What Degree Do U Need To Be A Personal Trainer


Personal trainers help people reach their health and fitness goals. There are many different paths into a career as a personal trainer. Depending on what kind of work you want to do and how long you’re willing to dedicate to study, you may need anything from a high school diploma or GED all the way up to a master’s degree in Exercise Science or Kinesiology. At the very least, you should complete a certification program and obtain basic first aid and CPR certifications.

One popular route for those interested in becoming personal trainers is professional-level certification from a nationally recognized accrediting body like ACE (American Council on Exercise). These programs typically require at minimum of two years of college, although some may accept an associate’s degree in lieu of this experience. After completion of the coursework, participants take an exam that covers topics like nutrition, anatomy, physiology, exercise science, program design and more and must pass with a score of 80% or higher to receive certification.

By completing one of these comprehensive programs, aspiring personal trainers gain the necessary knowledge and skills required to offer clients wide-ranging services including resistance training, aerobic conditioning, nutrition guidance, injury prevention and specialty disciplines like yoga or Pilates instruction. They also learn legal guidelines relevant when working with paying clients — guidelines set forth by professional organizations associated with each field they might specialize in.

In some cases it might make sense for aspiring personal trainers to pursue higher level degrees like an undergraduate or graduate program in Exercise Science or Kinesiology if they plan to work in research-backed clinical wellness settings such as physical therapy offices or corporate wellness centers where advanced education is generally preferred. With certain schools now offering online fitness degrees for those unable to attend classes in person due to scheduling conflicts or location restrictions than ever before it is more accessible than ever for motivated individuals planning a career as a personal trainer to get properly educated.

Educational Requirements

In order to become a successful personal trainer, you will need a broad range of knowledge as well as excellent skills and abilities. The primary way to acquire these essential qualities is through higher education. Although specific certification requirements may vary depending on the state in which you hope to work, achieving some form of degree or other certification is usually paramount to becoming a successful personal trainer.

A college education can be tailored precisely to one’s desires, whether those desires be related directly to fitness and health or simply revolve around broader professional interests. A relevant undergraduate program could include such areas of study as exercise science, kinesiology, sports management or physical therapy, but any and all degrees that highlight acquired leadership skills related to relationship management, group dynamics and effective communication may also prove essential. Additionally, many states require prospective trainers to complete additional certifications issued by approved organizations within the health and fitness industry such as the American Red Cross CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer Certification or an ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) Health Professionals Certification Program prior to beginning employment instructions. Therefore, it’s important for all interested candidates wishing to pursue a career in personal training that they remain up-to-date on applicable requirements before applying for positions.

Types of Certifications and Credentials

The most popular route to becoming a certified personal trainer is usually the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredited certification, like the: National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), or American Council on Exercise (ACE). All of these certifications have different levels and programs. The BASI Pilates Certification, AFAA Primary Group Exercise Instructor Certification, TRX Personal Training Program are all examples of specialized professional certificates.

In addition to a certification, many employers look for diverse credentials that might include educational honors such as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in exercise science or related fields such as kinesiology. Such degree-granting program can offer education in anatomy and physiology, exercise evaluation and prescription techniques, nutrition fundamentals, physical fitness programming, business strategies for trainers along with opportunities to gain practical experience.

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Certifications will provide personalized information on how potential employers view their education in certain areas through exam questionnaires as well as specific knowledge necessary for success as a personal trainer. Specialized certifications give trainers more tools in order to work with clients of all ages, backgrounds, athletes and those recovering from an injury or chronic illness. Whilst these certificates may be beneficial they should not be considered necessary if you want to practice personal training without such qualifications there are usually other ways to prove fitness knowledge such as completing an online course or trying internships under trained professionals or simply build up a portfolio of fitness tips that you have picked up yourself throughout your own time spent at the gym/working out!

Licensing Requirements

In order to become a certified personal trainer, one typically needs to meet the standards set by their state or local licensing board. Depending on where you live and how long you’ve been practicing, this can vary greatly. Generally speaking, most states require certification from either the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) or the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Other certifications such as NASM, AFAA, and ACSM may also be accepted. To be eligible for these certifications, applicants must usually prove they have completed a college degree in health-related fields and/or possess current CPR/AED certs. Once the required education is completed and certifications obtained, trainers can apply to take an exam where they will demonstrate their competency in areas such as nutrition and exercise physiology. Depending on state laws some trainers may be required to attend official workshops to learn about topics such as liability insurance for professionals within the fitness industry. Finally, upon successfully completing all of the necessary requirements trainers should apply with their state’s regulatory agency for an official license before beginning work as a personal trainer.

