Becoming a Certified Personal Trainer in Alabama
Personal trainers lead and motivate individuals and groups in exercise and to help them achieve their personal fitness goals. They may help with cardio exercises, stretching, strength training or a combination of all three. If they work one-on-one with a client, personal trainers will create a fitness program that meets their client’s needs based on the fitness level they are on, their own goals and their level of skill. They will demonstrate the exercises and then observe clients to make sure their technique is right. If necessary, they will provide other activities based on the client’s individual needs. Personal trainers also advise clients on weight management and nutritional choices. They should also be prepared to administer first aid.
Skills needed to work as a personal trainer include customer service skills, communication skills, listening skills, motivational skills and problem-solving skills. Personal trainers should also be physically in shape themselves. Requirements to work as a personal trainer may vary by state, so keep reading to learn what it takes to become a certified personal trainer in Alabama.
Requirements to Become a Personal Trainer
There aren’t any specific educational or certification guidelines to become a personal trainer in Alabama. These will be left up to the employer. However, if you are interested in becoming a personal trainer, you should be at least 18 and a high school graduate or have a GED. Most employers are going to want to hire someone certified in CPR and AED. Some employers like to hire individuals who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in exercise science, kinesiology or a similar field. National certification is not mandatory, but it may be preferred by some employers.
If you are planning to work independently and even possibly open your own gym one day, it would be wise to get certified. If you do, make sure that the agency you get your certification through has been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). For trainers who aren’t certified and don’t have any educational experience, some employers may require them to train under an experienced trainer before they take on any clients of their own.
Educational Options for Personal Trainers in Alabama
While completing a degree program isn’t necessary to become a personal trainer in Alabama, it may increase your chances of getting hired or gaining new clients. And if you plan to get certified, these programs will prepare you for certification. Here are a few of the programs to choose from in Alabama:
- Lawson State Community College. Lawson State Community College has two campuses, in Bessemer and Birmingham. This school offers a certified personal trainer course, which prepares students to work as a personal trainer and to receive their national certification. The course is eight weeks long, and coursework includes biomechanics, exercise physiology, fitness testing, health assessment and more. The course consists of 20 hours of instructor-led online classes, 20 hours of hands-on lab training and a 30-hour internship. Students can take the certification exam on the last day of their practical labs. Students must have CPR/AED certification to take the national exam, and they must have certification to complete their internship.
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). At UAB, students can earn a Bachelor’s in Science in kKnesiology. This degree has four concentrations: exercise science, exercise bioenergetics, fitness leadership and physical education teacher certification. The focuses that are most suitable for personal trainers would be the fitness leadership concentration or the exercise bioenergetics concentration. These are four-year programs. Students interested in graduate programs can also earn a Master’s in Science with a concentration in Exercise Physiology.
- University of South Alabama (USA). At USA in Mobile, you can get a Bachelor’s in Science in Exercise Science with a Health and Fitness concentration. This degree program takes four years to complete. You will focus on general education courses for the first two years while adding in core courses. In your junior year, you will take elective courses along with core classes including basic motor learning, sport and human behavior, sport and fitness conditioning and physiology of exercise. During your senior year, you will focus on sports conditioning, sports nutrition and complete an internship. You will be eligible for graduation after you have completed your internship.
Becoming certified as a personal trainer in Alabama will likely give you more job options. If you are working on your own, and not at a gym, you will probably attract more clients if you are certified. There are various types of certifications available for personal trainers, but make sure before you take the exam that the program is NCCA-accredited. The top certification agencies for personal trainers are the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Employment and Salary Expectations in Alabama
The Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) reports that the job outlook for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors will be stable over the next few years. Personal trainers are included in this category. This job field is expected to grow nationally by 10 percent in the period between 2016 and 2026. In Alabama, the job field is predicted to increase by only 6.8 percent, but it is still growing. There were approximately 2,800 individuals employed in this job field in Alabama in 2018.
Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors in the state of Alabama made an average hourly salary of $16.66 in 2018, and an average annual salary of $34,660 that same year.
Where to Work as a Certified Personal Trainer in Alabama
Certified personal trainers may work ful-time as a trainer, or they may have another full-time job and work as a personal trainer on the side. Most of them work in fitness clubs or gyms, but some work independently and give private sessions in their home or their clients’ homes.
Some places you might expect to work as a certified personal trainer in Alabama include Anytime Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Iron Tribe Fitness and Planet Fitness. Birmingham employs the most personal trainers in Alabama, and the cities of Decatur, Huntsville and Montgomery are the highest paying in the state.