How to Become a Certified Personal Trainer in West Virginia
Learning to be a personal trainer doesn’t have to take years of school. If you’re eager to get to work helping people get fitter and healthier, you can be ready in two years or less. All it takes is earning a certificate, diploma or degree in personal training or a related field.
As a certified personal trainer in West Virginia, you’ll work with clients looking to meet personal fitness or weight goals. You’ll help them make progress and hit those goals by designing and implementing workouts. Personal trainers have a lot of flexibility in how they work, so you can choose to work in a gym, as a freelancer or full- or part-time.
Requirements for Being a Personal Trainer in West Virginia
West Virginia has not set any requirements for working as a trainer in the state. At a minimum, to get started you should be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED and be trained in First Aid and CPR/AED. It’s best to also seek a post-secondary education in a related field, like kinesiology, exercise science or personal training. Many employers do require that their trainers have some sort of related degree or certificate. Some may also require national certification.
West Virginia Personal Training Academic Programs
Choose from among a couple of options for a relevant degree, certificate or diploma program in West Virginia to get started in a training career:
- Mountwest Community and Technical College, Huntington. In Huntington, you can earn a certificate in exercise science to learn how to be a personal trainer. The program will provide you with all the skills needed to start working right away and includes 31 credits of coursework.
- West Virginia University, Morgantown. If you are a student at West Virginia University, you can minor in personal training. The minor program follows standards set by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and prepares graduates to pass the ACE exam for personal training certification. The minor includes a total of 15 to 18 credit hours of classes, including an internship.
- National Personal Training Institute, Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown. With several campus locations, the certification program offered here is a flexible way to learn how to become a trainer. Much of the coursework is done online and prepares you to get certified. On the campuses, you can participate in specialized workshops on topics like program design, kettlebell training or CPR and First Aid. The program culminates in an internship.
National Certification for West Virginia Personal Trainers
The state doesn’t require you to be certified to begin working as a personal trainer. However, many gyms and clients will only work with certified personal trainers. Any program you complete to learn how to become a trainer should prepare you to pass the certification exam for any of these and other nationally-recognized organizations:
- American Council of Exercise (ACE)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- International Sports Science Association (ISSA)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
- National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT)
Career Outlook and Salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth in the fitness industry is strong. More positions are becoming available all the time. While that growth is not as strong in West Virginia as it is elsewhere in the country, the state is still experiencing an increase in the number of positions for trainers at a rate of 2.5 percent.
The salaries for trainers are only listed for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors. The average salary in the state for these workers is $33,730. Certified personal trainers have more qualifications, so you can expect to earn more than this.
Working in West Virginia as a Certified Personal Trainer
With growth in the fitness industry that is a little slower than in other states, it makes sense to start your job search in areas of West Virginia that have greater population densities. Try looking in and around Charleston, Huntington and Morgantown. Gyms are the main employers of certified trainers, but also consider working independently. You can train clients in your spare time using their homes, outdoor space or rented gym space.