How to Become a Fitness Trainer in Idaho

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As a personal trainer in Idaho you will play an important role in the overall health of the state’s residents. As the trend of working with clients outside of the confines of the fitness club continues to grow, you might be surprised at how fun and diverse your workweek could be. Besides doing things like jogging with your clients in the Boise Municipal Park while you offer tips on weight loss and posture, you may also work with individuals who want to become toned so they can show off a six-pack while paddle boarding on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Your clients can range from the young to the elderly, and from the fit to the infirm, each with their own needs and fitness goals.

Idaho is a national leader when it comes to personal trainer employment and salary. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Idaho Falls offers the second-highest concentration of personal trainer jobs in the nation. The state doesn’t just lead in urban environments either. The South-central Idaho non-metropolitan area offers the second-highest average personal trainer salary of all non-metro areas in the United States, most recently calculated at over $50,000 per year.

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If second place in two categories at the national level isn’t enough for you, personal training is ranked by Idaho’s Department of Labor as being among the fastest-growing occupations in the state. Between 2008 and 2018, the number of personal trainer jobs is expected to grow by around 45 percent statewide. This stands in contrast to the state’s average job growth rate over this same period – projected at around just 15 percent.

Perhaps Idaho places such a value on its personal trainers because it wants to dramatically improve the health of its residents. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation 65 percent of all adults in Idaho are overweight or obese, and as a personal trainer you can take pride in working to reduce this figure and help your fellow state residents look and feel great!

As you prepare to become a personal trainer, it is important to learn about the education and certification qualifications that Idaho’s fitness industry employers typically require.

Preparing to Become a Personal Trainer in Idaho

Fitness industry employers often prefer to hire job candidates with professional certification and/or a degree in a field related to health promotion of the science of body movement. Having a college degree that relates to personal training is also a requirement for certain nationally-recognized personal trainer certification options.

Idaho’s Colleges and Universities for Personal Trainers

As an Idaho resident you will find classes and degree programs that will prepare you for a career in personal training at colleges and universities throughout the state. To accommodate your own daily exercise routine and work schedule, many schools also compliment their curriculum with online courses. Other programs are available exclusively online.

Associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs with the following majors are all relevant to becoming a personal trainer:

  • Health Sciences
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Physical Therapy
  • Kinesiology
  • Exercise Science
  • Physical Education
  • Sports Medicine

In all these majors you are likely to encounter coursework that covers these key areas of study:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Musculo-skeletal system
  • Human chemistry and biology
  • Human body systems
  • Recuperative therapy and healing techniques
  • Muscle chemistry
  • Human nutrition, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
  • Movement and posture

You should also earn a CPR and first aid certification, as this is a requirement of personal trainers working at most of Idaho’s health clubs and other fitness facilities.

Personal Trainer Certifications for Idaho Residents

Often a requirement, and almost always preferred by Idaho’s fitness industry employers, personal training certification is offered through a number of nationally recognized agencies. Each organization has its own specific requirements, with the most significant players in this field including:

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

Education combined with certification represents a powerful set of qualifications that can help you when competing for the most sought-after personal trainer jobs.

Working in Idaho’s Health and Personal Fitness Industry

Listening to what employers are looking for is one of the best ways you can gain a clear understanding of how to prepare for success in Idaho’s personal fitness industry. A March 2015 survey of actual job announcements published across Idaho revealed the following qualification preferences and requirements.

These can be taken as examples of what personal trainer candidates need to work toward:

  • The Idaho Athletic Club, with locations in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, and Caldwell, says that it considers all applicants, but gives preference and higher pay to those with prior experience and/or certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
  • A fitness center in Meridian was recently advertising for a personal trainer intern college student majoring in a relevant field and with CPR certification. Preference would be given to applicants with a personal trainer certification from ACE, AFPA, ISSA, or NASM.
  • Evolve Performance Training in Ammon was recently seeking a Personal Training Consultant who would be evaluated on:
    • Prior experience
    • Personal trainer certifications
    • CPR and AED certifications
    • Attitude

The Idaho Athletic Club’s Total Women Fitness branch offers a good example of what personal trainers can expect when working at one of the state’s health clubs. Total Women Fitness offers its members access to highly qualified personal trainers that assist each client with their personal fitness goals through instruction, tips, and accountability.

Personal trainers can also participate in the many classes offered through the club that incorporate the latest theories and practices in health and fitness:

  • Body fusion classes that combine Pilates and yoga, also known as PiYo
  • Yoga
  • Kickboxing
  • Turbo kickboxing
  • Strength training
  • Zumba
  • Zumba toning
  • Spinning

Personal Training in Idaho’s Natural Environment

Personal trainers are not necessarily confined to indoor activities in Idaho. As a state with enviable scenery and natural beauty, personal trainers may also choose to work with their clients in the great outdoors. This can include doing activities like:

  • Yoga classes in Boise’s Ann Morrison Park
  • Wake boarding, kayaking, and canoeing along the state’s many waterways, including the Snake River, Lake Pend Oreille, and Hells Canyon
  • Cross-country skiing near McCall and Ashton along Nordic ski trails
  • Mountain biking along the Albert Moser Trail near Preston
  • Hiking in Thousand Springs State Park near Hagerman
  • Hiking in Bruneau Dunes State Park

Whether in a gym, fitness center, or outside, as a personal trainer in Idaho you will be directly contributing to the state’s overall health and well-being, helping residents live longer and more happily.

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