How to Become a Personal Trainer

Wishing you could spend more time at the gym, and earn a little extra cash? Becoming a certified personal trainer lets you do both.


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You Will Need

  • Time
  • Money for tuition, course materials, and exam fees
  • Books
  • Certification exam
  • Red Cross (optional)


  1. Always consult a physician before attempting to do any exercise or exercise plan.

  2. Step 1

    Find a program

    Choose your certification program. There are many, such programs offered by the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, and the National Council on Strength and Fitness.

  3. Step 2

    Attend a workshop

    Go to the program's workshops. They typically last from one to three days and are often accepted for school credit.

  4. Step 3


    Complete your course of study. Some programs allow you to do this at home, but others require classroom time.

  5. Most programs require a certain number of hours of training before certification.

  6. Step 4

    Study some more

    Study independently, focusing on anatomy, exercise physiology, and kinesiology. Learn how to give fitness tests, accommodate different ability levels, and work with injuries.

  7. Step 5

    Get CPR certified

    Get certified in CPR. Some programs require you to be certified in using AEDs -- the defibrillator paddles used to treat heart attacks.

  8. The Red Cross offers CPR certification programs.

  9. Step 6


    Register to take the certification test. Like college board exams, it's administered on certain days at testing centers. Be sure to get enough sleep the night before the test.

  10. Step 7

    Keep training

    Once you have basic certification, look into other programs, such as Pilates, yoga, and nutrition. Additional training can raise your asking price.

  11. Did you know? There were about 235,000 fitness workers in the U.S. in 2006.