According to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the number of personal trainers in the state is expected to increase 21 percent between 2012 and 2022. This increased demand for fitness professionals comes as no surprise, given that the fitness-conscious residents of New Mexico have helped the state consistently rank among the top 25 percent of states with the lowest adult obesity rates in the nation.
In a state famous for outdoor recreation that includes everything from rock climbing, mountain biking and snowboarding, to wind surfing and whitewater rafting, the services you offer as personal trainer will be put to good use keeping New Mexico’s fittest residents in shape for their favorite outdoor hobbies.
Becoming a Personal Trainer in New Mexico
As a qualified personal trainer, you will be expected to impart a great deal of knowledge and expertise about safe and effective exercise. For many of New Mexico’s personal trainers, this knowledge is achieved through a college degree in an area related to personal training, such as:
- Exercise science
- Sports medicine
- Physical education
- Exercise physiology
- Health and physical fitness
These majors, which are most often offered at the associate and bachelor degree levels, are designed to provide study in human movement, health promotion, kinesiology, and health behavioral change strategies to ensure students achieve a solid foundation of knowledge in the workings of the human body and how it responds to physical activity.
There are also a number of institutions (mainly community and technical colleges) that now offer certificates of completion (CCL) in personal training, which take about one year to complete. A personal training associate degree program, however, which provides a foundation in the liberal arts, is necessary if you plan to continue your education at the bachelor or even master’s level in the future.
Associate and bachelor degrees also offer additional study in areas related to business management and starting a personal training business, both of which are common pursuits among personal trainers.
Typical coursework in a personal training-related major often includes:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Exercise physiology
- Exercise science
- Exercise assessment and prescription
- First aid/CPR/AED
- Strength fitness
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Human nutrition
Most programs culminate in an internship, during which time you can work in a real-world environment under the supervision and guidance of an experienced personal trainer.
Professional Certification Programs for Personal Trainers
Personal training professional certification, although voluntary, serves as a hallmark of excellence and competence. A large number of organizations offer personal training certification programs, which consist of a program of study followed by an examination.
Professional designation among personal trainers can vary significantly, given the sheer number of organizations that offer professional certification.
The professional certification you choose will likely depend on a number of factors, such as:
- Accreditation through a national accrediting agency like the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)
- Recognition among local employers and professional trainers
- Your personal training specialty
While achieving a general personal trainer certification is commonplace, so is achieving a specialty certification in a specific area of personal training, such as weight training, yoga, cycling, and Pilates, just to name a few.
Just a few of the national organizations offering professional certification in personal training include:
- The Cooper Institute
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
- American Council on Exercise (ACE)
- National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)
- National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- Academy of Applied Personal Training Education (AAPTE)
Professional Certification Program Design and Features
The delivery method and design of personal training certification programs in New Mexico can vary quite a bit from one organization to the next. You may find these programs differ based on:
- Cost: Some programs cost less than $300, while others can reach $800.
- Examination Cost: Some programs include the examination in the cost of the program, while others have a separate examination fee.
- Delivery Method: Some programs are offered online, some are offered on-site, and others are offered as a hybrid of the two. Coursework in a distance program may be delivered via streaming lectures, DVDs, and online textbooks, just to name a few.
- Structure: Personal training certification programs may be designed as a two-day intensive workshop, while others programs allow students to complete study at home and on their own schedule.
- Examination: Examinations may be completed online for some programs, while others require students to take the examination either a national testing center or upon completion of the on-site program.
All programs have a few requirements in common, which generally include being at least 18 years old and recertifying every 2 to 3 years.
What to Expect from a Career in Personal Training
One of the best ways to become acclimated to the profession is to begin working as a personal trainer in an established fitness center or gym. Just a few of the personal training establishments located throughout New Mexico include:
- Training Innovations, Albuquerque
- Upward Motion Personal Training, Albuquerque
- Defined Fitness, Albuquerque
- KRockett Fitness, Artesia
- Fort Marcy Recreation Complex, Santa Fe
- Fitness Plus, Santa Fe
- Special K Fitness, Farmington
Recent job postings for personal trainers in New Mexico detail some of the qualifications employers are looking for (From job listings posted in April 2015 and shown for illustrative purposes only):
- A job posting for personal trainers for an athletic club and spa, which has five locations throughout New Mexico, requires eligible candidates to possess professional certification through an NCCA-accredited personal training program, at least six months of personal training experience, and CPR and First Aid certification. A bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology or a related area is a plus.
- A job posting for a personal fitness instructor in Silver City requires candidates to possess:
- A bachelor’s degree in a field of exercise science, movement science, exercise physiology, health sciences or a related field (preferred); OR
- Professional certification from an organization specializing in personal training
- CPR/AED certification within 90 days of hire
- A general knowledge of anatomy and physiology
- Experience working with the public
- A job posting for a personal trainer manager in Albuquerque requires candidates to possess a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, kinesiology, physical education, or a related area; at least two years of experience as a manager in a fitness or health facility; and at least three years of experience as a personal trainer.