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Do I need a college degree to be a personal trainer?

by Meghan Kanz
(Tacoma, WA)

I am interested in becoming a personal trainer but I am confused about what is required. I was reading your website, and I got the impression that you don't need to go to college to get certified. Is this true?

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College degrees are not required to be a personal trainer
by: Katie - Admin

College degrees are not necessary to become a personal trainer. Most trainers don't have them. If you are going to get a degree, get one in exercise science. If you bypass the degree, make sure you choose a reputable certification program and you really study your anatomy.

Your value as a personal trainer is what you know, so plan on spending a few years of self-study to make you an expert in your career field.

It is a lot of work, but it is so much nicer training clients based on knowledge rather than ignorance. You should also check out the many personal training schools that offer six month diploma programs. A weekend workshop is not enough education, a four year college degree is too much education, but a six month personal training diploma is just right.

- Katie

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in a word
by: Anonymous

yes it is true. many gyms just need someone to step in and do the job. you can "shadow" someone at the gym while trying to obtain certification or even after obtaining it. Once you learn the ropes you'll be on your way, but, remember never stop learning

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Personal Trainer Question
by: Carlie

If I wanted to be a personal trainer would a college degree help me at all? And if it did what school would be best to help me earn the larger salary?

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A four year degree is too much education?
by: Anonymous

A four year degree is too much education? I have a masters degree in exercise physiology and I am still learning. There is a lot to know about the human body and to think that somebody with a weekend or six month certification can train people is just downright scary. Many people who hire personal trainers get hurt b/c their trainers lack the necessary anatomic, physiologic, and biomechanic knowledge. I don't care what they claim to be experts in, if they don't have a degree in the field then they aren't that knowledgeable or worth your money. Think about this....Would you work with a physical therapist who didn't have a degree? Because it is the same thing. The only difference is that one deals with injuries and the other with preventative medicine.

Good luck everyone! And be careful!

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college edcation
by: sue

I totally agree with the last poster who has a masters degree in exercise science. There is no way a six month course can prepare a person to help or guide others with out risking injury. Their know is jut way too limited. The field requires functional anatomy and bio mechanics and much more, that personal training courses are not including at this point. The field of Personal trainer should be held to the standard of a college degree. This is my experience, afters years of training, injuries and injury recovery.

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NO
by: Anonymous

I think that if you are already healthy know how to take care of yourself..you will be able to help others get where they want to be.So you won't need a degree.

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YES!
by: Anonymous

You absolutely need to educate yourself more than just knowing to take care of your body. I am against the pervious comment who said NO to education. Probably the person have been healthy all their life and haven't had problems so his/hers case is different than somebody's else who is example obese or is older or has a previous injury. So by having a degree, knowledge of anatmoy, biomechanics, physiology, resistance training and constant continuing education you will learn how to tailor the workouts better than just knowing how to take care of your own body and applying the same principles to everyone. Something that has worked for you might now work for somebody else. EDUCATION and a degree will totally help. An AA degree of fitness professional or exercise science is the best. I own a PT certification and a masters degree in Exercise Science and it has really helped me with the BASE and understand thing better. Then, you are on your own to consatntly educating yourself!!!!

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Need Help
by: Jon

Hey guys, I have been recently toying around with the idea of becoming a personal trainer down here in Missouri. I am a regular gym rat and have been doing so for the past 3 years. I am not under any illusions that a weekend or quick online course can get me prepared to instruct individuals without concern for myself or any client. I am more than willing to receive the appropriate degree or accreditation and to take the time to do it right, however I am unsure where to go or what I need to receive the credentials and training needed. I have heard conflicting arguments everywhere. If you guys could help me out and give me some advice as to what is needed to be successful in this career, I would appreciate it.

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Personal Choice
by: Anonymous

its up to you whether you choose to further your education after becoming a certified personal trainer. I am currently training to become a personal trainer but even when im certified im going to go to college and study hard for a few years so i can become the best, but alot of training is just trial and error and no matter what education you have sometimes you are not going to know straight away how someones body works, you need to experiment. so do the person above with the masters, dont think your better than every trainer out there that doesnt have a masters.

