How to Become a Fitness Trainer in Maryland

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The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity released a report showing that as of 2010, 43 percent of adult Marylanders said they got 300 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise each week, or 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. However, 23.8 percent of the state’s adult residents said that they had not participated in any physical activity during the past month.

As a personal trainer, you will work with clients at all stages of activity – from novices that are just beginning to exercise and may be a bit timid, to very athletic people that have been exercising for years and need some help with targeting exercises, along with a little extra motivation. This is where you come in. As a personal trainer you’ll work to motivate clients of all ages and stages to become physically active and fit and to maintain that level of fitness.

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You may find work within physical rehabilitation centers such as Johns Hopkins Medical Center’s Physical Medicine Rehabilitation in Baltimore, or you may choose to work at fitness centers for senior citizens like the Frederick Senior Center in Frederick. Maybe you prefer to work at traditional health and fitness centers like Fiterrifix Personal Training for kids, adults and seniors in Bethesda.

According to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning, job prospects for personal trainers in Maryland are looking good for the foreseeable future. Statistics indicate that the number of jobs for personal trainers in Maryland will increase by 1791 between the years 2012 and 2022, representing an increase of 21 percent.

Steps to Becoming a Personal Trainer in Maryland

Education is your first step to becoming personal trainer. Earning the right type of college degree can make it much easier for you to seek professional certification, if desired, and find employment in Maryland’s health and fitness industry.

Degree Programs for Personal Trainers in Maryland

There are various majors that can benefit would-be personal trainers in Maryland, at both the associate and bachelor’s level. Many schools throughout the state and online offer associate and bachelor’s degrees within the following areas, all of which would be beneficial to you as you prepare to become a personal trainer:

  • Sports Medicine, with courses such as:
    • Orthopedic assessment
    • Physiology of exercise
    • Therapeutic modalities in sports medicine
    • Lifespan health and fitness
    • Biomechanics for exercise and sports science
  • Physical Education, including courses like:
    • Movement activities
    • Motor learning
    • Development, learning and assessment
    • Exercise physiology
    • Foundations of physical education
  • Kinesiology, with courses such as:
    • Psychology of sport
    • Physiology of exercise
    • Motor development
    • Biomechanics
    • History of sport in America

While other majors may contribute to the competencies of a personal trainer, the ones listed above are the most common majors chosen by Maryland’s personal trainers. Earning an associate or bachelor’s degree is elective, but keep in mind that employers generally prefer to hire personal trainers who hold degrees so as to ensure the safety of their members – especially in supervisory or leadership positions.

Professional Organizations Offering National Certification for Personal Trainers

National certification is an option for personal trainers in Maryland, but not a requirement. If you decide to seek certification, your degree will come in handy. Recent professional job postings for personal trainers in Maryland indicate that the following employers prefer or require personal trainers to be certified:

  • Merritt Athletic Club – Towson, White Marsh, Eldersburg, Canton and Baltimore
  • Lifetime Fitness – Columbia and Rockville
  • Town Sports International – Silver Spring and Bethesda
  • 24 Hour Fitness – Annapolis
  • JRG Fitness Operations, LLC – Havre de Grace

Examples of national professional organizations that offer personal trainer certification include (but are not limited to):

  • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • The Cooper Institute (CI)
  • American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA)
  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  • National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)
  • National Association for Fitness Certification (NAFC)
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)
  • National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association (NESTA)
  • American Senior Fitness Association (ASFA)

Maryland’s Working Environment for Personal Trainers

Do you picture gyms and health and fitness clubs when you think about working environments for personal trainers in Maryland? Although this is the most common setting, you have many other choices.

For example, in 2012 the Columbia Association in Clarksville debuted the first private personal training studio in the state. Landing a personal trainer job at a studio like this would allow you to work in a private, one-on-one setting with clients, which appeals to many clients who are leery about starting to work out. The studio houses the state’s only Synrgy360 unit by Life Fitness, as well as plyometrics, free weight services and a suspension training TRX system.

Another unique setting in Maryland in which personal trainers may work is in professional sports organizations, such as with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. If you choose to work for the Ravens, you may find yourself cross-training players, working on strength and conditioning, or becoming a dedicated personal trainer for a certain player or group of players.

You could also end up working as a personal trainer at colleges and universities in Maryland. With the sedentary lifestyles of many college students and faculty, many of the state’s universities, such as Loyola University in Baltimore and the University of Maryland – College Park, are offering discounted personal training services on campus. You would work with their student or faculty clients to develop an individual exercise plan, helping to increase overall fitness levels.

Of course, you might choose to work as a personal trainer at health and fitness clubs in Maryland. You could find yourself working within some of the top gyms and health clubs in Maryland’s main cities, like:

  • Brick Bodies – Baltimore, Reistertown, Padonia and Perry Hall
  • Powerhouse Gym – Cambridge
  • Gold’s Gym- Silver Spring
  • Cross Fit Diesel- Columbia
  • Sport & Health Gym- Gaithersburg

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