What Does a Personal Trainer Do?
In a nutshell, personal trainers design safe and effective fitness programs tailored to each individual they work with. They assist their clients in reaching their personal goals for fitness, health, and general wellness. There’s a lot that goes into that deceptively simple description.
Personal trainers, through ongoing study and work, acquire and maintain a working knowledge of human anatomy and the concepts behind exercise, nutrition, and the fundamental principles of fitness science. They must have the ability to create and enact exercise fitness programs for individuals and small groups, custom tailored to the needs and reasonable goals of each client, in a way that’s both safe and effective. They must also possess the ability to motivate their clients in a manner which is both encouraging and inspiring, as well as a dedication to their own continued self-improvement, growth, and development in regards to their own personal health and fitness—leading by example and providing an inspiring and accessible role model for their clients.
Personal training is a job that starts with a genuine love for fitness, exercise and health—but there’s much more to the job than pumping iron. A quality personal trainer designs workout programs that are safe, effective, and fun while geared toward the improvement of each client’s overall health and fitness. Trainers should be supportive and enthusiastic, inspiring their clients to develop the tenacity needed to pursue a program geared toward reaching their personal goals each step of the way.
The fitness industry is growing, and options for employment are better than ever. Personal trainers can work in a variety of environments, from gyms and private training studios, in their client’s homes, public spaces like parks and beaches, on cruise ships, and even remotely by telephone or online instruction. It’s a profession with a lot of job security—health and fitness awareness are growing, and are proving to be a priority for many people. If you’ve been considering a career as a personal trainer and possess the needed qualities, the next step is to pursue a Certificate 3 & 4 in fitness.
How Can I Get a Certificate as Personal Trainer?
If you’re serious about a career in fitness, acquiring a Certificate III in Fitness should be your first goal. A personal trainer holding a Certificate III in Fitness is qualified to work across Australia—and the rest of the world. A Certificate III will give you a working understanding of basic human anatomy and physiology, nutrition fundamentals, and the ability to evaluate the overall fitness of new clients with an eye toward the development of specific, tailored programs for each individual under your instruction.
Once you secure a Certificate III, the next step in becoming a fully qualified personal trainer is to pursue a Certificate IV. A Certificate III and IV in Fitness qualify you not only to work in gyms, fitness centres, and personal training studios, but will give you the skills and knowledge you need to own and operate your own private training business, gym, or fitness centre. A Certificate IV in Fitness represents a professional understanding of advanced functional anatomy, biomechanics, myofascial physiology, and fitness nutrition, giving the Certificate IV qualified trainer the ability to design personalised exercise routines for an array of clients.
Training for a Certificate IV will also give you a solid grounding in motivational psychology, knowledge of best practices in collaborating with other health and wellness professionals, and all the knowledge you’ll need to operate your own successful fitness business. A Certificate IV is the most comprehensive education available in the fitness industry. As with the Certificate III course, students are given a twelve-month period of flexible study hours to pursue the necessary coursework.
Students who pursue their certification at PT Academy will also have access to exclusive research and information from the international PT Academy community, personal access to some of the biggest names in health and fitness, and after completion guaranteed interviews with some of Australia’s top gyms and fitness centres.
PT Academy also provides fitness instructor insurance coverage during the student’s term of study—and all of these benefits are within reach of everyone, thanks to our flexible payment options. Though there are certainly other venues available for Certificate III and IV training, PT Academy is the best available option, as our students gain hands-on experience in our thoroughly modern fitness centre under the tutelage of our Master Educators.
How much money can you earn as Personal Trainer?
Working as a personal trainer is a rewarding career. You’re able to pursue your personal love of fitness every work day, and share that enthusiasm and your experiences and knowledge with your clients while helping them become fitter, healthier people. Seeing the positive impact you can make in the lives of others brings with it a sense of accomplishment that isn’t common to many occupations. Of course, no one can pay rent or buy food with good feelings—but you’re in luck, as being a personal trainer can be a lucrative and financially rewarding career as well.
Personal trainers typically charge anywhere from $50 to $100 per hour, with a national average working out to be around $60 for a forty-five-minute session. That puts earnings on par with professions like accounting, graphic design, and retail management, but personal trainers would generally work about half of the time as people in those occupations.
You read that right—in terms of dollars-per-hour, personal trainers earn roughly twice that of the average accountant. Many personal trainers work part-time a few times a week, running fitness sessions, one-on-one training, or holding bootcamps for groups of clients on weekends. Personal Trainers who work a full forty-hour workweek tend to be in the top earning bracket, easily making more than $120,000 per year.