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Where do I start
by: Anonymous

I have already finished my associates degree from an online course. I want to go back to the local college and work from the begining to get all my sciences I will need. My problem is there is no courses for exercise science of any form. Only general sciences. What should I take?

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degree vs none
by: Anonymous

To say you wouldn't need a degree to become a knowledgable trainer is crazy. I myself went through an interview process where I jumped five trainers who didn't have a degree. Businesses hire trainers with degrees over ones without for many reasons. Low risk, better client retention, and on the spot knowledge knowing progressions/regressions, etc. I myself know exactly what is taking place during a exercise movement or workout like the, physiology, metabolic reactions, biomechanics, and most important the psychology of the exerciser. I'd hire a recent college grad trainer over a seasoned trainer without a degree everytime. No degree = risky business.

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Silly master's degree, get a life.
by: Anonymous

Let's get real, you can give somebody the most scientifically advanced workout plan but if they aren't having fun, you might as well say your goodbyes. Conversely, if you are a comedian and a joy to be around, you'll keep getting clients....untill you hurt them. To go to one extreme or the other is absolutely nonsensical. The middle ground it perfectly acceptable, a decent certification with continued daily education on exercise would be just fine. Mix in a decent amount of fun and you'll be one of the most popular trainers around. All the college degree individuals are extremely valuable to everybody, but they are not nor should not be the standard. Honestly most of them are wonderfully smart yet largely boring at the same time. Chances are they couldn't motivate a fat person to eat cake, let alone exercise.

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Legally, do you need a certification
by: Anonymous

Legally, do you even need a certification to be a personal trainer in, lets say, California? I know you need insurance, but how about those cheesy weekend or 6 months certifications? I know health clubs require them, but if you're self employed, does is it required? Anyone know of any links that could answer some of my questions?

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I need help!!!!
by: Anonymous

Im a freshmen in college ,and im planning to become a personal trainer and im lost on what would be the best degree to get to seek the biggest salary on and the most info about personal training as possible

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mma
by: Anonymous

do you have to go to college to train mixed martial arts [mma]

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Looking at the prospect of becoming a PT
by: Kenneth Sanchez

I am seeking a career change and I am needing some info as to which classes to take to get a B.S. in Exercise Sciences.

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what they know
by: Anonymous

The thing is, is you don't know what your trainer knows. I have worked with trainers that have four year degree and didn't know to much. Now I work with a guy that just has his personal trainer certification but is a top15 national powerlifter. So you cant always look at there education and think there better because of it

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probably
by: Anonymous

I have a medical condition, I have used personal trainers. I have been hospitalized by a personal trainer, he told me he was familiar with my condition and then almost killed me. I was quite successful had part ownership of a gym a nice house nice car. I use past tense because I now own, part of the gym, a nice house, I don't have the car. It was sold. So remember most trainers are subcontracted if you hurt someone you will be thrown under the legal bus.

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Community college certification?
by: Connor

I just decided I'd like to be a PT. I'm looking at doing it right in order to succeed in life, however I was wondering if a community college certification is enough. I know it's more education than a 6 month work shop but less than a university 4 year degree, is that enough? The course is 24 credits, it'll take me about 14 months, and costs approx $3400. I just want to do this right, any thoughts? Thanks a bunch! Hope every one is happy and healthy!

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still taking notes
by: Carlo

Hey eveybody, I was wondering what exactly do you have to do to get certified as a personal trainer???

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requirements
by: Flex assist

I have been in the personal training business for 25 years and have successfully operated several fitness centers in new York. When I hire trainers, I look for character first, athletic background second, and finally education third. certifications are generally meaningless since we only use about 10% of the knowledge many of the fancy companies offer. most trainers with a exercise physiology degree will suffice intellectually, but the character makeup is not part of a college degree. Athletic backgrounds {team sports, competitions, training history} are very important. It helps a trainer understand a clients threshold better. Character is the most important. are you trainable? Are you in tune with behavior signs, are you personable and patient? This is what we look for when hiring

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I am a Senior In High School
by: Anonymous

I want to go to a community college and work at the same time but I value fitness a lot and want to know if I can work and go to a a community college.

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