Becoming a Certified Personal Trainer in Oregon
Would you like a career where you can help people define and achieve their fitness goals? Then you should consider becoming a certified personal trainer. Personal trainers work with small groups or individuals to help them get into shape or increase their level of fitness. They offer nutritional advice, plan exercise routines and help keep their clients motivated to achieve results.
As a certified personal trainer, you’ll need to have good communication skills and a strong background in the exercise sciences. You should be physically fit and enjoy working out, and be able to share this passion with your clients. Personal trainers should also have a positive attitude and be able to inspire their clients when they are feeling unmotivated or discouraged.
Requirements for Personal Trainers in Oregon
To start working as a personal trainer, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old and have your high school diploma or GED. You will also need to acquire and maintain your CPR/AED certification through an organization such as the American Red Cross.
While there are no other formal requirements for personal trainers in Oregon, most employers prefer candidates with at least some education in exercise science or fitness technology. Further education is highly desirable if you plan to become a certified personal trainer (CPT) and command a higher salary.
Certification Options for Personal Trainers
You don’t have to receive certification in order to work as a personal trainer in Oregon, but it may be difficult to find employment or advance your career without it. Certification through a recognized organization will make you a more desirable applicant and prove that you have the knowledge to do the job well. Becoming a certified personal trainer will also increase your earning potential and help you advance your career.
In order to get your certification, you’ll have to meet the requirements for that organization and pass a test demonstrating your skills and knowledge. The prerequisites vary among organizations.
Certification programs for personal trainers include:
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- American Council on Exercise (ACE)
Educational Programs in Oregon
There are a wide range of education options for people looking to become certified personal trainers in Oregon. You might take a short course to prepare for your certification exams, or you might choose to acquire a two-year associate’s degree (AS) or four-year bachelor’s degree (BS) in exercise science or a related field.
Some programs in Oregon include:
- Mount Hood Community College (MHCC). MHCC recently debuted their new one-year certificate program in fitness technology. The 40-credit, three-term course covers everything from human physiology to exercise science, and prepares students for work as personal trainers and coaches. Upon completion, you will have your certificate in fitness technology and be ready to sit for the exams to become a certified personal trainer. This program also meets the core requirements for their two-year associate’s program in physical education/exercise and sports science, if you prefer to transfer into an AS degree program.
- Portland Community College (PCC). PCC offers a two-year AS program in exercise science perfect for future personal trainers or group fitness instructors. You will learn about how to use cardio and weight machines, free weights and many other fitness-related equipment such as VO2max testing and graded exercise testing using an ECG machine. With your AS degree in hand, you’ll be ready to take your national exams and find work as a certified personal trainer.
- Central Oregon Community College (COCC). Located in the high desert city of Bend, COCC has a two-year AS program in exercise science designed for future certified personal trainers. You’ll learn about human physiology, sports and exercise psychology and how to prevent and treat workout-related injuries. When you complete the program, you will be ready to sit for a national certification exam for personal trainers, or you may transfer your credits and continue on toward your BS degree.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to the State of Oregon Department of Employment, there were over 5,000 fitness trainers and aerobics instructors in the state in 2017. This category includes personal trainers and certified personal trainers. While it’s difficult to know exactly how many certified personal trainers there are in Oregon, this is considered a high-demand field. There are over 1,000 job openings a year for this category as a whole, and the sector is expected to increase another 14.8 percent by 2026.
Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors in Oregon earn a median wage of $17.82 per hour, although this varies across the state. Since certified personal trainers have more education and additional credentials, they typically earn on the higher end of the scale. Wages for personal trainers in Oregon vary from $11.34 to $36.48 per hour, with an average of $20.30 per hour or about $42,397 annually.
Working as a Certified Personal Trainer in Oregon
Certified personal trainers work in gyms, fitness centers and rehabilitation facilities across the state. The majority of employment options are found along the I-5 corridor in the Portland Metro area, Salem, Eugene-Corvallis and Ashland. Central Oregon and the mid-valley region also have a large number of job openings, and these areas are rapidly increasing in population.