Hi Everyone, I’m a 41yr old female who has a love for fitness. I’ve spent the last 20yrs of my life as a Visual Designer (running my own business for 10yrs now). I’m burnt out on my career. I’ve been looking into fitness as a new career, but not sure where to start. I was a dancer for much of my life, so know that I want to teach barre, dance fitness, and pilates. However, I’d also love to do personal training and wellness coaching with women. So where do I start? A personal trainer certification or a group fitness instructor certification? Or, do I only need one of those certifications? Thanks for any insight!
I’m biased towards as much education as possible, and I’ve had several primary group-ex certifications (3 levels through YMCA, AFAA, NDEITA) as well as personal training, but I’ll try to give you a practical answer.
Are you already trained in dance fitness, barre, and pilates? Some of those formats have their own certifications, and as long as you follow their requirements, you don’t have to have a primary group-ex certification in order to teach their format. BUT, some gyms will require a group-ex certification in order to work there. My suggestion would be to ask a couple of the places where you think you might want to work what their requirements are for employees.
As far as personal training, it’s a more comprehensive exam, but the skills are different. Personal trainer certifications do not cover how to lead a group, how to progress / regress according to the group’s needs, how to teach to music, find the beat, choreograph, etc.
Personally, I got all my group-ex certifications first, then got my personal training certification from ACE. After getting my ACE PT, I’ve allowed the group-ex certifications to drop and have never had a problem getting a job. That was 9 years ago, and I’ve taken on 4 additional jobs.