I want to be taken seriously as a Personal Trainer. I’ve obtained my certification, but I want to continue my education so I can be a better trainer especially for those clients that are just starting their fitness journey and those that have had injuries or trying to lose a lot of weight. I am wondering what experienced trainers consider the best education a four year degree or numerous certifications.
I agree that a degree can be a real asset but would encourage you to look at the curriculum of the specific program you may be considering to make sure you are getting the courses that will be most beneficial to you as each degree program can be different. I have a degree in Exercise Science and got certified thru ACSM as those were the standards my program taught from so I had the manuals etc. Although you are already certified, some schools include the certification exam (for various certifications like NSCA – CSCS or ACSM-HFS) as part of their curriculum. Overall a degree will provide a wide scope of career and educational options which you don’t necessarily get from a single certification.
With the above said, I also think a variety of certifications (as time goes on) is helpful just because trends change, research changes and we have to keep learning to meet the needs of clients and the industry.
The bottom line is we are in a field in which we have to be life long learners to be effective and taken seriously! Best of luck! Great question to be considering!
Years ago I would say a bachelor’s degree, but given this economic high unemployment rate environment…I know many degree holders out of work. Along with that…most health clubs will require a CPT certification to gain employment regardless of a bachelor’s degree.
Any chance/opportunity of higher education is key to any successful career.
Wishing You Great Success!
If it was down to only those two options, I would say the Bachelor’s degree. However, experience is the greatest education a trainer can obtain. I’m not saying you have to “give it time”; you can learn from those who already have. Ever had an experienced trainer train you? The 1st time I did, it was quite a humbling few weeks for me. It can really enhance your education quickly and give you some insight as to how an experienced trainer got that way. Still, if a degree is within your grasp, go for it. Its all just additional ways to gain experience, and you can never learn TOO much.
I feel like as a society, we need to go back to recognizing formal education as a way to measure and analyze someone’s ability to comprehend and apply scientific principles. That’s what education is, isn’t it? A PhD knows more than a MSc whose ahead of a BSc?
There are far too many people out there who call themselves trainers, but are far from qualified. They use terms like “muscle confusion” instead of periodization. They think doing Insanity in basements and learning CrossFit from their buddies is the next great revolution. And they look up to Jillian Michaels. $600 and a weekend doing “core” workouts don’t make you a qualified trainer. And guess what? The media is 10 years behind the field, and what you hear on TV is often twisted and out of proportion.
On the other hand, rarely do I come across college grads who don’t know their stuff. With a degree, you learn the physiology, the biomechanics, and how to deal with different populations. You gain great experience. Most importantly, you can actually answer your clients’ questions and help someone. As a trainer, I can actually have an intelligent discussion with you.
So if you want to teach one or two classes for fun, get a good workout, or a little extra cash, go ahead and get some certifications. Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, Spinning, etc. are preferred, and you can teach classes with them.
But if you want to make a career of it as a trainer, coach, director, manager, etc. PLEASE get a degree. Without a degree, you can’t really get into corporate wellness, the sports industry, or good quality upscale facilities anyways. And most of all, with a degree you earn the respect of those of us in the field trying to make it better.
Hello Patricia Slauson-Marcussen,
The more education the better, of course. Then again, it depends on the person and how much they choose to learn and what to do with that knowledge.
A degree does not make the person, their actions do.
Whatever you decide, do your best and the clients will be able to tell that you are a professional.