Having a BS degree in Business and MA degree in education and spending over 10 years in education. I am looking for the best approach to switching careers into personal training and nutrition.
Get a Personal Training and/or nutrition certification if you can because you will need it in order to get hired and work in this industry. Your business degree should give you the necessary tools to either start your own business or market yourself to others (clients and gym owners). Once you get certified get a liability insurance also (recommended). The next step I would suggest would be to get any position at a gym of your choice. I would start with the YMCA because I believe the Y is the best first step for anyone who is looking to start a career in this industry. Once you get enough experience then you can branch out to other more commercial fitness gyms or go on your own.
Keep educating yourself as much as you can through seminars, webinars, workshops, talking to other professionals, searching for the next best thing out there, get more than one certifications (if necessary), reading studies and researches, etc. Be patient, be professional, respect your client’s time and money and you will do fine :-).
Also this forum is great for learning what others think and ask questions. Good luck to you!
Harris gives a thorough and well thought out answer.
I have worked at a Y and in addition to having a social mandate that looks beyone personal enrichment the Y does a good job at providing experience and education to their staff. education.
One thing to consider is whether you are going the personal training, or the nutritionist route. A nationally recognized certification in personal training would be my suggestion, as if you have only a cert. in nutrition you will be competing with people with nutritionist degrees. If you have the personal training, you can add on specialty training on lifestyle and health, or health coach and begin to work more with the nutritional side. Just remember that there is a difference between a nutritionist and someone with a certificate in nutrition having to do with scope of practice.
As Harris says, keep educating yourself. And if you really want to do this don’t give up. People often change professions, and what they have done in other areas enrich their new careers and give them their own uniqueness. I was a student of philosophy and a library tech before working in fitness and I can’t count the number of times I find myself referring to Aristotle in class 🙂
one of the things I like is that you can dip your toes into this industry without having to jump in with both feet.
I assume that you are a fitness enthusiast already and work out regularly for yourself. You may be a member at a gym which is were many trainers get started. As Harris said, a personal training certification (I strongly recommend NCCA accredited) is a must-have; I believe that professional liability insurance is, too. When you are working for a gym, it is usually provided but if you want to strike out on your own, you need to have one.
You may be able to find a job part-time while you maintain the day job. Having a successful business in personal training is absolutely possible but it is usually not so in the first few years. Your business degree will be of great value. It is something that many trainers lack, and it makes the difference between success and failure in this industry.
The scope of practice for a personal trainer without a degree in nutrition is limited to giving generic advice. This is still true when you get one of the specialty certifications. Only a degree in nutrition authorizes you to give specific recommendations. All personal trainer certifications talk about nutrition somewhere in their textbook. I would initially get a specialty in the population you are interested in. A specialty in senior fitness, for example, can be of great value if you want to target this population.
I wish you good luck.
I have often considered going back to college for a third degree or going after a physical therapist doctorate. It would be great if people with extensive education could “test out” for certain other credentials. We have certainly proven that we are able to comprehend and prove that we possess indepth knowledge. But I am happy with the current certification system. And it certainly hasn’t been any problem for me to make a living and contribute in my community. Good luck.
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