How Long Does it Take to Become a Personal Trainer?

Unfortunately, the solution is not as simple as one may think. There are several variables at play, including your work schedule, motivation levels, the amount of study time you have available, and more.

The additional time required to maintain your fitness knowledge in the coming years is another important consideration. We have reasons to suspect you’re interested in becoming a personal trainer since you were able to access this page. 

We will examine the five most common PT certificates and the maximum time needed to complete each course in order to make things clearer.

This article entails all you need to know about the time taken to become a personal trainer. 

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Who is a Personal Trainer?

A personal trainer assists their customers in achieving specific fitness objectives, such as weight loss, strength training, toning, or managing their general health. 

The degree of fitness of each client can vary greatly, thus a trainer might introduce one client to basic exercises, aid another with a weight loss program, and help a third with advanced training objectives.

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What is a Personal Training School Like?

If you enjoy working out and assisting others in reaching their objectives, becoming a personal trainer can be an excellent career choice. 

You may have performed informal personal training over the years as a fitness enthusiast, coached, or developed a fitness regimen for yourself. However, there are further procedures to complete in order to become certified as a personal trainer, work, or launch your own business.

With a high school diploma and a professional license or certification from organizations like the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or the National Academy of Sports Medicine, you can work as a personal trainer. 

A degree, however, will help you stand out from the competition when applying for personal trainer positions. A 2021 Emsi occupational report states that 47% of personal trainers have a bachelor’s degree or higher. (Nearly 50% hold a bachelor’s degree or better.) 

Many firms prefer to recruit personal trainers with bachelor’s degrees, according to a fast search on Additionally, jobs that call for a degree are more likely to be full-time, pay more, and offer greater benefits.

There is no specific schooling for those who intend to become personal trainers but schooling advances your personal prestige

If you know how to attract customers and hold them responsible for achieving their wellness and fitness goals, personal training can be a financially successful career option. 

Since you can go on to obtain additional related certificates like group fitness certification, strength and conditioning certification, health coach certifications, and nutrition certifications, becoming a certified personal trainer is really just the beginning.

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Is Attending a Personal Trainer School Worth it?

A level of knowledge in all the necessary areas, such as anatomy and physiology, is guaranteed by having a certification when starting a career in the fitness industry. 

This knowledge may not be present in other self-trained personal trainers who may be knowledgeable only in client-coaching techniques and the practical side of it.

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What Schooling Do You Need to Become a Personal Trainer?

Step 1: , obtain a high school diploma. 

Only a high school diploma or GED is needed for the majority of national certification programs. In most areas, getting your GED should only take three months and cost less than $150.

Step 2: Complete your AED/CPR training. 

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) certification courses are required for personal trainers. These courses show trainers how to assist a patient in need of medical attention until an ambulance comes. 

AED and CPR certifications are required by almost all national personal training certification organizations. They normally take four hours and can cost up to $55.

Step 3: Select a Specialty in Fitness 

Prospective trainers should select a speciality that aligns with their skill sets, interests outside of work, and career objectives. 

Review the numerous fitness certifying bodies and each of their fitness certificates after deciding on your area of expertise. Pick the curriculum that best fits your needs and your objectives.

Step 4: Obtain Certification 

Personal trainer certifications are mostly accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The principal certification bodies are: 

  • Americans for Sports Medicine 
  • Sports Medicine National Academy 
  • Exercise American Council 
  • National Association for Strength and Conditioning 

You must get ready for the exam after selecting the certification you want. Online practice questions are available for the majority of tests, and there are also online study aids. You should put a lot of effort into your studies and be self-assured when you register.

Step 5: Complete and pass the certification test 

It’s time to sign up for your exam if you feel ready, enthusiastic, and eager to become a personal trainer. This usually entails filling out an application and paying a fee. 

There will probably be 120–150 questions on the test, which will be computer-based. The number and types of questions will be similar, but will vary depending on the particular test.

 For instance, the National Academy of Sports Medicine’s (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer Certification exam comprises questions in four sections: 

  • Program Development 
  • Exercise Techniques and Client Consultation for Fitness Assessment 
  • Emergency/Safety Concerns

Step 6: Create a Portfolio and Apply for Jobs 

It’s up to you to choose the greatest fit now that you’re qualified for work in a variety of fitness environments. You might start by looking for job ads on the websites of the NASM and other fitness organizations. 

Working at your neighborhood gym and perhaps observing an expert trainer will help you gain experience. Some brand-new personal trainers decide to set up shop on their own and work without supervision.

