the right path to take.....

Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:40 pm
by Ironman
I am actually considering doing the same thing on a very very part time basis. I think the most prestigious is the ACSM. Go to their website for details, but bassically you can take it at any testing center, same places that do technical certs oddly enough. All you have to have is the knowledge and a CPR cert. You should probably get this. ... F8&s=books

If you don't have all the knowledge you need, also get these. ... F8&s=books ... F8&s=books

Or you could do what most of them do and pick a random web site. $50 and passing an easy test is all you need. Of course a severe head injury helps if you go that route too. :)

Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:01 am
by TimD
I think Ironman is right with the ASCM thing. Check out their sites, as I think they require a degree, but not sure what. Juggers, if I were you, and had it to do all over again, go with the business major, it will definately help you in the long run, and possibly take a minor in something geared towrds the trainer thing, say maybe in anatomy, or human physiology. Now, I'm not sure how the curriculums are set up any more, but when I was in college (late 60's), the P.E. (phys ed) majors included a lot of these types of courses, it just wasn't all go out and have fun playing spor.Might want to look up what your school offers and take some courses. Sure wouldn't hurt when trying to get qualified.

Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:06 pm
by Ironman
A degree is required for some certs, but for the personal trainer cert all you have to have is a high school diploma or GED and a current CPR cert that includes AED machine training. You don't have to take child/infant though, just the adult.

Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:38 pm
by Ryan A
I would have to take the opposite side of Tim this time.

I think you should major in what you actually want to do and get a minor in something business oriented.

There are a lot of great business students (management, economics, whatever) struggling in the world now because they dont know about anything specific. This is the reason a lot of management at large technology industries (Intel, AMD, Genentech, etc) are engineers by major but their position is almost entirely one of management. They have the deeper background to understand the technologies used in the company. This is becoming true for lawyers as well, a lot of political scientists become lawyers but if any scientists become lawyers (say for patent law) they are a step ahead because they are in high demand because of their expertise. Nobody would trust a political science student to discern the different chip architectures for a computer.

Also, business is easier to pick up on that the technical fields. This is mostly empirical based on me seeing people change majors from science to something more business minded and do better than the people who have been business students for 2 years already. Some non-empirical evidence would be starting salary, which definitely puts the science guys near the top.

In the end, running a successful personal business comes down to a lot of luck, who you know already, hard work, and some simple math. Can't really control the first and the last isnt a problem so my advice to you is get to know people that will help you find your calling and then work hard. In the case of personal training, you need to know people who are personal trainers and who know the avenues to take to get started. The exercise science route will let you do internships in some places so you can get to know more people that are out there. From there, you just need to work hard and hope for a break.

Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:51 pm
by Trillian
I'd agree with the other guys on ACSM. It's very highly regarded and will get you in any door. To obtain the HFI credential, you need a 4 year exercise science or related degree, but not for the CPT

NSCA is also excellent. and they are a little more geared towards athletic performance as opposed to general/clinical health as ACSM slightly more geared towards. You also would need a 4 year degree in exercise science or related field to obtain the CSCS. For the CPT, it is not necessary.

NASM, ISSA, and ACE are also good well respected organizations that you could consider. However, I'm an ACSM guy myself ;-)

Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:56 pm
by TimD
HeyTrillian, just curious. I guess I could look it up, but you're available. The ISSA. I'm from the understanding that Doc Squat (Fred Hatfield) got that thing going. What are the requirements here? Tks
Ryan, after reading your post, I think I'm going to agree with you, with one thing, rather than going into PE, they might want to major in physiology or something more science related, but keep the business background. You made some very good points.

Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 4:34 am
by Scribbles
Great replies.. I would tend to agree with Trillian's choices of certifying agencies. Stick with the top half dozen or so:

Visit each website to get a feel for the agency, and see which one appeals to you more. At that level, they are all wonderful agencies and each excel in ways that differ from one another.

Bear in mind that if you plan to start out personal training at a club, it may behoove you to visit the clubs you intend on working at down the line and enquire about which certification they accept, since some clubs do have preferences. This may influence your decision as to which to choose.

If you love training and you are a 'service-oriented' person, it's a great industry to help people transform their lives.

I have a business degree and never took an anatomy or physiology course in my life, until my certifications that is. While a background in physiology will help you in your studies, I am living proof that it's not an absolute pre-requisite. So choose your college degree by following what you love to learn first. You will always have time later to transition over.

