The number of available personal trainer jobs is only growing. The 10-year job forecast for personal trainers is higher than most other industries on average, with a projected growth rate of 15 percent by 2029 and about 64,400 job openings each year.

What’s more, the annual median salary for fitness professionals is $40,510 with an earning potential above $76,000. This exceeds what 50 percent of workers in a different occupation will make each year. In other words, you chose an ideal time to get certified!

Of course, a job market on the upswing also means more competition. How do you stand out in the crowd of other aspiring personal trainers and get the personal training jobs you’re hoping to land? Use these strategies to set yourself up for success now that you’ve earned your certification.

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Focus on Building a Professional Network

This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to overlook because the benefits aren’t immediate. Whether the goal is to run your own business or work for an established gym, in order to launch a career, you first have to network. Growing this group of people who you’ll turn to throughout your career is critical. 

The good news is, starting to build a network takes just a few small steps, including:

  • Attend fitness-related events to meet potential clients and connections. 
  • Join personal trainer and health professional networking events virtually or in your local area.
  • Connect with people who are already in the industry and treat them to coffee in exchange for tips on how they found success in the industry.  
  • Get active online, like on Instagram and LinkedIn, where you can connect with other fitness professionals and companies who may be looking to hire.

The key is to make genuine connections. As Adrian Granzella Larssen, former Editor-and-Chief of The Muse, explains: “It’s not about distributing as many business cards as possible—it’s about making real connections with people so that they remember you and want to stay in touch after the event.”

 

Don’t Turn Down Entry Level Opportunities

It might not be the most exciting job out there, but an entry level position at the front desk of a health club or as the assistant to a more experienced trainer can be valuable. Not only does it make your name, face and skillset more visible in the local fitness community, but it gives you a chance to learn and build a resume. 

Even these entry-level or admin-focused personal trainer jobs will expose you to the inner-workings of how this industry functions, as well as connect you to other professionals who can help you advance. Use this as a chance to prove you’re reliable, effective and competent as you work your way to being a personal trainer.

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Look Beyond the Typical Fitness Center

While a major fitness center might be an obvious starting point, there are many other places to find personal training jobs. Limiting your job search to the larger, more conventional spaces will close you off to all the opportunities available—some of which you might not even know exist. 

While there are clear benefits to working for a corporate fitness center, consider what your passions are and who you truly want to work with. For example, here are some other places to look for personal trainer jobs that may better suit the vision you have for your career:

  • Spas, resorts or cruise ships
  • Senior living facilities
  • Boutique exercise studios (think: spin or barre studios)
  • Community recreational centers
  • Apartment complexes  
  • Educational or non-profit spaces

 

Grow Your Expertise with a Specialty Focus

Getting your certification is a great first step toward building a career in fitness. Depending on what you want to do, or how competitive you want to look to potential employers, it’s exactly that: only a first step. 

While you can use that certification to begin training clients, you may need to consider expanding on that to get the personal trainer jobs you have your eye on. For example, a degree in ISSA’s Bachelor of Exercise Science program will help you concentrate on a specialized area of focus such as kinesiology, biomechanics, physiology, nutrition, and sports or exercise management. You also finish with a college degree that makes your resume stand-out in the stack of others.

Adding a specialty onto your list of credentials will broaden your career prospects too. Graduates of ISSA’s bachelor program can rise to director positions at fitness centers and wellness retreats or even work in healthcare as an exercise clinician. The more skills you can offer clients or employers, the more in-demand of a trainer you’ll be. 

Before jumping into a degree or speciality program, give yourself time to decide what you really want to do. This might mean working a few standard personal trainer jobs at local gyms to get a feel for who you enjoy working with or what you enjoy doing. With clarity on what you want to do with your career, you can enroll in a program that will help you get there.

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Prepare Now to Get the Personal Trainer Jobs You Want

With a strong job outlook on the horizon and your new certification in hand, it’s time to put your skills to the test. Whether you plan to take the self-employed route or work for an established business, there are many diverse career options for a personal trainer. Take time to build your network and don’t ignore entry level positions that can help you grow. Finally, look beyond the usual jobs and consider expanding your repertoire with extra training to build a career you really love