Personal training is a rewarding career choice for those with a passion for helping people change their lives through fitness. 

But, with any job, security is one of the main concerns for someone looking to get into this field or completely change their career. 

In today’s article, we’ll take an in-depth look into the field of personal training, explaining: 

  • What personal trainers do day-to-day
  • The expected job growth for personal trainers
  • What you can expect to make in the field
  • Where personal trainers can find work

Be sure to read the entire article to ensure you’re getting all the information you need to be a personal trainer! 

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What Personal Trainers Do on a Daily Basis

Personal trainers have a unique day-to-day schedule. Once they pick the best personal training certification, get certified and start actually training clients, their hours are usually outside of the normal work hours.

Often, a personal trainer’s day will start early, with some trainers’ first session as early as 4 am. 

You can have anywhere from 4-6 sessions in the morning, having your first break around 11 am or 12 pm. 

From here, you might not see another client until 3 pm or 4 pm, depending on when your clients can get out of work. 

So, from 12 pm to 3 pm, you have a nice break where you can get some lunch or your own workout. 

Many trainers take this time to do administrative tasks such as writing exercise programs, client scheduling, and marketing. 

After this, you’ll have your evening clients, which you may train until 8 pm or 9 pm. 

For some, this seems like an extremely long day, which it is, but after a few months to years, you will begin to have more control over your schedule. 

As a certified personal trainer, you will have to go off of your client’s schedules as they have lives and families of their own. 

This does make for a challenging schedule, but that’s part of the basic personal trainer job description.

At the beginning of your career, it’s vital to train as many people as possible to have a quality referral system and experience in changing lives. 

Don’t be deterred by a schedule that has you up at 4 am. Not everyone you meet will want to train that early in the morning. 

You may find that you can maintain a positive quality of life by training a few sessions in the mornings and evenings. It’s all going to depend on how many sessions you can schedule and what time slots your clients want to train in. 

If you’re wondering how long does it take to become a personal trainer, the answer is, “it depends.” Just like there is no set schedule as a trainer, it all depends on your go-getter-ness, there is no set amount of time to pass a certification, although for most people it will take one to three months.

Job Growth for Personal Trainers

If you want to make money as a personal trainer, now is a great time. Personal training is a booming industry, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a 39% increase in employment growth from 2020-2030. 

Not only is 39% a super high number for any job, but the average growth for that time frame is only 8%!

Close to 69,000 fitness trainer positions open every year as health clubs and fitness centers strive to provide their members with great services.

The average job outlook is quite promising when it comes to becoming a personal trainer.

Personal Trainer Salary

Personal trainer salary will vary based on location. 

Trainers can make more money in cities like New York, Miami, and Los Angeles because their populations generally have more income and are willing to pay for a premium service. 

This doesn’t mean that personal trainers can’t make a living in smaller cities and towns. 

The average yearly earnings for personal trainers is $40,700 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

In some smaller areas this is a great income, especially if you have a significant other with a second income. 

In bigger cities, personal trainers are making 6-figures, but in more cases that comes from working a lot of hours per week. 

Because your time is money you’ll still have to work to make a comfortable living. 

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Personal Training Work Options

Where do PTs work (gyms, home studio, online, etc)

Personal trainers work for local gyms, private fitness facilities, or for themselves. 

That can mean either you work for a gym that gives you a paycheck for your training hours or you go out on your own and do private sessions at a park, home gym, or a place that you rent where you train clients and those clients pay you directly.

Personal trainers also often do online coaching or training sessions or create and sell fitness programs or systems through their websites.

If you become an online personal trainer you can make a lot of money because your market is larger–it’s the whole world.

Fitness Industry Career Opportunities

There are some great other adjacent careers available for budding personal trainers. 

You may find you like specifically training group exercise classes and become a group exercise instructor. You can get an additional group fitness certifications from organizations or in some cases, a NCCA personal training certification is enough to also lead classes. 

Other trainers find that they are also interested in the nutritional side of fitness and health and pick up a nutrition certification as well. 

This can be a great opportunity to complement your skills as a fitness coach because you can help clients with the two main ingredients when it comes to overall health: exercise and a proper diet.

Some trainers will add in one of the best yoga certifications or best pilates certifications if they want to bring in other types of clientele.

You may also decide to specialize in corrective exercises (CES), which adds further exercise science tools to your fitness belt and often some of the best physical therapists around started off as fitness trainers.
If you like working with athletes you can one of the strength and conditioning certifications (S&C) and work your way as a fitness professional coaching high school, college, or a higher level of athletics where the strength and conditioning salary is much higher. If you choose the NSCA-CSCS, incorporating a quality CSCS study guide and a CSCS practice test could be essential for passing, because the test is quite challenging.

Sports nutrition is also a higher paying field, and there are a few sports nutrition certifications out there that could give you an edge in that department.

When you get your initial CPT cert, make sure to choose wisely. Each of the fitness certifications are known for slightly different areas of knowledge.

