Do You Need a Degree to be a Personal Trainer?

April 6, 2015

In the several years that I have been a professional fitness trainer I find that I have been asked several questions over and over. I’d like to take a minute and address one of the most popular. These are merely my own thoughts and opinions and in no way reflect how other professional fitness trainers think about the following subject. Lets get started.


Do I need a degree to become a professional fitness trainer?

I tell my clients and my students that the only correct answer to many questions about fitness and professional fitness training is “it depends”. This case isn’t any different. The fact of the matter is that you don’t need a degree, but it is very helpful. Let me explain why. A degree represents a type of standardization. It shows that you went through certain steps and were held accountable to many standards. It shows that you started a project and finished it. It shows that you put forth the required work to obtain it. It indicates that you accomplished certain goals and built upon them. This is a surefire way for prospective clients to quickly determine a level of credibility. It doesn’t really matter if it’s a two-year degree or a four-year degree. What matters to prospective clients is that you have a degree.

Another reason why having a degree is very beneficial is because it opens doors to other certifications. Many advanced certifications require a two and four year degree. Some even require a graduate degree. Most professional fitness trainers are going to have to work with the geriatric population at some point. The American College of Sports Medicine has several outstanding advanced certifications that require at least a two-year degree. Many of them may make exceptions but it generally requires multiple years of time in the field before you are eligible to sit for the exam.

The last reason a degree becomes helpful is when searching for a job. It is true that many fitness centers state that they require a degree, but at the same time have many trainers who do not have a degree. While this may be confusing at first it actually makes a lot of sense. More and more fitness centers are realizing that is highly beneficial to hire trainers that are ultimately serious about fitness. A degree is a simple way to quickly identify potential candidates when looking through resumes. A degree helps you stand out more than others and it may be just the thing that catches the future employer’s eye!

If you are looking for a degree that can not only look great on a resume but also help you build your client base then check out Community Care College’s Associates of Occupational Science. Not only will it give you the instant credibility needed to land your dream training job, but it will also teach you the necessary skills to manage your training business!