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Fitness Trainer Schools and Training Programs

If a career that helps you stay in peak shape while promoting healthy lifestyle habits sounds right for you, then fitness trainer schools can help you get started. Fitness trainers work in a variety of physical disciplines to help build their clients' strength, flexibility, endurance and overall well-being. Read on for details on how fitness trainer schools can help you join this growing field.

Types of Fitness Trainer Careers

The world of fitness training has expanded over the last few decades, and fitness trainer schools can prepare you to seek jobs such as these:

  • Group exercise instructors typically lead fitness sessions at gyms and workout clubs. These professionals may choreograph exercise sessions to selected music, and they observe students to ensure proper exercise form. Yoga and Pilates instructors, two of the fastest growing fitness trainer careers, fall into this category.
  • Personal trainers work in small groups or one-on-one with clients, sometimes in a fitness center environment, often working independently and visiting clients at home. Personal training usually involves a fairly long-term relationship between clients and the trainer, who tracks and records clients' progress toward their fitness goals.
  • Fitness directors organize and administrate the programs and activities offered at gyms, health clubs and fitness centers. Management duties include hiring and training of fitness staff; coordination of group exercise programs; and purchasing and monitoring the condition of workout equipment.

Some fitness trainer schools also provide courses in athletic training and rehabilitative physical therapy. Nearly all careers in this field involve working directly with clients, either in a group or individual setting, so some customer service skills can be a big plus.

Education and Certification Requirements for Fitness Trainer Careers

Certification is often required for fitness workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), and many training programs are aimed toward certification rather than a formal degree. For example, yoga and Pilates instructors attend training programs with rigorous certification requirements, typically stretching to at least 200 hours of coursework. Other types of fitness trainers may also need specific certifications, depending on their place of employment or specialization. The National Academy of Sports Medicine is one organization that offers a professional physical training certification.

The bls.gov reports that a growing number of employers are seeking fitness workers who are not only certified but also college graduates. Related studies could include exercise science, physical education, kinesiology or kinesthesiology. The Occupational Information Network estimates that about one quarter of practicing fitness trainers and aerobics instructors have earned at least a bachelor's degree.

Employment and Salary Figures for Fitness Trainer Careers

The bls.gov expects opportunities for fitness trainer careers to increase much faster than the national average for all occupations, boasting a projected 29 percent rise in employment between 2008 and 2018, which could result in around 76,800 new positions nationwide. The mean annual wage for fitness trainer careers clocked in at $35,920 in 2010, with the top 10 percent of earners taking home around $63,400. These averages exclude the salaries of coaches, athletic trainers and teachers at fitness trainer schools.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the largest percentage of fitness training careers exist in the amusement and recreation industries, which include country clubs, health spas, resorts, yoga studios, and other destinations for training and relaxation. Hospitals, personal care service providers, and civic and social organizations also employ large numbers of these specialists.

Aspiring fitness trainers can learn more by looking into professional organizations such as those listed below. If a rewarding career helping others sounds like a good fit, fitness trainer schools around the country can help you get moving in the right direction.

Additional Resources for Individuals Seeking a Physical Fitness Degree:
National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Exercise Trainers Association

Campus and Online Fitness Trainer Schools

 
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Platt College

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