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How to Become a Fitness Trainer in Kansas

As a personal trainer in Kansas you will find you have the opportunity to work with clients from all walks of life. This could mean helping a youngster recover from a sporting accident incurred at the YMCA National Gymnastics Championships in Wichita, or helping elderly residents maintain their health so they are active enough to attend their favorite events like the Kansas Championship Ranch Rodeo.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 46 percent of adults in Kansas engage in at least moderate physical exercise on a regular basis, while 51 percent of Kansas’ high school students meet or exceed the recommended level of physical activity. You will work with these active residents as they prepare for activities like half-marathons including the Heartland 39.3, Rock the Parkway, and Running with the Cows.

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Whether helping athletes train for annual sporting events or helping ordinary people shed excess weight, you will have the opportunity to work in diverse settings that range from exclusive fitness clubs to your clients’ own homes. In this diverse field where clients are more and more often looking for personalized training outside of the gym, you may find yourself leading group yoga classes in Topeka’s Gage Park, offering canoeing posture tips to your clients during an outing on Wilson Lake, cycling on the Kanopolis Trails, or hiking along the Table Mound National Recreation Trail.

The Kansas Department of Labor projects that the number of personal trainer jobs in the state will increase by 18.5 percent statewide over the decade leading up to 2020, compared to just 12.4 percent for all occupations.

Becoming a Qualified Personal Trainer in Kansas

No matter where you work or who your clients are, employers and clients both look to personal trainers knowledgeable in the science of body movement, physiology and nutrition. This means that earning a degree in a relevant area of study and demonstrating competency through national certification is the standard for those in the personal fitness industry.

Traditional Personal Trainer Education

Earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a relevant field will lay a firm foundation on which you can base a successful career in fitness training. Not only will you apply the skills you learn on a daily basis, a college degree is also a requirement for certain personal training certifications.

You can find several colleges and universities throughout Kansas that offer degree programs that will qualify you for employment as a personal trainer. Schools often offer online courses that will allow you to maintain your training schedule in the gym while you complete your education.

You can find relevant associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in fields like:

  • Kinesiology – this major will incorporate classes like:
    • Biological basis of kinesiology
    • Exercise and mental health
    • Gender issues in exercise and sports
    • Anatomy and physiology
    • Research and measurement techniques
  • Dietetics – a degree in this subject requires the completion of courses such as:
    • Food science
    • Clinical nutrition
    • Research in dietetics practice
    • Nutritional assessment
    • Human ecology
  • Health and Nutrition – earning this degree means you will have completed classes like:
    • Energy balance
    • Metabolism of nutrients
    • Nutrition over the human lifespan
    • Microbiology
    • Nutrition for public health

Professional Certification Options

Professional personal trainer certifications go hand-in-hand with a relevant college degree. These are offered by a variety of national organizations, each with its own specific requirements. Some of the most recognizable certifications are offered by:

  • American Council of Exercise (ACE)
  • The Cooper Institute
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)
  • International Sports Science Association (ISSA)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
  • Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT)
  • International Fitness Association (IFA)
  • National Personal Training Institute (NPTI)

Working as a Personal Trainer in Kansas

The largest employers of personal trainers in Kansas are fitness centers and health clubs. 24 Hour Fitness in Olathe provides a good example of what you can expect while working at one of these establishments. The Olathe branch of 24 Hour Fitness currently employs three personal trainers who work with clients to help them achieve their fitness goals. As an employee of this club, you would provide clients with expert consultation and analysis and even lead group classes such as:

  • Cycling
  • Interval training with a high-intensity cardio workout
  • Zumba
  • Boot Camp strength and cardio sesion
  • Bodypump barbell class
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Yoga-lates

The following qualifications were drawn from a March 2015 survey of actual job vacancies at locations throughout Kansas. These are examples of the qualifications you might need to be competitive in your new career:

GYMGYZ in Overland Park was searching for a personal trainer who could work in clients’ homes throughout the area. To qualify for this position you would need to hold an approved national personal trainer certification as well as a current driver’s license and CPR certification.

The Olathe Family YMCA was looking for a personal trainer who had a nationally-recognized certification as well as at least an associate’s degree in a health-related field of study. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree would be preferred.

24 Hour Fitness in Olathe was advertising for a personal trainer who held a college degree in Exercise Fitness, Kinesiology, a related field, or who had a professional certification from an approved national organization.

Life Time Fitness in Overland Park was searching for a personal trainer with professional certification from an approved organization plus CPR and AED certifications within six months of hire. Candidates who held a bachelor’s degree in fields like Sports Medicine or Kinesiology would receive preferential consideration.

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