How to: become a qualified fitness pro
It's all about carefully taking your pick of the qualifications and training programmes on offer, and choosing which ones will give you the greatest career benefits. It can be tricky to navigate all the options, which is why we've picked out what you need to look for…
Set yourself apart
Formal education is an essential part of becoming a fitness professional, and you'll find that you can study a broad range of subjects. Exercise Science is becoming a standard degree option at many universities - this can be a great way to give your knowledge a strong grounding, before building on your skills with a couple of specialist courses that guide you towards your particular interests.
When deciding on what to study (and where), consider whether the certification you're interested in is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). All NCCA courses are thoroughly checked and evaluated on a regular basis, so you can rest assured that they're worth your time and money.
Ready to specialise?
Once you've got your main NCCA course sorted, it's time to look at your options for specialising. Think carefully about what you'd like to focus on: there's everything from group fitness instruction and sports performance to clinical training and injury prevention.
Another thing to consider is whether you'd like to be seen as a specialist in a particular subject, or as a broad-spectrum generalist - that is, able to train clients in a range of disciplines.
Once you've completed your chosen courses, gaining experience working day-to-day in the fitness industry is invaluable. Get in touch with a range of businesses you're interested in learning more about, and ask if you'd be able to shadow a member of their team for a few days or weeks.
Learning directly from fitness professionals is a great way to learn things that you might not be able to pick up from textbooks and lectures - so get out there, and practice the skills you've studied. It'll be satisfying to see your knowledge put to use, and experience what it'll be like once you take on your first role as a fitness pro yourself.