How to Become a Personal Trainer in Illinois
Illinois is a great place to be a personal trainer in the United States. Illinois is a very populated state with a large percentage of the population focusing in the Chicago metro area. We are frequently asked, "How do I become a personal trainer in Illinois?" - or, "How do I become a personal trainer in Chicago?" - or, Naperville, Springfield, etc. The answer is much the same as it is in the rest of the United States. Of course, there is becoming a personal trainer, and then, there is becoming a successful personal trainer. In this article, we will discuss not only what it takes to become a personal trainer, but what it takes to make a career out of personal training in Illinois.
Becoming a Personal Trainer in Illinois
Most employers and insurance companies require that personal trainers have a nationally accepted certification, an educational background in an exercise-related field or both. Of course, we are biased towards the American Sports & Fitness Association (ASFA) certifications! We do recommend going into your new career choice with a game plan. Check with employers that you might want to work for and ask what they require. Make sure that you meet all the requirements of the certification agency that you have selected (usually age and/or educational, keeping an active CPR certification, passing the certification exam, etc.).
Once you have done your homework on what it takes to be a personal trainer in Illinois, there might still be some items to consider. First, will you need your own insurance? If so, you need to be sure that you have selected a certification that is partnered with reputable & national insurance companies. For example, ASFA is partnered with multiple insurance companies, including Berxi - a Berkshire Hathaway company. You can find those companies on our Insurance Page. You might also consider your target audience. Illinois is a large state with a large population. If you want to train professional athletes in Chicago, you might need different qualifications than if you are looking to train at a senior center in Peoria or Edwardsville. Either way, you will need to determine the type of training that you excel at, and match is with the niche in your area.
Education and Training Experience
Another path to personal training is through formal education. Many colleges offer degrees in exercise science, kinesiology, exercise physiology, human performance, etc. Many employers do require a certification with your degree; however, some employers will not hire you without a degree. Also, your training experience should be relevant and pertinent to your niche market. For example, if you have completed an internship or worked as a personal trainer for a youth community center, you might not have enough relevant experience to work in senior fitness as a senior home. Luckily, there are always pathways for advancement in the fitness industry. We offer certifications from broad to niche and from basic to master level to help accommodate your qualification needs.
One of the hardest aspects of starting a successful personal training career in Illinois is picking the right location and niche market. Many young personal trainers dream of becoming a celebrity trainer or a trainer for professional athletes. While that is possible, it is not how most personal trainers make their career. What is important is to become the best personal trainer that you can. If you view your job as positively changing people's lives through fitness, you can be a success - no matter who you train. In Illinois, your options for niche markets are plentiful. You can specialize in youth fitness, HIIT, kettlebell instruction, water aerobics and more. And, there is a market for each specialty. As a personal trainer, it is important to set realistic goals for both your clients and yourself. Know your audience; and excel in your abilities.
As stated above, Illinois is a large and populated state. Finding the right niche is about finding both what you are best at and what the community around you needs. Find your niche. Become the best that you can. Then, expand your knowledge.
What to Expect as a Personal Trainer in Illinois
You need to know that personal training is a hot industry in Illinois. You will have competition! You should have a game plan from the start. It's not just about becoming a personal trainer, it's about becoming a successful personal trainer.
After all the above steps about certification, education and insurance - you will need to know where you want to start your career and how you will plan on specializing it. One aspect of personal training that is rarely mentioned in articles is sales. In an ideal world, clients would always be matched with the right trainers who specialize in their needs. But, in many gyms - clients are matched with trainers who can sell their services. Sometimes, this creates a competition with your peers. In a state like Illinois, where the population of fitness professionals is high - you need a strategy to stick out from your peer group. We recommend a basic qualification and then niche, specialty qualifications to differentiate yourself.
Once you have started your career and have some name recognition as a successful personal trainer, you can consider expansion. Whether expanding means working for yourself, starting your own personal training company or gym or trying to get promoted in your current company - you have numerous opportunities for advanced. To summarize: plan right, choose your location, choose your specialties, do your best and make a name for yourself, then grow your potential! To checkout our personal training exam and see if it is right for you, just click the banner below!