With the growing trend of working with clients outside of the health club setting, fitness trainers in Mississippi have been known to offer clients everything from cycling posture tips along the Baton Rouge Mississippi River Levee Bike Path, to nutritional advice in preparation for the Zydeco Marathon in Lafayette. More often however, as a personal trainer in Louisiana you will work with ordinary people, young and old, who just need your help as they work to reach their own personal fitness goals.
Louisiana is an exciting place with a lot of potential for entrepreneurs in the personal fitness industry. That is what Crystal Adell discovered when she entered the field, founding the organization “Black Women DO Workout!” back in 2009. Still based in Louisiana, today Adell’s organization has an online following of more than one million subscribers. As a qualified independent personal trainer, you too have the potential to grow a very successful business and create your own niche.
As you plan for a career in personal fitness you will find that most employers either prefer or require candidates to have professional certification and related education. In the decade leading up to 2022 the Louisiana Workforce Commission expects an average of 60 full-time job openings for personal trainers in the state every year. Working in a competitive job market is all the more reason to earn the qualifications necessary to be a strong candidate – in more ways than one.
Educational Qualifications to Become a Personal Trainer in Louisiana
There are two main types of qualifications you can pursue as a prospective personal trainer: traditional college education and professional certification. Depending on the company you choose to work for, these may both be requirements for hire. And if you plan to work independently, you’ll need all the education and credentials you can manage to attract customers and effectively change their lives through exercise.
Traditional Education to Become a Personal Trainer
You can find many opportunities to take college classes that are relevant to personal training in Louisiana. Institutes of higher education offer programs online to accommodate busy work schedules, as well as in traditional classroom environments. Relevant degree programs are an important part of preparing for a successful career in Louisiana as a personal trainer.
Many employers require either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a field related to personal fitness training. You will use the knowledge you acquire at college everyday as you work to assess the needs of your clients and implement the best strategy to help them achieve their goals safely – and while having fun.
Relevant areas of study include – but are not limited to – the following:
- Kinesiology and Health – as part of this major you will study subjects including:
- Wellness concepts
- Biomechanics and kinesiology
- Physiology of exercise
- Motor control and motor learning
- Prevention and care of athletic injuries
- Physical Education – this degree program will incorporate classes like:
- Evaluation and measurement of achievements in kinesiology
- Physical education for individuals with disabilities
- Anatomy and physiology
- Dietetics – this major includes courses such as:
- Nutrition assessment
- Medical nutrition therapy
- Macronutrients, micronutrients and the human body
- Topics in dietetics practice
- Food and nutrition science
- Exercise Science – this major includes classes such as:
- Nutrition for physical performance
- Exercise, health, and sport sciences
- Intro to personal training
- Exercise for special population segments
Personal Trainer Certification Organizations
Besides having a degree and formal education, one of the most important qualifications you can develop as a personal trainer is nationally recognized industry certification. It’s a good idea take the strategic approach of asking prospective employers about the certifications they prefer.
The most popular national certification organizations include the following. Some of these organizations require you to have a college degree before even being eligible to take the certification exam:
- National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT)
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
- National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- International Fitness Association (IFA)
- The Cooper Institute
- Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)
- Professional Personal Trainers Association (PROPTA)
- International Sports Science Association (ISSA)
- National Personal Training Institute (NPTI)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- American Council of Exercise (ACE)
Working in Louisiana’s Personal Fitness Industry
Fitness and health clubs are the largest employers of personal trainers in Louisiana, with a growing trend of women’s only clubs like the Woman’s Center for Wellness in Baton Rouge opening their doors to women that might otherwise be uncomfortable in a typical gym setting.
The Woman’s Center for Wellness offers its members a variety of health and fitness services, including dietary counseling, several types of physical therapy, as well as a workout center where highly qualified personal trainers provide personalized services. As a personal trainer at this facility, you will work with your clients in individualized training, medical exercise programs, body weight training, and small group training sessions.
Take the small group training sessions as an example of your job duties. As part of this you will lead activities like:
- Pre and post-natal fitness
- Body toning and muscle building class
- Swimming class
- Classes that focus on weight loss
Each employer will have unique requirements for the personal trainer jobs they offer. Some of the most common competitive qualifications are revealed when you take a look through job ads. A survey taken for locations across the state in March of 2015 found the following vacancies and qualification requirements, shown here as an example of the kind of opportunities you might find:
LA Fitness in Slidell was looking to hire a personal trainer who could design and implement exercise programs for their clients. To be qualified, candidates would need to possess a personal trainer certification.
A Youfit branch in New Orleans was looking to hire a personal trainer who was qualified to help individual clients reach their fitness goals. This means you would need to have a nationally-recognized professional certification, and you could receive preferential consideration by having a related college degree.
A Gold’s Gym branch in New Orleans was advertising for a personal trainer who could provide clients with guidance on exercise, nutrition, and fitness programs. To qualify for this position you would need to have a nationally-recognized certification, or obtain one within 90 days of being hired. You also would need AED/CPR certification, and would receive preferential consideration if you had a college degree in a fitness-related field.