How to Become a Personal Trainer: A Beginner’s Guide

If you are passionate about fitness and healthy life this might be a good choice for you to become a personal trainer. Making your passion into a profession and having good health sounds amazing, right?

A personal trainer or a fitness instructor usually works one-on-one with a client to help them lose weight, gain muscles, get stronger, and improve physical performance. Trainers introduce their clients to individualized exercises that are based upon their personal goals and needs.

Following your passion and getting paid for that is simply great. The market of this business is growing every day. The average earning of a personal trainer is $26,000 per year. It could vary from place to place. You should know ins and outs before jumping into this career.

These steps will help you get your personal training career started on the right foot.

Table of Contents

6 Steps to become a personal trainer

Becoming a personal trainer is not a piece of cake. You need sheer determination and have to be focused to achieve your goal.  


Step 1: Get a high school or equivalent certificate

Before getting started you’ll need some items checked off as the majority of national certification bodies requires candidates to have these. These are the basics you need to keep in mind before starting off.

  • You must be 18 years or older
  • High school diploma or equivalent certificate like GED

 Additional courses will help you vastly to grow in this field but a high school diploma or equivalent certificate is the very first step you need to take.


Step 2: Complete some essential certifications

As personal trainers may encounter physical emergencies with clients, you know what they are doing. You should complete Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certification programs which will help you to handle if a client is having medical emergencies.

 AED and CPR certifications are important requirements if you want to become a personal trainer or fitness instructor. These training sessions will help you to recognize clients’ problems and act accordingly. 

Step 3: Choose a specialty

Before jumping on any form of training you need to ask yourself some questions. Do you want to work individually with your clients in the gym? Or would you rather command a group ready to work up a sweat? It is important to decide your career pathway. It will help to achieve your goals efficiently. 


You can do both and get certified in one now and the other later. Once you choose your path, review the various fitness certifying bodies and their fitness certifications. Select the program that makes the most sense to you from your targeting point of view.

Step 4: Invest your time to prepare yourself

Picking up an exam date and preparing yourself accordingly is the very first major step towards seeing your personal trainer dream through. Make a study plan and stick to it. Study every day and be confident so when the test day comes, you will be relaxed and know the material very well.

I can suggest a study plan which can help you.

  • Read at least 2 hours per day
  • Always create your own chapter by chapter notes. It helps a lot.
  • Test yourself with practice tests for each chapter
  • Don’t be shy to study outside the course materials but you have to finish the course lectures first.
  • Read the study guides carefully every time before going to the new concept
  • Document the questions you miss and then study again
  • Always push your limits

Now take the test and get your desired certificate. You are very close to achieving your goal.

Step 5: Apply for your dream job

The ultimate goal starts from here. Once you’ve passed your test and achieved your certificates you are now qualified for positions in a variety of fitness settings. You can start gaining experience by working at your local gym.

You can also work for a corporation or work as an independent personal training constructor. There are benefits of both choices. When you join a gym workforce, it will have an on-boarding and client-accumulation process. On the other hand, if you choose to work for yourself the journey would be a bit arduous but the profit will be more.

So, the decision is yours. You can start off as a trainer of a gym or related corporation and slowly start as your own.

Step 6: Practice what you preach


As you are pursuing a career in the fitness industry, it’s important to be fit. You have to be physically fit and psychologically strong.

You might experience personal injury if you are not careful as you have to often have to do exercises alongside your client. So, it’s essential to be active and keep your body fit.

You also have to be psychologically strong as often you have to motivate your client to push more. Believing in yourself would help you to make your clients believe in themselves. Also scheduled rest and proper nutrition is very important.

Related: The Benefits of Online Learning

The advantage and disadvantage of Personal Training

If you are a fitness enthusiast, it is a great career choice for you but it’s also important for you to look at every angle before taking the plunge.

Advantages of being a personal trainer

 Some of the best features about personal training are:

1. Flexible hour

You would be able to set your own schedule for which hours and days you want to work. This would give you enough time to do your other works and enjoy with your friends and family. You may be able to set your fees if you work for yourself.


2. Rewarding

There’s nothing compared to when you see your clients’ happiness when they can finally see the changes in their body. Also, it’s a great financially rewarding career choice.



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3. Growth and variety

There is room for growth and variety. Personal trainer can often be a jump-off point for other things like being a fitness instructor, a health writer, or going further in your education and growing as a personal trainer.

4. Building great relationships

As you have to work with different people you get a chance to build professional relationships with your clients. As you help them they might be loyal to help you too.

Disadvantages of being a personal trainer

If you make your mind to become a personal trainer, you should also be prepared for these challenges:

1. Rescheduling and peak hours 

Sometimes clients may need to cancel or reschedule without any notice which could be a problem as it will increase your workloads. Most clients will want to train either before or after work, so your busy hours will often be very early or late at night. So, if you can manage your time properly it won’t be a big deal for you.

2. Fluctuation of payment

Personal trainers can make anywhere from $15 per hour to more than $100 per hour, depending on where you live and work skills. Also, cancellations happen all the time in personal training. One day you may have a full schedule and the next, no one to work with—which means there is less payment.

3. Risk of burnout  


You may have to work a lot and you need to have a lot of energy, both physically and mentally. So, it’s easy to get burned out.

Fitness Instructor/ Personal Trainer Diploma
Accredited CERTIFICATE available, 24/7 customer support, Track progress within own personal portal
Fitness Instructor/ Personal Trainer Diploma
Accredited CERTIFICATE available, 24/7 customer support, Track progress within own personal portal

Closing Note

With the need growing due to the rise of sedentary lifestyles and obesity, personal trainers have many job opportunities. The world needs enthusiastic, good, professional trainers to make people healthy and fit. Take the time to learn what’s needed in becoming a personal trainer and make the world happy.   

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