Academic Paths to Consider

When studying to become a personal trainer, there are different routes one can take depending on the level of expertise desired. Some aspiring personal trainers may opt for certificates or short-term courses offered through community colleges, gyms, and even online programs. These certifications provide the individual with an entry point into the health and fitness industry, however, they do not lead to the same level of accreditation when compared to a Baccalaureate Degree in Exercise Science or Health & Fitness Management.

Pursuing a Baccalaureate Degree will give individuals who wish to specialize as a personal trainer access to more complex knowledge on topics such as anatomy, kinesiology and injury prevention. Course work within these degree programs often cover a variety of other academic areas focusing on health education and promotion, physical activity behavior change and nutrition counseling. Additionally, most exercise science-based degree programs usually provide students with more opportunities to participate in hands-on experience such as internships within clinical forums and laboratory settings.

When deciding which academic path is best for one’s educational goals it is important to consider what type of career is desired long term. Many of the certifications available in this field are limited in scope in that students will only gain knowledge pertaining directly to what is listed within their program details; therefore honing your specific skillset may be limiting if looking for career growth or advancement outside of the basics associated with being a successful personal trainer. A Baccalaureate Degree in Exercise Science or Health & Fitness Management provides prospective personal trainers with additional knowledge about how their career could develop beyond offering advice on nutrition disciplines or maintaining general fitness goals for clients.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

To be a successful personal trainer, staying current in the industry is essential. Participating in various kinds of professional development events and continuing education courses can help personal trainers stay up to date on industry trends and practices. Continuing education could include attending seminars or workshops, completing an accredited fitness program or enrolling in a course affiliated with an official fitness organization such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Accreditation for these courses often come from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) – the authority that sets standards for many gym-related certifications. Continuing education makes it possible for personal trainers to enhance current knowledge and acquire new skills, setting them apart from competitors. Professional development might also involve learning more about nutrition science, increasing expertise in behavior change principles or learning movement assessment techniques related to corrective exercises. New technologies also constantly enter the worker market – this includes virtual fitness programs, advanced tracking and analytics platforms, among others. Investing some time in researching potential applications can give fitness experts great insight into how these technologies might be harnessed to better engage clients and enhance outcomes.

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Other Considerations

In order to become a personal trainer, it is important to obtain the necessary degree or certification. Most people typically gain a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, physical education, kinesiology, or related fields. This type of education provides the basic foundation needed for working with clients as a personal trainer. It can also provide a solid basis for working as an instructor in sports medicine, as well as many other areas.

Beyond the educational requirement, there are additional considerations when pursuing work as a personal trainer. Before taking on any clients, job seekers should review their business practices and determine how they will manage billing and scheduling appointments with clients. They should consider getting liability insurance to protect themselves and their clients in case of unfortunate accidents or injuries that may occur during training sessions. Additionally, personal trainers should create an effective marketing plan in order to attract new clients and make sure that their current client base remains retained. Furthermore, personal trainers should stay up-to-date with the latest health and fitness trends by attending conferences and continuing education courses related to their profession these activities help trainers ensure that have knowledge of all the fundamental principles required for providing exceptional services to their clients. Finally, ethics play an important role in the fitness industry; professional etiquette regarding client communication and service delivery must be maintained at all times so that clients remain confident in choosing one’s services over those of another trainer.


To become a professional personal trainer, you must have certain qualifications to demonstrate your proficiency in the field. The most common route for trainers is to acquire an accredited certification by an organization such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), or National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). With one of these certifications, aspiring trainers can hone their craft, build experience in their practice, and show employers they are skilled professionals.

Depending on how involved an individual is in their own training business, a higher degree may also be pursued. Bachelor’s or master’s degrees in Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, or a related field could help further increase your credibility within the fitness industry. These degrees often provide additional career paths such as strength and conditioning coaches or health coaches in addition to training clients as a personal trainer. Degrees also allow you to become more specialist in certain areas such as biomechanics or functional exercise which can open up more opportunities and chances for advancement within the fitness industry. Finally, licensing requirements vary across states so aspiring trainers should read up on what guidelines their state has before beginning any type of business endeavor.

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