I have experience instructing dance class: I used to teach hip hop and African dancing and currently I conduct circuit training with a total of 5-7 women in at my friends house. Other than that I have never taught in a gym or have experience training one with in one. I am planning on moving out to California and I want to know , what to do and say as I apply for health clubs!
I recommend finding a Mentor that will allow you to Shadow at their Facility. Although you are not getting paid for your time you are still learning. I was blessed to find mentor that allows me to spend time training his clients as he shadows me and gives me valuable feedback. This gives me the experience I need working with clients.He has also introduced me to several other trainers that I can network with.
The certification can get you a job in most gyms. Crunch Fitness, 24 Hr, Fitness 19, just to name a few. What’s important is to learn to market yourself to potential clients. Even at a gym, you still have to hustle to get clients. I would work for a gym for 6 months to a year, then start working for yourself. The gym takes too much money per session. On average gyms get 60 to 80%. IMO, you can help more people and make more money at the same time while working for yourself. Good luck and wish you all the success.
The others have given you some great ideas already. I would like to add that as you meet new people and make connections, try to find a mentor. It always helps to have someone with experience that can teach you and guide you in this business. You also may be able to shadow someone while they are training both to learn, and to get yourself known in the area. Some places may let you do a few free sessions so that is a thought as well.
Good luck to you!