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The Question:

I am 18 years old and I graduated last year. I am very interested in becoming a certified personal trainer and even getting a degree in Kinesiology. I don't have very much money for college so I was wondering if there are any scholarships or grants out there for a person like me. I am also working hard to become a body builder. Is there any help out there for body builders wanting a college education? Please send me information about these scholarships/grants if there is such a thing!

I was also wondering what kind of schooling you need to become a certified personal trainer and how much do they really make a year?

The Answer:

You definitely need to go to college to be seen as a professional in the field. Remember, some day you will be paying your own bills or you might want to have a family. These things take money and a college degree opens a lot of doors! But, I was just like you when I was your age. A lot of hard work and continual education and the gathering of knowledge is what got me where I am today! Check out this address for a professional organization that deals in the strength and conditioning and personal training fields.

Also, personal trainers make money just like any profession. The better they are the more money they make. Most good trainers will make about $30,000 per year.

Here is my response to another member!
The fitness profession can be a very fulfilling career. It is, however, just like any career in that it is very competitive and starting pay is fairly minimal. I would recommend that you check out some basic certifications like the ACE certification and try some moonlighting as a trainer. Don't give up your paying job just yet. Remember, what we do as a hobby can become "just like work" once it's our job.

Health clubs are for-profit organizations that run a tight ship and sailing the ship also means having a great deal of experience in sales. Yes, selling memberships in a health club is what keeps it going! You can be a fitness director for a club or a corporate fitness center and not have to do as much sales but in a way, the better your programs are the more memberships the salespeople will sell and so everything is based on sales again. But, you would be in a position that would utilize your knowledge and experience in the fitness realm.

Fitness directors will usually make between $20,000 and $30,000 per year. But remember, you can't be a director until you have been drop-dead successful as a trainer first. So, you have to put in your time! Being a strength and conditioning coach (like me!) is the best job I can imagine. But, it is ridiculously hard to break into! Only division 1 programs have strength coaches and there are only 150 or so Div 1 programs in the country, so you can imagine those odds. Smaller colleges have strength coaches also but they are generally teachers and coaches. Or they coach football and do strength training together. So, you have to have a ton of experience as a coach or have a Master's Degree to get those jobs.

It sounds pretty bleak, I know. You could go down to a local fitness club or Bally's this afternoon and have a 75% chance to land a job as a fitness technician (floor trainer that does tours of the club and sells memberships). You will make about 5 bucks an hour but it will be an opportunity to refine your training skills, move up the ladder and eventually become a manager or fitness director. That's how it works. If you really want to do it. I would say do it! It can be very enjoyable as long as you know that it's not overly glamorous, takes long hours, doesn't pay very well and can take a few years to move into a top position! Once you make it though, it's awesome!!

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