Becoming a Certified Personal Trainer in Iowa
Certified personal trainers help people get in better shape and meet their health and fitness goals. They can work in a variety of settings, including rehabilitation centers and gyms, and use their knowledge of fitness, nutrition and health to develop workouts. Certified personal trainers can provide one-on-one coaching or lead small group classes.
In addition to promoting personal health, certified personal trainers must be good communicators who are able to clearly and safely explain exercises. They should also be energetic, upbeat people who are able to motivate their clients and provide encouragement.
First Steps to Certification
To become a certified personal trainer, you should be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. This will qualify you to take a national certification exam. Some employers may also require that trainers have CPR and AED certification, which can be obtained through the American Red Cross.
While no certification is necessary to begin working as a personal trainer, receiving your certified personal trainer designation may qualify you for a larger variety of jobs, many of which may come with a higher salary.
Obtaining Your Certification
By successfully passing a national certification exam, you demonstrate to potential employers that you take your career seriously and have advanced knowledge of personal training principles. This helps make you a more competitive applicant.
There are several nationwide certification exams available, including the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and American Council on Exercise (ACE). Carefully review the prerequisites and structure of each, as these factors can vary by organization.
Available Degree Programs in Iowa
Certified personal trainers are not required to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. However, pursuing one can help you advance your knowledge of the field and create stronger fitness programs for your clients. Consider the following programs located in Iowa:
- University of Iowa. Students interested in personal training have two options at the University of Iowa. They can consider a bachelor’s degree in health and human physiology, which focuses on cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal responses to exercise, or combine that degree with a master’s in athletic training through a special program.
- University of Northern Iowa. The University of Northern Iowa offers a bachelor’s degree in movement and exercise science, which combines classroom instruction, lab experience, and experiential learning with the school’s own athletics teams.
- Iowa State University. At Iowa State, students can major in kinesiology and health with a concentration in exercise science. This program teaches the fundamentals of human health with an emphasis on preparing fitness programs and coaching.
Career and Salary Estimates
According to the Projections Managing Partnership, jobs for fitness instructors, certified personal trainers and related professionals are expected to increase by 10 percent in the 10 years to 2026. Iowa is expected to remain relatively on pace with 9.2 percent growth during the same time period.
Certified personal trainers can expect an average annual salary of $32,880 or hourly salary of $15.81, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Working as a Certified Personal Trainer in Iowa
After receiving your certification, you’ll be able to work in rehabilitation centers, gyms, schools, fitness centers and more. Jobs in these facilities will typically be most readily available in larger cities, like Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. Many personal trainers choose to start their own companies instead, allowing them to work anywhere. Whichever path you choose, personal training is an excellent career option for people who not only enjoy working out and maintaining their personal health, but also want to help others find confidence through those means as well.