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Personal Training Career Paths

The diverse applications of exercise allow personal trainers to seek employment in various and sometimes unique work settings. Although the majority of the over 250,000 personal trainers work in traditional fitness settings like public and private fitness centers, more and more certified personal trainers are reaching out to special populations including schools, adult centers, and corporate wellness programs.

Exercise has the ability to transcend physical parameters to also affect other components of wellness including mental and emotional health. This fact has expanded the role of the personal trainer to include emphasis in preventative medicine beyond the basic health-related components of fitness. Preventing disease and health problems is now the defining role of the personal trainer. Colleges and Universities have recognized this developing notion and are creating exercise science degree specializations in disease prevention, functional-based training, and corporate wellness programs.

Corporations are hiring wellness professionals to help reduce absenteeism and increase productivity by developing healthy workers. Hospital-based fitness centers focus services aimed at reducing the risk of high cost diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and stroke while managed care facilities are hiring competent trainers to improve the quality of life in the aging population. The commonality among the hiring criteria is the NCCA accredited Certified Personal Trainer Credential (NCSF-CPT). NCSF professionals deliver tangible improvements in physical fitness and overall health to the people they serve and represent valuable contributors to the community on many levels.

Administrative roles in the fitness industry very often require an accredited certification along with a degree(s) and experience. In some cases, at least two years of management experience and an NCCA accredited personal trainer certification are necessary for career entry. In other cases, a bachelor’s degree, graduate degree preferred, is listed as the competency requirement for administrative jobs.

The department of labor lists the following jobs as common career paths within the fitness industry.

  • General Manager
  • Assistant Manager
  • Fitness Director (Regional, District, Local)
  • Program Director
  • Personal Trainer Manager
  • Wellness Director (Universities and Hospitals)