Can You Become a Personal Trainer Without Certification?


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If you love fitness and helping people lead a healthier life, a career as a personal trainer is a fantastic choice.

Working with people as a personal trainer is amazing, and if you’re considering making it your career, you might have a couple of questions.

One of the main questions personal trainers ask is “Do I need certification?” If you have the same question on your mind, you’re in luck because you’re in the right place.

There are no legal requirements to become a personal trainer. Still, having certification comes with its share of benefits as you’ll learn in today’s post.

A personal trainer is working out with the girl in the gym

Does a career as a personal trainer pay? Whether or not you have certification, you can expect to make an average of $40,390 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The future looks great for personal trainers too. According to the BLS, “employment of fitness trainers and instructors is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

Yes, you don’t need certification to become a personal trainer, but certification comes with a ton of benefits.

That said, let’s get down to business since there is a lot to cover.

5 Reasons Why You Should Acquire a Personal Trainer Certification

While you can work as a personal trainer without certification, you stand to benefit if you acquire the right personal trainer certification and here are some of the reasons.

1. You Establish Yourself as a Professional Trainer

Here’s a quick question. If you go to the gym, would you choose a certified personal trainer or someone without certification? Of course, you would go with the former. Why? Because certification establishes you as a professional trainer within the industry and if you plan to work with private clients.

You have the skills, experience, knowledge and documentation to prove it all. Certification makes you a professional in the eyes of all prospects.

2. You Will Have Well-Rounded Knowledge

Yes, you have personal training experience because you have been helping people work out for a long time. That might make you think certification is not necessary because you know your job.

However, how much do you know about the human body? How about nutrition or CPR? If a client needs help because of an unexpected injury, how will you help? You don’t want your clients to sue you because of injuries. A certification offers you the relevant knowledge you need to avoid injuries that could lead law suits.

Other than injuries, the knowledge you get comes in handy as you do your best to help your clients work out and live a healthier lifestyle. You learn all about nutrition, CPR and everything else that makes your job easier.

3. You’re More Employable

At the time of writing, there are no laws that require personal trainer certification. Still, many gyms and fitness centers only employ certified trainers. While some gyms or fitness centers will hire you without certification, having personal trainer certification improves your chances. That means you’ll ace more interviews than personal trainers without certification. 

Many gyms and fitness centers endeavor to provide their clients with high-quality services while keeping them safe. A personal trainer who is not certified could be a liability that employers don’t want.

4. If You Are Hired, It Will Be in a Limited Capacity

A personal trainer is checking the technique of her client white she is performing overhead squat

We all hate it when you’re assigned a position that is beneath your skill set and experience. If you are a personal trainer who wants a successful future, you want to acquire certification.

There are fitness centers that will hire uncertified personal trainers but limit their tasks. Sure, that does suck. Without certification, gyms will trust you to lead group classes but won’t let you take individual clients. That is limiting and will stall your career growth.

Some mentors will also say no to working with you without certification. It is just business. Certification gets you through many doors.

5. You May Not Get Business Insurance

Many personal trainers don’t think about insurance. That’s a fact, especially if you’re employed. Many gyms have liability insurance for their personal trainers, which shields you from financial loss if a client is injured.

If you plan to go solo and start your own small business, you need to take care of liability insurance because accidents happen all the time at the gym.

Without certification, many insurance companies will hesitate to insure your business because you’re a high-risk client.

And if they insure you, you can expect to pay higher premiums simply because you’re not insured. The right personal trainer certification helps you get favorable rates before you sign the policy.

Choosing the Right Personal Trainer Course

If you’d like to grow your personal trainer career, you must choose the right course. You will gain more knowledge and acquire certification that helps you to net the best jobs in town.

If you need more information about personal training certification, check out this comparison post: Is It Better to be an ISSA Personal Trainer or ACE?

You can find work without certification. However, certification improves your odds of getting the best job out there.