Step 7: Alternatives for Further Education 

You’ll need to keep learning and developing as the fitness industry develops if you want to remain competitive. Among the ways to do that are: 

  • taking classes at a college with a career focus 
  • enrolling in training or degree programs at a community college 
  • enrolling in outside personal training programs 
  • selecting a four-year university to attend
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How Long Does it Take to Become a Licensed Personal Trainer in 2024?

The basic personal trainer certification course offered by the ISSA can often be finished in less than a year, however the exact time frame depends on your needs and available time. 

Even though it might take longer, continuing to work at your existing employment while concentrating on your coursework in the evenings and on the weekends will still help you reach your objective. 

The next step after earning your certification as a personal trainer is to decide whether you want to work in a gym or start your own business. If you own your own business, you can offer in-person services or work as a personal trainer online. 

A worthy objective is earning a personal trainer certification. This is an excellent job choice if you enjoy working out, have a passion for fitness and health, and enjoy interacting with and assisting people. 

Professional trainers who are qualified and dedicated will continue to be in demand as people’s interest in getting in shape and losing weight grows.

It only has to be a weekend seminar to earn a certification as a fitness trainer and start working as a personal trainer at a studio gym, boutique gym, or group fitness facility. 

It typically takes 3-6 months to complete the required coursework and pass the exam to become certified as a personal trainer through organizations like ISSA, NASM, or ACE to work in a global gym. 

Most fitness instructors need 6–12 months to study for and pass the case studies and quizzes in the OPEX Coaching Certificate Program. 

It is clear that there is no set path to becoming a personal trainer. You could be looking at anything between two days and a year.

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How Much Does it Cost to Be a Licensed Personal Trainer?

The price range for the exam and study materials is between $399 and $799, however we go into more detail below about what each certification body charges. 

Therefore, you can estimate that the majority of certification bodies will charge you $500 or less to become qualified as a personal trainer.

Depending on the certification level, personal trainer certification costs vary. A master certification can cost upwards of $2,000 for the materials and exam, compared to an entry-level personal trainer certification’s $400–$600 cost. 

Strength training, senior fitness, and junior fitness specialist certifications often cost between $400 and $500. 

In addition, some certification agencies charge a flat fee of $200 to $600 for the exam alone. While others charge as little as $46 for study materials and as much as $2,400 for complete study packages.

 If course and test expenses are a concern for you, financing options and payment plans are frequently accessible to those who are eligible. 

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Salary and Job Outlooks for Personal Trainer After Study

Incentives to join gyms or other forms of health clubs are predicted to raise demand for fitness trainers and instructors as companies continue to recognize the advantages of health and fitness programs for their employees. 

To encourage employee wellbeing, some companies, for instance, might build their own fitness facilities on-site. 

The continued emphasis on exercise to fight obesity and promote healthier lifestyles for people of all ages will result in additional employment growth. Baby-boomers in particular should continue to be active to help prevent illnesses and injuries linked to aging. 

It is anticipated that more people will practice yoga and pilates, partially as a result of older folks looking for low-impact exercises to help with their arthritis and other health issues.

Personal trainers are experts in exercise who guide clients through safe workouts to meet specific fitness objectives. They normally work with a single customer at a time, as opposed to fitness instructors who instruct groups of people. 

Personal trainers evaluate a client’s existing fitness level prior to beginning a fitness program in order to assist them in setting strength and weight objectives.

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Salary Information 

Many fitness professionals work part-time jobs and occasionally shift between many health facilities to maintain a full-time commitment. 

Many seasoned personal trainers operate independently, frequently have a more flexible schedule, and make more money than those who work for specific gyms or health facilities. As of March 2021, the majority of personal trainers earned between $24,000 and $71,000. 

Additionally, these workers earned a median salary of $40,000 per year. Professionals with one to four years of experience made an average compensation of $39,000, while those with five to nine years of personal training expertise earned an average salary of $43,000 per year.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What credentials are required of me to become a trainer?

You need possess the Level 3 Award in Education and Training (RQF) – PTLLS for training. This is the ideal starting point for anyone looking to work as a trainer.

Can I become a personal trainer and earn well?

Yes, becoming a personal trainer and earning well is very possible. Even entry-level personal trainers can earn more than $25 per hour, and if they are skilled, they can easily make up to $100 per hour.

Is working as a personal trainer worthwhile?

Personal training delivers on your desire for a fulfilling profession. It’s tremendously gratifying to assist people in reaching their fitness objectives. In addition, you may observe directly the health advantages of increasing their physical activity.

Is becoming a personal trainer challenging?

It’s simple to become a personal trainer. All you need to do is be prepared to put in the time and effort necessary to study the various personal training concepts and put them to use in a gym setting.


A gratifying career option that many individuals like is that of a personal trainer since it gives them the chance to assist others in achieving their fitness objectives. Education, certificates, and other training are frequently necessary to become a personal trainer.



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