What Is Required to Be a Physical Trainer?

by Bronwyn Timmons

Physical trainers, also known as personal trainers, are fitness professionals who help clients improve or maintain their fitness. They create exercise routines to help clients meet their goals, observe clients' workouts and track their improvements over time. They may also help clients develop nutritional plans and make changes to their current lifestyles. The requirements to become a physical trainer vary, but most complete some kind of education program and earn certification.


There are no set education requirements for physical trainers, but many choose to pursue some type of formal education. Aspiring trainers may attend a specialized training program for personal trainers or earn a degree in exercise science, nutrition, kinesiology, physical education or a related field. A bachelor's degree in any of these areas will qualify a personal trainer for employment in most gyms. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a master's degree may be required to advance to the level of manager in some establishments.


Before a personal trainer is allowed to work with clients on his own, he will usually train under the supervision of an experienced trainer. He will observe the other trainer interacting with clients and learn how to properly demonstrate exercises, and spot clients as they do them. Eventually, he will swap roles with the experienced trainer and will take over these duties, before finally being allowed to work with clients without supervision.


Most gyms require physical trainers to be certified. Certification demonstrates a trainer's knowledge of proper workout techniques, client counseling and client safety. Additionally, certification enables a trainer to stand out as a professional in the field. Several different agencies and organizations offer certification for personal trainers, including the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. While certification requirements vary, earning certification generally involves passing a written test and a practical exam. Additionally, some gyms may require trainers to be certified in CPR and first aid so they can provide clients with emergency assistance in the event of any such incident.

Skills and Traits

Personal trainers will have a difficult time helping others get into shape if they are not in shape themselves. Aspiring trainers should have good physical strength, flexibility and agility in order to best demonstrate workouts for their clients. Customer service skills are necessary for helping trainers fully satisfy their clients' needs. Many people struggle with working out, so trainers should have excellent motivational skills to keep their clients working hard and focused on their goals.

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