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Guide to Personal Trainer Certification Programs Online

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi•updated: 5/8/2010

If you are looking for personal trainer certification programs online, remember that there is more than online certification to become a personal trainer to the stars. Read on for some startling information you must have to stay competitive in this growing industry.

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    Working with the Stars: Online Personal Trainer Certification Programs

    There are copious venues that prepare those wanting to become a personal trainer for entry into the fitness industry. The National Federation of Professional Trainers offers a non-accredited distance learning course that culminates in a personal trainer certificate online. The U.S. Career Institute offers a similar certification, but the online school is indeed accredited and the coursework is broader, allowing students to work as personal trainers, fitness trainers, and also nutritional specialists.

    This kind of personal trainer online program helps the graduate to find employment in various areas of the fitness industry, not just as a one on one personal trainer. Historically, training such as this was sufficient for professionals intending to learn how to become a personal trainer to the stars. Looking forward, however, it may not be enough.

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    Occupational Outlook for a Personal Trainer

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics(1) (BLS) has compiled meticulous industry figures when it comes to the fitness industry in general and the work of personal trainers in particular. While it is evident that the fitness industry is expected to have a growth that surpasses other industries, this change also has an impact on the quality of education that personal trainers and other fitness professionals must seek out.

    While the BLS points out that part time work in health clubs, gyms, and private fitness facilities will skyrocket, its also reveals that the pay scales are decidedly disparate. For example, a trainer at the top portion of the scale might expect to earn as much as $56,750, while a trainer employed by a civic organization may only make about $22,630.

    Entrepreneurs working as the proverbial personal trainer to the stars do not factor into this equation, since the BLS only tracks salaried or hourly employees. That being said, the fact that more part time positions are expected to be found in this industry, makes it plausible that a good many workers will work in part as an entrepreneur contracting privately with clients and clubs, and in part as an employee.

    Students trying to work out how to become a personal trainer against the backdrop of these fitness industry changes must look to a personal trainer online program that is on the cutting edge of these developments and in keeping with the changing educational requirements of major fitness industry employers.

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    Finding the Perfect Personal Trainer Online Program

    Three emerging trends that are currently setting a new standard in the fitness industry as outlined by the BLS are:

    • Certification for personal trainers
    • Specialized additional certifications, such as in Yoga, Pilates, and other programs
    • Bachelor degree in health, fitness, physical education, or related fields

    While in the past a basic personal trainer certification was sufficient, those candidates on the cutting edge of fitness industry standards now present themselves with a certification in addition to a bachelor’s degree, as well as certifications in ancillary disciplines. This greatly enhances not only the employability of the candidate, but also the opportunities of advancement.

    In addition to working as personal trainers, these highly skilled and certified individuals also begin working on the administrative side of personal training, namely the hiring and training of additional trainers, and this may – eventually – lead to fitness gym franchise ownership itself.

    Examples of applicable bachelor degrees -- that may be incorporated into a personal trainer online program consisting of a degree and certifications – are an online bachelor of science in health administration (such as it is offered by the University of Phoenix), or an online bachelor of science in health and wellness (as it is offered by Kaplan University).

    Adding to this kind of degree a personal trainer certificate, and also a certificate in Yoga, Pilates and other disciplines is sure to make a student a much sought after personal trainer to the stars and fitness industry worker on the upper end of the pay scale. This is underscored by Bright Hub’s own Angela Atkinson. In her article entitled “Fitness Advice for Women from an Expert Personal Trainer," she highlights a fitness expert and personal trainer, who is also a franchise owner.

    It is noteworthy that this expert is not only a professional personal trainer, but also received training in performance nutrition, proving the point of the industry trend demanding more than a single track education or certification. Make an educated decision when picking one of the online personal trainer certification programs!

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