Becoming a Certified Personal Trainer in Florida
The career of a personal trainer is one that is currently high in demand across the country, and Florida is no exception. If you love fitness and want to help others achieve their fitness goals, then you should consider a career as a certified personal trainer.
As a personal trainer, you will do so much more than encourage others to lose weight or start a fitness routine. You will either work with individual clients or with a group. You will help your clients set realistic fitness and weight goals, provide advice on nutrition, help prevent injuries, and help them to form functional fitness and nutritional habits.
To work as a personal trainer, you should have excellent communication, listening and motivational skills. Leadership and planning skills are also a must, as you will be creating exercise and nutrition plans for clients and then demonstrating exercises, especially for newer clients. You should also be in excellent physical shape and be familiar with the proper form and technique you should have when doing various exercises.
What You Need to Do to Become a Personal Trainer
The state of Florida doesn’t require you to be licensed or certified to work as a personal trainer. However, some employers do prefer to hire someone who is certified. Other preferences include:
- Being at least 18 years old
- Having a high school diploma or GED
- CPR/AED certification
Post-secondary education is not mandatory to obtain a job this field; however, completing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program in exercise science or a related field can provide you with a lot of background information needed to work as a personal trainer. If you don’t have any experience or certification, then you may be required to work with an experienced or certified trainer for a few months before working on your own.
Educational Options in Florida
Many employers would like to hire someone who has completed a personal training course or has a degree in a fitness-related field such as kinesiology. Earning a degree will help train you in fitness theory, nutrition and physiology, and provide you with interpersonal communication skills. There are many options for you in Florida. These are just a few:
- National Personal Training Institute (NPTI) Orlando. At the Orlando campus of the NPTI, students can earn a diploma in personal training in four months. You also get the option to live on campus, which is doubles as a popular vacation resort. Out-of-state and international financial assistance is available. You can take day classes or evening classes.
- University of South Florida. The University of South Florida offers a personal training prep course and group fitness instructor training. The personal trainer prep course lasts approximately six weeks. There are information sessions before the course, and interested students are encouraged to attend one of these sessions. Coursework includes basic and functional anatomy, exercise physiology, technique instruction and nutritional concepts. Classes are held on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. The group fitness instructor training course lasts for six weeks as well. Courses include exercise physiology, nutrition, anatomy and music awareness. Students must have experience participating in group fitness. Classes are held on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings. The cost of the group fitness course includes the fee for the certification exam; the cost of the personal trainer course does not.
- University of West Florida. If you are interested in earning a bachelor’s degree, the University of West Florida offers a degree in exercise science. This program takes four years to complete. In this accredited program, students will receive hands-on training in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics of movement and clinical exercise. Students will complete an internship in their senior year.
How to Get Certified
Certification is optional, but some employers request that their employees hold certification that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). You might find more job opportunities if you’re certified, as well as earn a higher salary. If you wish to work independently, then certification would help you to draw in more clients. Some of the well-known, accredited programs for personal trainers are the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
Job and Salary Outlook in Florida
According to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), the job field for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors (which includes personal trainers) should see an overall increase of 10 percent across the country by the year 2026. The state of Florida expects to see growth of 18.5 percent in this job field during the same period, which is almost twice the national rate. There are approximately 3,000 new job openings in this field in the state each year.
This is also a well-paid profession in Florida. Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors in the state made an average of $19.61 hourly in 2018, or $40,790 annually.
Where to Work as a Certified Personal Trainer in Florida
As a certified personal trainer, you may do that full-time, or you can work around your schedule and do it on a part-time basis. The most common places personal trainers work are fitness clubs, gyms and health and wellness centers. You can also work from your own home or visit your clients at their homes.
Some of the places you might work in Florida include LA Fitness, 9Round, Stretch Zone and the YMCA.
Florida ranks fifth in the U.S. for highest employment in this profession, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding work in the state. Some of the cities that employ a lot of personal trainers are Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando and Pompano Beach. The highest paying cities in the state are Marcos Island and Naples.