Personal Training

How To Become a Personal Trainer in 4 Easy Steps: Everything You Need To Know For How To Become a Successful Personal Trainer

Are you interested in becoming a personal trainer? This guide will take you through everything you need to know, from the basics of what personal training is to getting certified

Carly Moree
March 8, 2022
How To Become a Personal Trainer in 4 Easy Steps: Everything You Need To Know For How To Become a Successful Personal Trainer
Are you interested in becoming a personal trainer? This guide will take you through everything you need to know, from the basics of what personal training is to getting certified

If you’re someone who loves fitness and wants to help others, becoming a certified personal trainer could be a great choice for you. But once you’ve made the decision to pursue your career in this field, you might be wondering what the next steps are to take. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to become a certified personal trainer.

What is a Personal Trainer?

First things first: Before you start down the path of becoming a personal trainer, it helps to understand what exactly the role entails. A personal trainer is a certified individual who competently demonstrates, delivers, and creates effective and safe exercise or workout programs for clients and groups. Personal trainers create a variety of fitness goals for clients, which is a collaborative approach.

As a personal trainer, you will create customized workout programs based on a variety of assessments of the client. The assessments can include core function, posture and movement, flexibility, muscular fitness, balance, body composition, reactivity, cardiorespiratory fitness, speed, and agility.

The benefits of becoming a personal trainer include flexibility with your work schedule, the satisfaction that you are helping others, and building relationships with those in your community. However, just like any job, there are several challenges to this career, which can include periods of time without pay, having difficult clients, getting injured and not being able to work, and difficulty balancing your own schedule.

Photographer: Jonathan Borba | Source: Unsplash

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Personal Trainer?

The best way to become a personal trainer is to get certified by an accredited organization. What exactly is required to become a personal trainer might vary based on the gym or facility you’ll be conducting your work, but for the most part, you’ll need to have a certification from one of the following accredited organizations:

  • ACE (American Council on Exercise)
  • ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine)
  • IFPA (International Fitness Professionals Association)
  • ISSA (International Sports & Sciences Association)
  • NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine)
  • NCSA (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
  • NCSF (National Council on Strength and Fitness)
  • NFPT (National Federation of Professional Trainers)

While there are other organizations available to provide certifications for personal training, the above are some of the most common.

Again, you will need to check with the gym or facility that will be employing you to determine which certifications you need and if there are any additional requirements.

What do you need to become a personal trainer?

As mentioned above, when it comes to what you need to be a personal trainer, the first step is getting your certification. You might also need to become certified in CPR, have an AED certification, and have a high school degree or GED (depending on the requirements of the third party providing your certification). You will also need to re-certify every two years to prevent your certification from expiring.

What degree do you need to become a personal trainer?

You might need your high school degree or GED in order to become a personal trainer. Again, this will depend on the third-party providing your certification course.

Additional Skills Needed To Become a Personal Trainer

Being a successful personal trainer is more than just getting certified. You also need the following skills to help you connect with clients and grow your network:

Passion: To be a personal trainer and constantly push through every challenge, you need to have a lot of passion for what you do. Without passion, you’ll likely experience burnout and become overwhelmed by stress. Your passion becomes your compass, helping you see the bigger picture and enabling you to thrive.

Communication Skills: Having strong communication skills is an absolute must for any personal trainer since you’ll be communicating with a wide variety of clients on a daily basis. It’s important to learn how to explain things clearly enough for each client to understand. This will help them reach their fitness goals in the long run and reduce the risk of injury, so never underestimate the power of good communication skills.

Self-Promotion: As soon as you become a personal trainer, it’s very similar to running your own business. You need to actively promote your services, which ultimately means promoting yourself. It helps to be familiar with social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to fully take advantage of marketing tools and strategy and grow your client list. Additionally, you should consider sending newsletters on a consistent basis in order to stay in touch with clients and prospects.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Personal Trainer?

One of the most common questions is, how long does it take to become a certified personal trainer? It usually only takes up to three months. How quickly you become certified will depend on how long it takes you to learn the information in the exam.

How Much Does It Cost To Become a Personal Trainer?

One important factor relating to the topic of how to become a personal trainer is the cost. This can usually range from less than $500 to more than $1000, depending on location, materials provided, and the organization. When considering the cost, make sure to also find out if the study materials are included or if you would need to purchase those for an additional fee (these can sometimes be an additional several hundred dollars).