A NASM review will explain how NASM is great for corrective movements. If you compare NASM vs ISSA, an ISSA review will cover how the organization has a lot of good online trainer resources and business tools comparatively. The NASM pass rate is a bit harder at around 60% pass rate, so pick up a NASM study guide and NASM test questions for best results in that test.

If you look at NASM vs ACE you’ll see that ACE is really comprehensive when it comes to exercise psychology and motivation cues. Make sure to get a good ACE study guide and ACE practice exam prior to taking that test so you don’t have to re-take and pay extra fees.

For those interested in exercise science careers, ACSM may be a good option and it’s also one of the cheapest personal training certifications if you look at ACSM vs ACE or NASM.

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FAQs


What qualifications do you need for a personal trainer?

To be a personal trainer at minimum you need an accredited certification from a certifying body and a current CPR/AED certification.

How much should a personal trainer charge?

The hourly rate for a personal trainer will depend on the market they are in and their experience. A gym will specify the cost of personal training sessions, which range from $30/hour to $150/hour. If you are privately training clients you have to decide the number you feel is right.    

Which personal training certification is the easiest to get?

The ISSA online open book exam is recognized as the least challenging personal trainer certification program with a 90% passing rate. Most of the other certification organizations are on par with each other at around a 65-75% first-time pass rate.

How many hours do personal trainers work?

Personal trainers can work upwards of 12-hour days, starting early in the morning and finishing later in the evening than most professions. You can also have days where you don’t work that much if you don’t have any clients booked. It depends on how serious you want to take the job. Some trainers work a few hours, some work constantly. 

Is the fitness industry growing?

The fitness industry is growing at a faster rate than most professions according to the Bureau of Labor statistics: at a rate of 39%. There will be plenty of fitness trainer jobs in the future. 

How long does it take to become a fitness trainer?

Becoming a certified fitness trainer can take as little as a few months up to several years. Because most certifications are self-paced there isn’t a deadline to take your exam, so, much like everything in the fitness field. It’s up to your time commitment and motivation to get certified. 

How do personal trainers get clients?

At a fitness center people looking for training sessions are connected with personal fitness trainers on staff. Personal trainers at the gym will either be given clients from that pool or a list of possible people to contact who might be interested in a training program. In a private setting personal trainers might get clients through referrals or through advertising.

How much can you earn as a personal trainer?

The average certified personal trainer in the US makes between $42,000 and $72,000, but this is entirely dependent on how much you put into it. If you really work hard and intelligently you could earn more. 

Is online fitness coaching worth it?

If you are willing to put in the time it takes to train or coach online and you like working from home, it is well worth it. You will have to learn how to market yourself appropriately in the online space, but once you do, the dividends are great. 

Are personal trainers happy?

While many jobs require someone to sit all day in front of a desk on a computer, personal training is not one of them. You’re up and moving the whole day, and you spend that time helping people achieve their fitness goals, which is incredibly satisfying. It’s also fun to build long-lasting relationships with clients who will value your skillset.

What are the disadvantages of being a personal trainer?

It’s exhausting being a trainer, your schedule is packed at strange hours, because you’re training people when they’re not working. You get to exercise at the gym for free, but once you spend all your time there it’s the last place you want to be when you have free time, which can take some of the fun out of fitness. 

Is it worth becoming a personal trainer in 2022?

If you are excited about becoming a trainer, it’s definitely worth it. 

Does personal training have a future?

People will always need to take care of their health and their fitness and the number of people recognizing that grows every year. As long as people have the income to be able to afford it, personal training is never going away.

Is it difficult to find a fitness trainer job?

If you are able to pass your certification exam from an accredited institution, and have the skills to be a good trainer it is not difficult to find a gym to start out training in. Check job postings online and often you can go into gyms and see if they are hiring new staff. 

Is there a demand for online personal trainers?

There is a huge demand for online personal trainers, but there is also a giant group of online trainers out there and you have to make sure you know how to differentiate yourself if you go that route. 

Conclusion

Personal training can be a fantastic career choice provided you have the energy and enthusiasm for fitness as well as a determined work ethic. 

The future job outlook is good with the employment of fitness trainers growing every year as the wellness sector climbs. People are recognizing how important it is to take care of your own wellness and you get to be part of that. Also, if you decide personal training isn’t for you, there are other industry opportunities available to you once you get your personal training certification. 

It’s definitely worth a shot!

References

  1. Conn VS, Hafdahl AR, Cooper PS, Brown LM, Lusk SL. Meta-Analysis of Workplace Physical Activity Interventions. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2009;37(4):330-339. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2009.06.008
  2. Ramos LR, Esteves D, Vieira I, Franco S, Simões V. Job Satisfaction of Fitness Professionals in Portugal: A Comparative Study of Gender, Age, Professional Experience, Professional Title, and Educational Qualifications. Frontiers in Psychology. 2021;11. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.621526
  3. ‌Hiesinger K, Tophoven S. Job requirement level, work demands, and health: a prospective study among older workers. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health. 2019;92(8):1139-1149. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-019-01451-2

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