Fitness Trainer and Aerobics Instructor

Aerobics Instructor, Aerobics Teacher, Certified Personal Trainer, Exercise Specialist   More Names
Exercise Teacher, Exerciser, Fitness Attendant, Fitness Consultant, Fitness Coordinator, Fitness Director, Fitness Instructor, Fitness Specialist, Fitness Teacher, Fitness Technician, Fitness Trainer, Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors, Fitness Worker, Group Exercise Instructor, Group Fitness Instructor, Karate Instructor, Martial Arts Instructor, Personal Coach, Personal Fitness Manager, Personal Trainer, Physical Education Instructor, Physical Education Teacher (PE Teacher), Physical Fitness Teacher, Physical Fitness Trainer, Physical Instructor, Pilates Instructor, Recreation Specialist, Sports Instructor, Swim Instructor, Water Aerobics Instructor, Weight Trainer, Weight Training Instructor, Wellness Coach, Yoga Instructor, Yoga Teacher, Zumba Instructor
Description

Teach or coach groups or individuals in exercise activities and the fundamentals of sports. Demonstrate techniques and methods of participation. Observe participants and inform them of needed corrections.

Reasons for corrections may include improving skills, avoiding injuries, and increasing overall physical fitness. Instruct participants in maintaining exertion levels to maximize benefits from exercise routines. Offer alternatives during classes and workout sessions to accommodate different levels of fitness.

Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors work for hospitals, health clubs and gyms, country clubs, yoga and pilates studios, resorts, universities, and clients' homes. They also work for businesses where they organize and direct health and fitness programs for employees. Although gyms and health clubs offer a variety of exercise activities, such as weight lifting, yoga, cardiovascular training, and karate, fitness trainers and aerobics instructors typically specialize in only a few areas.

Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities, including cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and stretching. They may be divided into three broad groups: personal instructors, group instructors, and directors.

Personal fitness trainers and aerobics instructors work one-on-one or with two or three clients, either in a gym or in clients' homes. They help clients assess their level of physical fitness and set and reach fitness goals. They also demonstrate various exercises and help clients improve their exercise techniques. They may keep records of their clients' exercise sessions to monitor progress towards improved physical fitness. They also may advise their clients on how to modify their lifestyles outside of the gym to improve fitness, such as through changes in diet and nutrition.

Group fitness trainers and aerobics instructors conduct group exercise sessions that usually include aerobic exercise, stretching, and muscle conditioning. Two popular conditioning methods taught in exercise classes are pilates and yoga. In these classes, instructors demonstrate the different moves and positions of the particular method; they also observe students and advise them on proper form and technique.

Cardiovascular conditioning classes often are accompanied by music which is choreographed with an exercise sequence. Group fitness trainers and aerobics instructors are responsible for ensuring that their classes are motivating, safe, and challenging; yet not too difficult for participants.

Fitness trainer and aerobics instructor directors oversee the fitness-related aspects of a health club or fitness center. They develop and oversee programs that meet the needs of the club's members, including new-member orientations, fitness assessments, and workout incentive programs. They also select fitness equipment; coordinate personal training and group exercise programs; hire, train, and supervise fitness staff; and carry out administrative duties.

Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors in smaller facilities with few employees may perform a variety of functions in addition to their fitness duties, such as greeting customers at the front desk, giving tours of the fitness center, signing up new members, developing posters and flyers, or supervising weight-training and cardiovascular workout areas.

In larger commercial facilities, fitness trainers and aerobics instructors often work to sell particular services to members, and split their time among doing office work, engaging in personal training, and teaching classes. In some centers, the fitness director also may teach classes and conduct personal training.

Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors generally enjoy flexibility in their daily activities. Group exercise instructors choreograph or plan their own classes, and personal trainers have the freedom to design and implement their clients' workout routines. Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors, however, do run the risk of suffering injuries during physical activities.

Those planning careers as a fitness trainer or aerobics instructor should be outgoing, excellent communicators, good at motivating people, and sensitive to the needs of others. Excellent health and physical fitness are important because of the physical nature of the job. Those who wish to be personal or group trainers in a large commercial fitness center should have strong sales skills. In addition, all fitness trainers and aerobics instructors should have the personality and motivation to attract and retain clients.

Personal fitness trainers and aerobics instructors may advance to a head trainer position, with responsibility for hiring and overseeing the personal training staff and for bringing in new personal-training clients. Group fitness trainers and aerobics instructors may be promoted to group exercise director, a position responsible for hiring instructors and coordinating exercise classes. With more experience, a fitness trainer and aerobics instructor might become the fitness director of an organization, managing the fitness budget and staff.

Credentials Needed: Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors are not required to be state licensed or registered. In general, the most important characteristic that employers look for when hiring new, entry-level fitness trainers and aerobics instructors is the ability to train individuals safely, or plan and lead a class that is motivating and safe.

In the fitness and aerobics field, there are a number of organizations that offer voluntary industry-based certification. These organizations include the American College of Sports Medicine  (ACSM); the American Council on Exercise (ACE); the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM); the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); and the Cooper Institute.

Exact certification requirements for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors vary among certification sponsors. Most require candidates to have a high school diploma, be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and have the knowledge to pass an exam. All certification exams have a written component, and some also have a practical component. The exams measure knowledge of human physiology, understanding of proper exercise techniques, assessment of client fitness levels, and development of appropriate exercise programs.

There is no particular training program required for certification as a fitness trainer or aerobics instructor; candidates may prepare however they prefer. Certifying organizations do offer study materials, including books, CD-ROM's, other audio and visual materials, and exam preparation workshops and seminars, but candidates are not required to purchase materials to register to take certification exams.

For Pilates instructors, the Pilates Method Alliance offers a voluntary instructor certification that requires 450 hours of documented training or 720 hours of full-time work over the previous twelve months.

Some Key Things to Remember: Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities, including cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and stretching. They teach or coach groups or individuals in exercise activities and the fundamentals of sports. They also demonstrate techniques and methods of participation, and observe participants and inform them of corrections needed to improve their skills. Employers usually are looking for entry-level fitness trainers and aerobics instructors who can do the job correctly and safely for the benefit of clients. They are not required to have a state license, but employers often look for an appropriate industry-based certification as a benchmark of training knowledge, skills and competencies.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
8% - Average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $24,120 - $55,010    Hourly: $12 - $26
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

Oral Expression, Time Sharing, Manual Dexterity, Speech Clarity, Information Ordering, Oral Comprehension, Multi-limb Coordination, Gross Body Coordination, Stamina, Speed of Limb Movement, Trunk Strength.

Multi-limb Coordination Able to coordinate movements of one or both limbs together (for example, one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down (and not while moving).

Gross Body Coordination Able to coordinate the movement of your arms, legs, and torso together when the whole body is in motion. Stamina Able to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath. Speed of Limb Movement Able to quickly move the arms and legs. Trunk Strength Able to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.

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Legal Requirements
General/Nationwide
State-Specific
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(Data Drawn from O*NET)
 
      

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Certificate (High School + 0-4 years, Certificate awarded)
Find Programs

Percent Job Growth:

8% - Average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $24,120 - $55,010

Hourly: $12 - $26