Becoming a Personal Trainer in Colorado

Colorado is a fitness fanatic’s dream. The state is home to some of the most active people in the country and boundless opportunities for outdoor sports and recreation. This is a great place to learn about fitness and training and to work as a certified personal trainer.

As a personal trainer in Colorado, you’ll get to spend your working days helping other people get fitter and healthier and meet their goals for weight loss or strength. Trainers recruit clients, assess their goals, develop and plan workouts, track progress and motivate people to work hard and achieve goals.

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What You Need to Be a Personal Trainer in Colorado

The state of Colorado has not set any specific requirements for a career in personal training. But most employers hiring trainers will require that you have at a minimum of a high school diploma or GED and certification in CPR and First Aid. Many will also require that their trainers have some post-secondary education in training or a related field like exercise science or kinesiology. You may even need to have national certification to work in certain gyms.

Personal Training Programs in Colorado

If you have your high school diploma or GED and a passion for fitness, your next step should be to complete some type of post-secondary program at a community college, personal trainer school or university. You have a few options in Colorado:

  • Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood and Arvada. The Red Rocks campuses offer a short course in personal training to kick-start your career. The three-credit hour course is called Certified Personal Trainer Preparation. It provides the basic knowledge you need to get started and is a great way to find out if this is the right career for you.
  • University of Colorado, Boulder. The Personal Trainer Preparation Course is a 10-week program that teaches students at the university how to become trainers. Based on the standards set by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), completion will prepare you to pass the ACE certification exam.
  • National Personal Training Institute, Lakewood and Colorado Springs. This school, which is licensed by the state’s Department of Higher Education, offers programming just for students interested in becoming certified personal trainers. You can choose between 30- and 40-week courses with flexible schedules for classes.
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National Certification for Personal Trainers in Colorado

While certification is not a state requirement, most employers and clients will only work with nationally certified personal trainers. Once you have completed a program in learning how to become a trainer, you should be able to pass one of several recognized certification exams. Some of the options include the National Federation of Professional Trainers, the International Sports Sciences Association, the National Council on Strength and Fitness, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and ACE.

Salaries and Job Outlook for Personal Trainers in Colorado

Growth in fitness training and instruction is strong at 10 percent nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But in Colorado that growth is much higher. The BLS reports that the number of careers for certified personal trainers should grow by 24.4 percent between 2016 and 2026. That means you can expect there to be nearly 2,000 available jobs across the state each year.

The average salary for a trainer in the state was $46,330 per year and $22.27 per hour in May 2018. You could earn even more depending on various factors. Additional certifications and specialties, such as in coaching or nutrition, could help you command higher hourly rates, for instance. Salaries will also vary depending on whether you work for a big or small gym or as a freelance trainer.

Working as a Certified Personal Trainer in Colorado

Most working trainers are employed by gyms and other fitness centers, such as those in spas or resorts. You do have a few other options: working for a community or government agency or working for yourself or starting a small personal training business.

Personal trainers can often make their own hours, but the more you work and the more clients you take on, the more you will earn. You will have to work around clients’ schedules, so expect to work some weekends and evenings.

In Colorado, you can find jobs nearly anywhere, but the biggest areas for employment are in and around Denver and the college towns of Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Boulder.

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