How to Become a Certified Personal Trainer in Connecticut
If you live in Connecticut and love fitness, have you considered a career as a certified personal trainer? This is a rewarding, challenging and often fun career, and you can do it all in comfortable fitness gear. As a trainer you’ll work with clients to help them define, work toward and meet their health and fitness goals.
Most trainers are certified and have some type of degree or diploma in a related field. It doesn’t take long to earn this education, and within a year or two you can be qualified and working at a gym or on your own running a small personal training business.
What You Need to Start Working as a Trainer
In Connecticut, there are no statewide requirements for personal trainers, but employers generally set some basic standards:
- You should have a high school diploma or GED.
- You must be 18 or older.
- You should be certified in CPR and First Aid.
Many employers also require that you have a diploma, certificate or degree in personal training or a similar field like exercise science or kinesiology. And, a lot of employers will also need to see that you are nationally certified by a reputable organization.
Educational Programs in Connecticut
Earning a post-secondary degree or certificate is the best way to start off a career as at trainer. One of these programs will give you the foundational knowledge needed to train clients and help them meet their goals:
- Manchester Community College, Manchester. Manchester offers an associate’s degree program in health and exercise science that will take you two years to complete. It provides a comprehensive knowledge base in fitness, health and exercise with both traditional classes and hands-on practice, including an internship. Graduates can start working as trainers or transfer their credits to a four-year program.
- Norwalk Community College, Norwalk. In Norwalk, you can complete a similar two-year program in exercise science. Classes include kinesiology, exercise physiology, nutrition and field practice. The program is designed to get you working right away after graduation.
- Gateway Community College, New Haven. New Haven students at Gateway can learn to become trainers through the exercise science studies associate’s degree program. It includes 60 credits of courses in exercise and wellness, anatomy, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and more. Credits in this program transfer to Central, Eastern and Southern Connecticut State Universities.
National Personal Trainer Certification
You do not have to become certified to start working as a trainer, but you may find that a gym won’t hire you unless you have the certification or are working toward it. Any academic program in training, fitness or exercise science should prepare you to pass an exam for certification. There are several organizations recognized nationally that offer these exams:
- National Federation of Professional Trainers
- National Council on Strength and Fitness
- American Council on Exercise
- National Academy of Sports Medicine
- International Sports Sciences Association
- American College of Sports Medicine
Salaries and Career Outlook for Connecticut Personal Trainers
Salaries for certified personal trainers in Connecticut are higher than in many other states. The May 2018 average salary was $53,530 for fitness trainers and instructors. Actual salaries for certified personal trainers are likely higher than this.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for qualified trainers are increasing at a fast rate across the country. In Connecticut demand is particularly high. Jobs are growing at 9.7 percent, and you can expect there to be nearly 1,000 open positions in the state each year.
Working as a Trainer in Connecticut
As you start looking for your first job as a certified personal trainer in Connecticut, consider the larger cities: Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford and Stamford will have more opportunities. But any part of the state is likely to have positions available for qualified trainers.
Apply with gyms, fitness centers, and resorts and hotels for jobs, but also consider working for yourself. Some trainers start their own business, which provides more flexibility. Working for a gym will be more stable, though. As long as you are qualified, you should have plenty of options for working as a trainer in the state.