How to Become a Certified Personal Trainer in Virginia
Do you have a passion for health and fitness? Are you known in your circle as the go-to for training advice? If you enjoy helping others work through fitness plateaus and low motivation to reach their goals, you might want to consider a career as a certified personal trainer.
Certified personal trainers can be found in gyms and fitness centers across the country, working with clients to help them become their healthiest selves. The work involves creating and implementing fitness programs, teaching various fitness techniques and providing dietary education, all while keeping the client motivated. If you take great pride in helping others succeed, this career will be very rewarding for you.
Virginia Requirements for Certified Personal Trainers
Certified personal trainers do not carry licensure in Virginia. They are certified through one of many organizations, which provide certification. Popular programs include:
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) offers certifications as a Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, Exercise Physiologist or Clinical Exercise Physiologist.
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) offers certification as a Personal Trainer Group Fitness Instructor or Nutrition Coach.
- National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT) offers certification as a Personal Trainer as well as opportunities for ongoing continuing education.
- World Instructor Training School (W.I.T.S.) offers courses and certification as a Personal Trainer (levels 1 and 2) as well as Older Adult Fitness Specialist, Group Fitness Instructor, Youth Fitness Specialist and Online Lifestyle Wellness Coaching.
- American Council on Exercise (ACE) offers certification as a Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Health Coach and Medical Expertise Specialist
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) offers certification as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator or Certified Special Population Specialist
The various organizations each have their own prerequisites, often including a high school diploma or GED equivalent and Basic Life Support training through the American Heart Association. Many programs will require ongoing continuing education to keep certification current.
Suitable Programs for Certified Personal Trainers in Virginia
Virginia has many programs for those seeking a bachelor’s degree in an athletic career, but not many for those wanting a certificate. Some of the baccalaureate programs include:
- William and Mary College in Williamsburg offers a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Health Sciences.
- Bluefield College in Bluefield offers a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and sport Science.
- James Madison University in Harrisonburg offers a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology.
Salary and Job Growth Projections
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show the mean annual salary for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors in Virginia was $41,370 in 2018, with an hourly mean wage of $19.89.
In 2016, a total of 12,650 fitness trainers and aerobics instructors were employed in the state, with a projected 14,720 in 2026 for a growth rate of 16.4 percent. This is favorable compared to the national projected growth rate of 10 percent for this field. An expected 2,470 new jobs should be available to fitness trainers in Virginia each year.
Career Opportunities for Certified Personal Trainers in Virginia
The greater Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA area is listed among the top five areas with the highest employment in this career, coming in at number four according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also lists recreational fitness centers as the largest employers for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors. This career choice allows for flexible hours and the possibility of self-employment, either through freelance work or ownership of a fitness center.
In Virginia, potential employers include the Virginia State government, Gold’s Gym, SAIC, Carillion Clinic, 24 Hour Fitness, Vail Resorts, Anytime Fitness, Life Time Fitness, KBR, Commander Navy Installations and The Mentor Network.