Personal Trainer Pro Tip: It could be worth asking your employer if they have a program that covers some of the cost of registering.

How to become a personal trainer for free

If you want to become a certified personal trainer without paying anything, you should ask your employer if they will cover the costs. Be wary of any certification programs that advertise free licensing, as these are often scams or leave you with nothing more than a fake certification.

How Hard Is It To Become a Personal Trainer?

The hardest part of becoming a personal trainer is putting in the time. You’ll need to study for your exam, and chances are you are also working or in school, which can make it challenging to find the time. But with hard work and discipline, it’s completely possible to put in the hours needed to learn the materials and pass the exam. Keep in mind most certification programs give you 3 months to study once you’ve registered for their course.

Photographer: Annie Spratt | Source: UnsplashPhotographer: Annie Spratt | Source: Unsplash

Steps To Becoming a Personal Trainer

Step 1: Do Your Research

Before signing up for the first certification course you see online, take the time to do your research. Not all certification courses are the same - Some of them have different requirements, higher costs, and only offer in-person exams. Important considerations include asking if the exam can be taken online, what the total cost will be to register, to take the exam, and to re-certify (which is often required every two years).

Step 2: Sign Up For a Certified Personal Trainer Course

Once you’ve selected the course that is right for you, it’s time to register! After registering, you’ll need to begin studying for your exam.

Step 3: Take the Exam

You’ve put in several months of studying - Now it’s time to take the exam and get certified. Upon passing the test, you’ll have your personal trainer certification and can begin working with clients.

Step 4: Choose Your Specialty

In other words, find your niche! It’s a good idea to harness your skillset and get more specialized in your offerings. For example, do you want to work as a nutritionist as well? Do you want to offer fitness programs to celebrities? These are all things to consider in helping you identify who your target audience is and exactly which services you want to provide. You will also want to expand your knowledge in these specialties by taking additional courses and maybe getting additional certifications.

Additional Tips For Choosing Your Specialty

As a personal trainer, there are so many options to choose from when it comes to selecting your niche. Below are two of the most common and trendiest specialties, but it’s really up to you to decide what you’re passionate about and who you want to focus on.

How To Become a Celebrity Personal Trainer

If you want to train celebrities, you’ll need to do this one very important thing: Network! Surround yourself with people who know celebrities, go to as many fitness networking events as possible, and join any professional fitness organizations that target celebrities. This can take time, so patience and consistence are key.

How To Become a Personal Trainer and Nutritionist

Becoming a nutritionist is a great way to offer additional services to your clients that involve diet and making healthy food choices. The best way to do this is by getting a nutritionist certification, many of which can be obtained online.

Take Your Certification To The Next Level with Gym Management Software

We built PushPress to rebel against manual paperwork and complicated, overpriced software. A software that is, first and foremost, easy to use, and one that provides 10/10 service in every feature it offers. Our mission is to make gym management
 the easiest part of starting a fitness business.

Let PushPress Gym Management Software do the heavy lifting for you. Our processes and systems bring efficiency and sanity to your business. With more than 500 integrations possible, you can manage every aspect of your gym or fitness studio with one simple system. Growing a business never felt so easy.

Ready to see for yourself how PushPress can transform your gym and personal training offerings?

Get a Free Demo


       if(window.strchfSettings === undefined) window.strchfSettings = {};
   window.strchfSettings.stats = {url: "",title: "How To Become a Personal Trainer in 4 Easy Steps: Everything You Need To Know For How To Become a Successful Personal Trainer",id: "3ed28275-44ff-4a1b-8976-9e0863cb5765"};
           (function(d, s, id) {
     var js, sjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];
     if (d.getElementById(id)) {window.strchf.update(); return;}
     js = d.createElement(s); = id;
     js.src = "";
     js.async = true;
     sjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, sjs);
   }(document, 'script', 'storychief-jssdk'))

Carly Moree

Carly is a guest contributor

The gymOS Podcast

Helping gym owners build better businesses, one episode at a time.
Listen Now

Ready to scale your fitness business?

Try our hassle-free Gym Management Software loved by thousand of successful Gym Owners.
Get started for $0/month
“PushPress is the reason my gym became profitable.”
—Joe M. Gym Owner

Follow along and build a better gym with us

Get actionable strategies and ideas to help you grow your gym and manage it successfully, in your inbox every week!

No Spam. Ever. Unsubscribe anytime.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.