Aspiring Personal Trainer


I'm an aspiring personal trainer and would like to know the money difference between having a college degree and just starting out with a certificate.

I plan on getting a Bachelors degree in exercise science.

Will this make it easier to get a job?

Will I start off making more money?

What kind of positions are there in personal training?

How much money do personal trainers make?

Your knowledge on these subjects is greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Qualifications of Mike Behnken


Being a Personal Trainer Usually does NOT Require a College Degree

At least currently the above is true, however the personal training profession may soon move towards licensure.

This means there will be more strict education requirements to become a personal trainer in the future.

Currently it is sad to say that having a degree in exercise science does not guarantee a higher salary as a beginning personal trainer.

People with degrees in exercise science usually garner higher compensation but it is far from significant in most instances.

This is partly due to the fact that most personal trainers begin their careers in corporate health clubs.

The turnover ratio for personal trainers is very high so the health clubs really have no incentive to pay more to people with an exercise science or other college degree.

Positions in Personal Training

The most common positions personal trainer's advance to are fitness managers or directors. Fitness director is often a hated position for a personal trainer to have however, at least in my experience this seems to be the case.

Instead of training clients, which is usually the trainer's passion, they are forced to concentrate more on the sales and management of other trainers. Sometimes this can even drive fitness managers to go back to being a personal trainer or out of the fitness industry altogether.

A personal trainer's salary is largely dependent on their client base. For more information about the earning potential of personal trainers, read this page:

Choose your Path as an Aspiring Personal Trainer

Love Personal TrainingDo it for the Love

If you really love exercise, health and fitness, it is worth it to get a college degree in exercise science. If you have a burning desire to learn everything about the human body and how it performs and moves, a college degree in exercise science is the way to go.

You may find a path in the exercise science field you enjoy and further your specialized education. If you truly enjoy exercise science you will never look back and be glad you spent 4+ years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars to be the best personal trainer you can be.

Do it for the MoneyMoney

Keep in mind that only a very small percentage of personal trainers make "the big bucks. Your experience and client success is what will really help you increase your earnings as a personal trainer, but it takes time.

If you are simply looking to make money, a degree in exercise science is probably not the best thing you can do to make the most money as a personal trainer.

Due to lack of funding, many college exercise science programs curriculum is not as current as most certifications. Work hard at studying the material for the personal training certifications and apply the principles you learn to gain experience, and your experience will often times be more valuable than any college degree.

If money is what motivates you, a degree in business would make more sense since personal training is a business. You can also have the business degree to fall back on if you eventually decide being a personal trainer is not for you.

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