Wisconsin Certified Personal Trainers
If you dream of beginning a career in the physical fitness realm, becoming a certified personal trainer could be the right path for you. Personal trainers work with individuals and small groups to help them achieve their fitness goals through exercise. They may work with clients in gyms and fitness centers or privately in their clients’ homes.
Certified personal trainers measure and track the health and fitness levels of clients, help them set challenging fitness goals and guide them toward meeting those goals. Sometimes, personal trainers offer nutrition advice to help clients maximize their fitness results. They teach exercises and monitor their clients’ progress carefully, offering motivation when needed to help clients achieve goals.
Certified personal trainers understand how to implement exercise safely and effectively, because they understand the human body and how it’s affected by exercise. Certified personal trainers also teach clients how to exercise safely. These are all skills that can be learned in a two-year kinesiology, physical education or exercise science program.
Requirements for Personal Trainers
The minimum requirements to become a personal trainer are a high school diploma, knowledge of exercise and fitness, and CPR/AED certification. However, most employers also prefer to hire personal trainers who are certified through one of many national fitness agencies.
To gain the knowledge you need for certification, you’ll need to complete a college program that includes education about the human body, how it’s affected by exercise and how to exercise safety, among other topics.
Studying for Your Career
A two-year associate’s degree program in kinesiology, physical education or another exercise-related major will prepare you to become a certified personal trainer. Sometimes, shorter programs are available, too. Four-year bachelor’s degrees go more in-depth, preparing students for advanced careers in the exercise field. Here are some education choices in Wisconsin:
- Madison Area Technical College (MATC). The Madison-Truax campus of MATC offers a Fitness and Wellness Specialist Technical diploma. This part-time program lasts only 32 weeks. Courses cover personal training, group fitness and wellness coaching. MATC’s program contains two American Council on Exercise (ACE) prep courses and prepares students to take Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor exams.
- University of Wisconsin-Madison. If you have high career goals, try the Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education at this school. Emphasis is placed on urban, inclusive and multicultural exercise settings. To be accepted, students must start at University of Wisconsin and apply for the program during their sophomore year. After acceptance, students complete about five semesters of remaining coursework. Health Education and Adaptive Physical Education minors are also available.
Certification Options for Personal Trainers
Many organizations offer quality certification for personal trainers. They all require you to pass an exam in order to demonstrate your exercise knowledge. To become certified in a program that is well-respected by employers, choose one that’s accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Popular certification agencies for personal trainers include the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Wisconsin Fitness Instructors by the Numbers
In 2016, the Projections Managing Partnership reported 11,710 fitness trainers and aerobics instructors working in the state of Wisconsin. This number included certified personal trainers. Professionals in this field are on the rise in Wisconsin, with an increase of 8.3 percent in employment predicted by 2026. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median income earned by the many fitness professionals in Wisconsin in 2018 was $13.59 per hour. Certified personal trainers are paid on the higher end of the fitness spectrum, so their median income was probably significantly higher than this estimate.
Personal Trainers by Location
If you’re looking for the best places to work in Wisconsin as a certified personal trainer, look at the statistics for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors provided by the BLS. The highest number of fitness trainers and aerobics instructors was found in the Milwaukee area in 2018, with 2,230 employed that year. By comparison, Madison had 820 people working in this field at that time. But Madison paid the highest median income in the state that year to fitness professionals, at $19.32 per hour.
No matter where you choose to work as a certified personal trainer, Wisconsin’s positive employment outlook for these professionals should make it relatively easy to find employment. The more education and certifications you receive, the more valuable you’ll become to employers. You’ll also command a higher income with experience.