How to Become a Fitness Trainer in Maine

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According to numbers released by Maine’s Center for Workforce Research and Information, between 2012 and 2022 the number of jobs for personal trainers is expected to increase at nearly twice the state’s average job growth rate. In fact, of all rural areas in the nation, the Southwest portion of Maine ranks fifth as having the highest level of employment for personal trainers.

Your clients will value and respect you for helping them stay fit. This value is reflected in the average wage that Maine’s personal trainers earn – calculated at over $20 an hour in 2013. As it stands, of all metropolitan areas in the country, the greater Portland area pays its personal trainers the sixth-highest average salary in the nation at more than $59,000 a year as of 2013.

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A career in Maine’s diverse personal fitness industry will involve helping people maintain a healthy lifestyle with the right balance of exercise and good diet, as well as training athletes for events like the Chilly Cheeks Winter Triathlon in Caribou, the Maine Marathon in Portland, or the Titcomb Ski Race.

Earning Strong Personal Training Credentials

To be a viable candidate for personal trainer jobs within Maine’s competitive job market, you need to have the right qualifications. You will find that most employers prefer or require you to have a relevant college degree, a nationally-recognized personal trainer certification, or both.

Traditional College Education for Personal Training

Maine’s colleges and universities offer a number of degree programs with majors designed to prepare you for a successful career in the personal fitness industry. You will use the knowledge you gain in your college classes everyday as you help your clients achieve their personal fitness goals. Many schools even offer programs partially or entirely online with flexible schedules designed to allow you to continue working and maintaining your own physique.

Examples of relevant associate’s and bachelor’s degree majors you can consider include:

  • Kinesiology and Physical Education – this degree will incorporate classes like:
    • Anatomy and physiology
    • Motor development and learning
    • Adapted physical education
    • Physiology of exercise
  • 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
  • Health Sciences – as part of this degree program you will study subjects like:
    • Human nutrition
    • Psychology of sport and physical activities
    • Health promotion programs
    • Health research

Not only will earning a college degree in a field related to personal training satisfy many employers’ minimum requirements, a degree will also fulfill the education requirements of some nationally recognized certification organizations.

Nationally Recognized Personal Trainer Certification

Employers will often have specific preferences when it comes to personal trainer certifications. These are a common requirement in most of Maine’s gyms and fitness clubs. Some of the most widely accepted nationally recognized certifications include those sponsored by these organizations:

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

What You Can Expect as a Personal Trainer in Maine

As a personal trainer in Maine you could work with clients in gyms and fitness centers, as well as in outdoor settings as the trend toward real-world training continues to gain momentum.

You may find that your clients prefer to work on-site, having you offer your guidance to enhance their performance of activities like:

  • Mountain biking along the Maine Hut Trail
  • Hiking on trails at Tumbledown Mountain and Little Jackson
  • Swimming in Alamoosook Lake
  • Snowshoeing in Bradbury Mountain State Park
  • Cross-country skiing along the trail through Sebago Lake State Park

It is likely that at some point in your career you will find yourself in a fitness or health club, as these are the largest employers of personal trainers in Maine. In an effort to select only the most qualified personal trainers, health clubs usually prefer that you have some type of professional credential.

A recent survey (March 2015) of actual job vacancies taken from across Maine revealed the following results. These are examples of the positions you can apply for once you have attained the necessary qualifications:

A university in Orono was looking for a Personal Trainer to work at its campus recreation facility to help students and faculty meet their fitness goals. The minimum requirements for this position included at least one nationally-recognized personal trainer certification.

A high-profile corporation based in Westbrook was advertising for a Health Promotion Specialist to work with employees on developing workout regimens, diet plans, and to promote health events. The minimum requirements for this position included at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field plus three years of related work experience.

A Westbrook company was searching for a Group Fitness Instructor with a background in a field like personal training to teach classes including Zumba, yoga, indoor cycling, and TRX. Minimum requirements for this job included a professional certification as well as AED/CPR certification. Candidates would receive preferential consideration for having a bachelor’s degree in a field related to Exercise Science.

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