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Guide to Online Personal Trainer Certification Classes

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 8/18/2010

Would you love to earn a personal trainer certification, but have no idea where to start? Do you believe that your busy life makes career training impossible? Think again! With the help of online personal trainer certification classes, this career training is just a mouse click away.

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    Working as a Personal Trainer

    Bright Hub’s own Jennifer G. outlined how to find a personal trainer. In her article entitled “Finding a Personal Trainer," she explains that the ideal professional is adept at creating a personalized workout program, while at the same time providing the emotional and motivational support to keep the client going strong.

    It is obvious that this kind of profession requires highly specialized training. With the help of distance learning courses, interested candidates have the opportunity to attend online personal trainer certification classes. The coursework involved makes it possible for the candidate to learn the nuts and bolts of working as a personal trainer. 

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    The Job Market

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics(1) (BLS) explains that a personal trainer is considered a fitness worker, who helps individual clients attain their fitness goals in a one on one setting. S/he is instrumental in assessing the client’s overall health and fitness goals, preparing and demonstrating appropriate exercises, and also charting the client’s progress. Venues of employability include gyms, health clubs, yoga studios, and holistic therapy centers.

    The figures bear out that the need for skilled personal trainers with proper certification is expected to rise faster than the needs for other professions. The BLS foresees a 27% increase in this profession in the next decade, making it a highly popular field to get into. Earnings are quite generous as well. Although the median income is only charted to be about $25,910, it is noteworthy that the top 10% working in the fitness trainer industry make as much as $56,750 or more.

    Remember also that a good many online personal trainer certification holders also work independently as contractors. As such, they do not fall under the auspices of the BLS tracked employment figures, but they still work as personal trainers for a number of private clients and also health clubs. These entrepreneurs may earn in excess of the median fitness worker income, depending on the contracts they negotiate.

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    Details & Classes

    As students are searching for the right program for their online personal trainer certification, two considerations must weigh equally heavy:

    • Accreditation/Certification
    • Coursework

    Generally speaking, a nationally or regionally accredited school is almost always superior to one that holds a specialty certification by a governing body that is not recognized as a bona fide accrediting entity by the Department of Education. The one possible exemption from this common sense truth is the unavailability of an online course that meets the course requirements the student has.

    For example, the U.S. Career Institute – duly nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) – offers an online personal trainer certification as part of the fitness trainer and nutritional specialist school. The online personal trainer certification may be earned in as little as four months, and the coursework includes classes in exercise physiology, psychology, nutrition, anatomy, ethics, and injury prevention.

    On the flipside, the National Federation of Professional Trainers offers an online personal trainer certification that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, which is not recognized as an accreditation association by the Department of Education. Nevertheless, the course is eligible for GI Bill funding and also financial aid.

    This online personal trainer certification course is aimed at the aspiring fitness worker who already some hands on knowledge and experience in the fitness industry, and needs to have the theoretical education to complement current skills. As such the course encompasses exercise science, various exercise design scenarios and general nutritional and fitness awareness training.

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    Looking Forward:

    The BLS reveals that at this stage, online personal trainer certification classes are indeed sufficient to find gainful employment in the fitness industry. That being said, the organization also cautions that supplemental certifications and also degrees are becoming the norm, and future competitiveness relies heavily on a personal trainer’s willingness to stay on the cutting edge of education and training trends in this industry.

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