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Personal Trainer Noncredit Program

What does a personal trainer do?

A personal trainer is a professional who works with people to improve their level of physical fitness and overall health. Personal trainers motivate clients by setting goals and providing feedback and accountability, measuring their progress. Most work with individuals or small groups in general or medical fitness settings, though some also work with athletes who want to improve their performance.

Personal trainers plan and carry out exercise programs for healthy individuals or those who have medical clearance to exercise. They use scientifically sound strategies to improve clients’ muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and body composition.

Why is this a fast-growing occupation?

Personal trainers have one of the fastest growing professions not only because they make good money; they also make an impact on the quality and longevity of life for others. They frequently have flexible hours and get to see tangible progress with clients.

The 78 million baby boomers born between 1945-65 are the first American generation who grew up exercising, and they are trying to stay healthy and fit longer with an increased life expectancy. Technology jobs create sedentary work environments, and more people are looking to personal trainers to help them stay active. Businesses are also recognizing the benefits that health and fitness programs provide their employees.

Older and working adults are not the only potential clients for personal trainers. With growing concerns about childhood obesity and reduced physical education programs in schools, fitness professionals are increasingly in demand to work with children and adolescents.

Where do personal trainers find jobs?

  • Health clubs and fitness facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Major corporations
  • U.S. military and law enforcement agencies
  • College and university wellness programs
  • Sports strength and conditioning programs
  • Cruise ships
  • Golf clubs
  • Private clientele that may include working adults, senior citizens and children

What are typical job responsibilities?

Personal trainers are fitness professionals who know how to set up exercise programs that are safe, effective and goal-oriented, and who can also motivate people to follow their program.

Personal trainers first evaluate the health history of each trainee, making sure any medical questions about conditions are referred to a physician. They help clients set attainable goals, whether clients want to improve general fitness or to accomplish specifics such as weight loss or improved cardiovascular health, strength or flexibility.

They begin working with clients by assessing their current level of fitness, measuring body composition and checking strength, endurance and flexibility through various tests. Then they design individualized exercise programs that are sound in biomechanical instruction and the physiology of exercise science. A large factor of success is keeping clients motivated to reach their goals.

Personal trainers may also help to evaluate clients who are pursuing a recommended exercise regimen, helping them to check progress and making sure they stay interested and on track.

What skills and abilities are required?

Employers cite the best employment criteria as education and reputable certification and training, not whether a personal trainer appears to be fit. Specific abilities include:

  • Basic exercise science, nutrition and human anatomy
  • Ability to design individualized exercise programs with attainable goals
  • Ability to execute exercise programs safely and effectively
  • Knowledge to help clients reach health and fitness goals through appropriate cardiovascular, flexibility and resistance exercise and maintenance of healthy body composition
  • Ability to motivate others
  • Dedication to keep learning and training, earning certification as necessary
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

What are average salaries and job growth? lists the median annual salary for personal trainers in the Dallas area as $55,000, or 2% higher than nationwide salaries.

America’s Career Infonet lists median salary and projected job growth in Texas:

​​Job Median​ Annual Salary Projected Job Growth Through 2020
Athletic trainer $51,500 +36%


There are several recognized certifying organizations, including:

Some certifications have no prerequisites, others require that you be 18 and have a high school diploma or equivalent; the most advanced require a college degree. Most require current Basic Life Support (CPR) for Healthcare Providers certification by the American Heart Association and annual continued education to maintain specific certifications.
Note that certifications and training programs vary. Some are designed for you to get the shortest, fastest training possible to become a general fitness trainer. Others give you the tools and knowledge necessary to work with clients who have specific health issues such as cancer or special needs.

Check certifying bodies closely, along with the specific certifications they issue, to make sure that you enroll in the program that best suits your personal and career goals. Many advanced certifications require a bachelor’s degree in exercise science or kinesiology, a long-range option for those wishing to establish a professional career in personal training.

Personal Trainer Programs at the Colleges of DCCCD

Cedar Valley offers a Personal Trainer program through its Continuing Education Division.

  • Cedar Valley College Continuing Education, 972-860-8295