How to Become a Certified Personal Trainer in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is currently seeing high demand for qualified and certified personal trainers. The growth rate in the industry is promising for anyone starting out in this fun, challenging and rewarding career. With the right qualifications, you can train clients in a gym or work on your own as a part-time, freelancing trainer.
Certified personal trainers are fitness professionals who work with clients one-on-one and in small groups. They assess clients, determine their fitness and health goals, develop workout and even diet plans for them and evaluate progress. If you love working with and helping people, and have a passion for fitness, consider becoming a trainer.
What You Need to Be a Personal Trainer in Massachusetts
What you’ll need first is to have graduated from high school or earned your GED. You should be at least 18 years old and certified in CPR and First Aid. Beyond these requirements, what you need for education or training depends on your employer or clients who hire you. Most employers, like gyms, will require that you have a certificate or degree in personal training or a related field. Many will also only hire trainers with national certification.
Academic Programs for Personal Training in Massachusetts
Earning a certificate or diploma in a subject related to personal training is the best thing you can do to get ready for a career in this industry. In Massachusetts you have several options:
- Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence. Northern Essex offers an associate’s degree program in exercise science that takes two years to complete as a full-time student. You can use this degree to begin working as a trainer and to become nationally certified, but you can also transfer credits to a university to earn a four-year degree.
- Holyoke Community College, Holyoke. At Holyoke, you can earn either a certificate or a two-year associate’s degree in health, fitness and nutrition. This is a good overall introduction to both training and fitness and nutrition counseling.
- Middlesex Community College, Bedford. This program, which is live and online, offers a direct way to get into personal training. It provides all the information you need to get started, including vouchers you can use to take a national certification exam. In addition to the live online lectures, you will spend 15 hours in a gym doing hands-on learning and practice.
Personal Trainer National Certification
Massachusetts law does not say that you have to be certified to work as a trainer, but most employers and clients will only work with certified trainers. Any of the above academic programs should prepare you to pass a nationally recognized certification exam offered by groups like the National Council on Strength and Fitness, the National Federation of Professional Trainers, the American Council on Exercise, the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the International Sports Sciences Association.
Massachusetts Salaries and Job Outlook for Certified Personal Trainers
The job outlook throughout the country is positive for trainers. In Massachusetts, growth in the industry is particularly strong. The number of positions for fitness trainers and instructors is increasing at a rate of nine percent, with more than 2,000 open jobs available each hear.
Salaries in the state are also highly competitive. Massachusetts trainers earn more than trainers in most other states. In May 2018, the average salary for a fitness trainer was $59,350. There is no report for the difference in salaries for certified personal trainers, but the latter is likely higher. Trainers can also earn more with specializations. For instance, you may get certified in nutrition or strength training in addition to general personal training.
Working as a Trainer in Massachusetts
Gyms and fitness centers are the biggest employers of certified personal trainers. You can expect to work for a gym, but also look for jobs at universities, with government agencies and with community organizations. You may choose to start your own training business. This can be difficult, but it gives you the flexibility to work when and how much you want. Expect to find the most opportunities for work in and around Boston, Worcester, Springfield and Cambridge.