Becoming a Personal Trainer in Pennsylvania
If you’re passionate about health and fitness, you might consider becoming a certified personal trainer.
People with these credentials can find jobs at local gyms and health clubs or even work for private clients at their homes.
With enough experience and education, personal trainers in PA might also go on to work with local or state sports teams.
Education & Training
A high school diploma or GED is the minimum education requirement for personal trainers in PA. Basic nursing credentials in CPR and First Aid are helpful, too, since you may need to render aid if a client gets injured during a training session.
Exceptional communication skills, a friendly, upbeat attitude, and sensitivity to people’s feelings are also must-haves for this job.
Completing a personal trainer certificate or degree program at a Pennsylvania trade school or community college can give you the education and experience you need to get a personal trainer job in PA.
What Courses Will You Take?
In school, you’ll take classes like:
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Kinesiology and Biomechanics
- Health and Physical Fitness
- Physical Fitness Testing and Assessment
- Weight Management
- Exercise Science
- Fitness Program Development
You may also need to take specialized classes if you want to work in a particular area of the fitness industry. With these additional courses, you can gain the knowledge to create targeted training plans for bodybuilders, powerlifters, runners, and people competing in multisport races like triathlons and decathlons.
Personal trainers in Pennsylvania might suggest cutting calories, consuming fewer fatty foods, and eating more lean meat, fruits, and vegetables. However, they lack the proper qualifications to prescribe specific diets. Before you can legally create meal plans for your clients, you must earn a nutritionist credential.
A nutritionist is a healthcare professional who understands how food and nutrition affect health, wellness, and disease prevention.
Personal trainers with nutritionist degrees or certificates can calculate how many carbohydrates, fats, and proteins each client needs to meet their fitness goals or manage health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, digestive issues, or food allergies.
Personal trainers who also become certified nutritionists can offer a more well-rounded experience for clients looking to improve their overall health and wellness. Having both these credentials can make you an attractive candidate to gyms, health clubs, and private clients looking to hire personal trainers in PA.
Pennsylvania Personal Trainer Requirements
It is possible to become a personal trainer in Pennsylvania if you lack a degree or certificate.
However, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have graduated from a personal trainer trade school or community college program. To give your resume an additional boost, you might consider taking an exam to become a certified personal trainer (CPT).
Some vocational schools may offer NCAA-accredited exams so students can graduate with an official personal trainer certification from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
Taking the Exam
If you’re at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent, you can also take the test online through organizations like:
- The National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)
- The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- The National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF)
Certification exams test your knowledge of human anatomy, exercise science, fitness plan development, and other industry-relevant information.
Some tests may also ask questions about nutrition, healthcare ethics, and HIPPA regulations to determine whether you understand the best methods for training individuals with certain medical conditions.
Salaries in Pennsylvania
Generally speaking, certified personal trainers can earn higher wages than non-certified professionals in the field. However, this varies depending on the company you work for and which part of the state you’re in.
How Much Can You Make (Starting Out)
Check out this list to find region-specific information about the average personal trainer salary in PA:
- Williamsport $28,180
- Erie $32,810
- Pittsburgh $36,670
- Lancaster $37,720
- Allentown $38,690
- Philadelphia $42,440
What Do They Do?
Personal trainers develop and implement customized fitness plans to help people achieve their wellness goals. During meetings and consultations, trainers ask questions to learn what their clients want to accomplish on their fitness journey.
Each person has their own goals, but many gym-goers are looking to:
- Reduce body fat
- Gain muscle
- Improve running time or speed
- Lift heavier weights
- Create an effective and enjoyable workout routine
Next, trainers assess their clients to see where their fitness level currently stands. An evaluation may include seeing how much the person weighs, taking their body measurements, counting how many repetitions they can complete of a particular exercise, and taking notes about their daily routine, habits and diet.
Plans for Fitness
From there, a personal trainer can develop a plan to help their client build healthier habits, follow a customized exercise regimen, and reach their goal within a specific, realistic time frame.
To implement this plan, trainers demonstrate various exercises and motivate clients to complete them using the proper form and safety measures.
Personal trainers check in with their clients at regular intervals to determine how much progress they’ve made and help them stay on track.
Once they meet their original goal, gym members can continue working with their trainer to set new goals, like trying a different type of exercise or training for various health and fitness competitions.
Experts at the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics predict a 19-percent increase in fitness trainer and instructor jobs across the United States. Because of this rapid growth rate of about 65,500 openings per year between 2021 and 2031, qualified professionals are likely to see an uptake in available personal trainer jobs in PA.
Certified personal trainers looking to stand out from the crowd and get the highest-paying positions might consider earning an athletic trainer credential so they can work in medical settings and assist physical therapists and physicians. Once you gain adequate industry experience, you could even go into business for yourself and offer your services to private clients.