The exception to the rule is if you plan on working with athletes (as opposed to the generally healthy population). In that case, I would orient my degree towards physiology over business.

Tim, Fred Hatfield Ph.D, a.k.a. Dr. Squat did start the ISSA, which is a great agency, very customer service oriented. There are no academic requirements for their certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) certification. You just need to be 18 years of age and have your current adult CPR card.

Best wishes to you.

Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 7:53 am
by TimD
Scribbles, thks MUCH for the links and the great reply.

Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 12:13 pm
by Scribbles
Tim, you're welcome. You can call me Herve.

Best wishes to you.

Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 5:44 pm
by Juggers
Thanks everyon for your replies...they are of great help.

Well, here is the thing.

I go to a community college which gives Associate degrees and certificates only, and there are only a few courses that actually relate to personal training.

>Physical Therapist Assistant
.Anatomy and PhysiologyI
.Anatomy and PhysiologyII
.Kinesiology for Rehab
>Clinical Laboratory Technology Biotech option
.Anatomy and PhysiologyI
.Anatomy and PhysiologyII
.General biology

Under the biology courses they have nutrition and kinesiology ect.....

So I guess my option is to stick with a business degree and maybe take some of those courses as electives when I can, or switch my major which is something I don't know if I can do (I'm done with my first semester)

I do plan on transfering to a university after this so Im sure I can do alot more in the future. However for now, this is what I have to work with.

Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 6:46 pm
by Ironman
I would stick with the business degree and take the biology classes for all your electives. Then when you transfer to the university, you will already have an associates in business (and hopefully an ACSM CPT if you pass the test). Then what you get your bachelor degree in depends on what you want to do. Do you want your own business as a personal trainer? Or do you want to be some kind of coach or do physical therapy or what? The good thing is you can get your ACSM CPT pretty quick and work at a gym training people while you go to school.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:49 pm
by Juggers
Well I came across something interesting today in school and should probably jump on it while it is convenient.

I can get certified to be a personal trainer at my college by W.I.T.S....I don't remember what it stands for but its a national certifier for personal training. Its roughly 8 weeks long and costs $499 for certification....However I need to have 20 internship hours and be certified in CPR.

I think this would be good for me to do because half of the training is hands its better than taking some test online without actually doing things I guess. I think its a sign for me to jump on ASAP. Maybe I won't have to change my major after all. I still plan on taking classes that pertain to personal training though. Any suggestions?

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:55 pm
by Scribbles

The fact that the program you mention has a 'hands-on' practical element to it is a very good sign. If the course is offered at your college, many more advantages become available to you including convenience, familiarity- which all help to bolster adherence to the program and thus, successful completion.

I've not heard of W.I.T.S.(?), but that shouldn't stop you from at the very least, enquiring for more information. When you research this organization, look for 'hidden' costs, such as additional cash outlays for exam registration, materials, 'internship' related expenses, etc. See also about their cancellation and refund policies, and any fees incurred if you have to re-take the exam for whatever reasons. If they're not transparent, it may be an indication to look elsewhere.

It may relieve the stress of decision if you start to look at certification not as a final accomplishment but as a first of others to come. This way, whether you have the 'right' one or not right now becomes less important since you will already have it in your mind that you will obtain others at a later time. While it's true you only need one, when it comes to certifications, my attitude has always been: more is always better than one.

I think it's a great idea to want to certify as a personal trainer. I encourage you and others to go ahead without hesitation. In fact, I have a recent article on just this subect, entitled "Why Everyone Should Certify as a Personal Trainer", which may be of interest to you. Of course it's just a silly title to grab attention, but I obviously don't advocate everyone drop their job or career to transition over to the fitness industry.

I won't post it here, since I don't want this to come across as self-promotion (or whatever), but if anyone is interested (and the moderators accept), I'd be happy to post it. I usually write for fitness professionals but I do have a couple of articles intended for fitness enthusiasts.

In any event, go ahead and take the plunge. You have little to lose (except perhaps some money). You may find this is exactly the kind of profession that suits your personality and longer-term goals and desires. At worst, you'll find out if it's not what you expected.

Whatever you decide, good-luck and best wishes to you.

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:19 pm
by Juggers
Scibbles thanks for that deep insight....I will def make a seems so convenient that its at my school....The only other fee I know about is a $25 lab fee...but I will try and find out more.

If anything this will be a good boost into a great career.