The latest data available for salaries earned by personal trainers ranges from around $37,000 upwards of $124,000, but bear in mind that the lower figure likely represents a lot of personal trainers who work only a few days per week. Average starting salary for a personal trainer is around $51,000, though location does have an effect. Gold Coast personal trainers earn around $72,000 per year, while personal trainers working somewhere like Canberra might earn around $51,000 per year. This is likely more a reflection of the cost of living in those places than it is influenced by other factors, and no matter where in Australia (or the world!) you choose to practice your trade, the ability to earn significant amounts of money is absolutely within reach.
How’s the Difference Between a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor?
Though most people might think personal trainers and fitness instructors are fundamentally the same, they’d be wrong. A fitness instructor is typically permanently employed by a gym or fitness centre, and will generally work exclusively out of a single location. Fitness instructors don’t generally take on individual clients, but rather offer basic instruction and assistance to all of the members of a gym or fitness centre—for example, teaching inexperienced gym members the proper way to use free weights and gym equipment safely and correctly.
As part of their job, a fitness instructor has to ensure that gym members use the correct techniques and proper form when performing any exercises. This is both to guard against injury made possible through poor or incorrect technique and to help members get the best results from their workouts. When not working with gym members, fitness instructors might spend their time tidying up equipment and work out space, signing up new members, and showing prospective members around the gym facilities. Qualified fitness instructors may also lead group exercise classes, though generally at a lower level of complexity than that undertaken by a fully qualified personal trainer.
The job of a personal trainer, though similar to that of a fitness instructor in some ways, is focused more on providing a personal approach to their clients, generally on a one-to-one basis. A personal trainer’s primary focus is to enable their clients to attain their individual health, fitness, and weight loss goals—and the process will be different and unique to each person. The starting point is a consultation with a new client to assess their existing level of fitness, to evaluate any existing injuries or limitations a client may have, and to discuss reasonable, attainable goals and how to reach them. This allows the personal trainer to design a personalised exercise and nutrition programme for each client as is appropriate to their needs.
Unlike fitness instructors, personal trainers can work anywhere at any time, including training clients in their own homes. Many different gyms, health clubs, and fitness centres will partner with self-employed personal trainers, charging them a rental fee in exchange for access to the fitness facility’s space and equipment to in order to train their clients. Personal trainers, as they are primarily concerned with working on a one-to-one basis with their clients, also provide support, motivation, and encouragement to empower the client to succeed in reaching their fitness objectives. The development of long-standing working relationships with their clients is perhaps the most significant difference between what a personal trainer does, compared to the work of a fitness instructor. While a fitness instructor will help members of the gym or health club that employs them, their services are offered by the gym on more of an as-needed basis. Fitness instructors are intended to serve the community of gym members, and generally do not have the time (or the training) to focus on helping individual members in achieving their personal fitness goals.
Online Study for Personal Trainers
If you decide to pursue your Certificate III and IV in Fitness from PT Academy, we have a Flexible Learning program intended to give you as much freedom as possible to study when and how is best for you. You’ll have access to a series of interactive online video lectures from some of the best educators in the fitness industry. These pre-recorded lectures give you the freedom to study at your own pace, whenever you have time. There’s no need to rush from work, sacrifice time with your family, or give up your holidays.
PT Academy students will have up to twelve months to complete each certificate via their online study. And you won’t have to worry about cramming for a monstrous final at the end of the process. Instead, you’ll answer a series of incremental quizzes as you progress through the material. This measured approach helps our students retain the information they’re learning, helping them build knowledge gradually and at their own pace.
Am I too old to become a Personal Trainer?
Almost certainly not. No matter your age, as long as you’re in good physical condition and have both a passion for fitness and for helping others attain their goals, you’re good PT material. Older personal trainers find that there are actually some benefits to their age—the kind of life experience an older person has is a very real advantage over younger trainers, and life experience can’t be taught. A career as a personal trainer may be ideal for someone who’s older.
Many older people are getting into fitness—they have both the time and the discretionary income to pursue it, and as health consciousness continues to rise and our population continues to age, this trend is likely to continue. Many of these older gym goers may feel more comfortable with a personal trainer who has a few years under their belt, as your maturity will lend you an air of authority and confidence to which your clients will respond well.
Don’t Wait—The Best Time to Start Is Today
We hope this has answered many of the questions you might have about being a personal trainer and what it takes to pursue it as a career. The best time to start is right now, and the best way to get started is to talk with a knowledgeable fitness professional about what you hope to attain. A Certificate III in Fitness is your first step along that path, and the best place to pursue a course of study that will lead you there is the Personal Training Academy. Our dedicated, expert fitness educators will give you everything you need to start living your dream.