Questions to ask yourself:
Am I a people person?
Do you hide in an office or do you walk and talk to everyone? Do you look for ways to be with people or do to be alone? If you don’t feel comfortable constantly meeting new people, you may want to look at a new career.
When am I willing to work ?
Many clients want to get their workouts in before work…early mornings. Some after work…late nights. Some even on the weekends…agh! You initially may miss some kid’s plays, dinners, sporting events, and even sleep. All trainers dream about having the 9 to 5, full schedule day, but that won’t happen without a little sacrifice to begin with. Over time your schedule can morph into an awesome lifestyle.
Am I a self motivator/starter?
Do you like getting things going yourself, and following through? Many like the start, but few follow through. No one is going to hand you clients, or at least ones worth having, so you are going to have to have face time (if you want a 9:00am client you better be there at 9:00am talking to everyone) Being there is paramount to success!
Do I work well leading groups?
You are going to be leading clients through life changing events; you have better be passionate about leading people who constantly question you and themselves about the sacrifices they are making. There are not successful follower trainers.
Am I comfortable helping people?
If you are not passionate about helping others, go get a job as a telemarketer. This is not the job for you. You can only handle peoples issue a short while if dollars are all you are looking at.
Am I comfortable in front of people?
You can’t hide as a trainer. Some work better in groups, some one on one. Find your niche and revel in your discovery. But don’t hide
These include a large number of certifications (AAAI/ISMA, AFAA, ACE), with many crossovers (NSCA -CPT), Many of these are entry level programs, but give you the basics for your career. They also give you the ability to get insurance needed for training. Remember, it’s not the certification, but what you do with it! Richard Simmons started without a certification and I think he has done well (note…he now is certified).
Athletic training facility (Professional, School, Teams, etc.)
If you have the desire to train professional athletes, sports teams or the next Carl Lewis (who’s Carl Lewis?), then you are going to have to obtain a more rigorous training program, probably involving a degreed program. (NSCA-CSCS).
*note to self…these jobs are few and far between, some not even based on merit, but who you know. If you are not in that scene, you may have problems getting the job.
Rehabilitation / clinical
If you have the gift of putting people back together, or motivating them to make radical changes based on poor life choices, this is your cup of Gatorade. Again, advanced training is necessary to get started (ACSM), and time on task is imperative for success.