How to Become a Fitness Trainer in Oklahoma

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Your contribution to the health and vitality of Oklahoma will be much appreciated and is much needed. Based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the US Census, there is approximately one personal trainer for every 1,642 adults in Oklahoma – a total of 1,760 professionals statewide.

With favorite events like Broken Arrow’s Taste of Summer or A Taste of Edmond, the growing waistlines of Oklahomans also points to a growing demand for professionals in your field. In fact, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, personal trainers will see a 10 percent growth rate during the period from 2012 to 2022.

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As a personal trainer you will help clients from all walks of life to reach their health and fitness goals. For example, every year the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon draws a crowd of more than 25,000 participants and has been voted a “must run” marathon by Runner’s World magazine.

Many Oklahomans will also seek your services to simply stay fit and healthy. This could be to look their best for a night out at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center or to have the stamina needed to make it through the day at Edmond’s Shakespeare in the Park festival. According to statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Oklahoma ranks first in the nation for the percentage of adults who participate in moderate-to-vigorous amounts of physical activity – and in fact ranks more than three percentage points ahead of its runner up.

A successful career as a personal trainer in Oklahoma starts with a bedrock of knowledge in your field. Not only will this make you competent in the eyes of your clients, employers will also often require that you be able to show proven personal trainer qualifications.

Becoming a Personal Trainer in Oklahoma

Education and professional certification are two of the most important qualifications you can develop to become a competitive personal trainer in Oklahoma.

Higher Education for Personal Trainers in Oklahoma

Colleges and universities throughout Oklahoma offer degree programs that are relevant to your pursuit of becoming a qualified personal trainer. These schools will often provide an extra option for online courses that will allow you to maintain a busy training schedule while you complete your groundwork education.

There are several associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs that can provide you with an important framework on which to build a successful personal training career. Some of these degree programs include:

  • Bachelor’s of Science degree in Health and Exercise Science, which will include courses like:
    • Introductory nutrition and personal health
    • Prevention and care of athletic injuries
    • Lifestyle intervention and weight management
    • Wellness and health coaching
    • Principles of personal training
  • Bachelor’s of Science degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise and Fitness Management, with courses such as:
    • Health and aging
    • Pharmacology for the health and fitness professional
    • Fitness assessment and exercise prescription
    • Motor development and learning
    • Psychology of sport
  • Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Sciences with a major in Nutritional Sciences, with classes such as:
    • Nutrition and evidence-based practices
    • Science of nutrition and food preparation
    • Food and the human environment
    • Pathophysiology of chronic diseases as it relates to nutrition

Personal Trainer Certification Options

The majority of personal trainer employers in Oklahoma will either require or prefer you to have a nationally-recognized certification. There are many organizations that sponsor these, each with its own standards. Some organizations require that you have a relevant associate’s or bachelor’s degree before you will be eligible for certification.

Some of the most prominent organizations that sponsor personal trainer certification programs are:

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

Oklahoma’s Working Environment for Personal Trainers

As a personal trainer in Oklahoma you will encounter clients from a variety of backgrounds and ages. Irrespective of the diversity of your clientele, you will use the knowledge you gain in college or through certification programs on a daily basis. This could include any of these scenarios:

  • Helping a family to practice the proper rowing technique for a canoe outing in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area
  • Giving jogging posture technique pointers to a client who was preparing to complete the Oklahoma Run to Defeat Diabetes in Norman
  • Advising a young woman basketball player on exercises she could do to develop strength in a targeted area
  • Giving a middle-aged client tips on ways to develop endurance for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

You can have a good sense for what today’s employers are looking for by checking out the latest job vacancy postings. A statewide survey completed in March of 2015 found the following examples. These are what you can expect when it comes to meeting employer expectations:

  • The Centers for Families and Children in Oklahoma City was seeking a personal trainer to work in its ease@work program that provides individualized and group sessions for employees and their family members of contracting organizations. To qualify for this position you would need to have a bachelor’s degree and related personal trainer experience, plus a professional certification.
  • Gold’s Gym in Tulsa was looking to hire a personal trainer who had the preferred qualification of a college degree in a related field. Nationally-recognized personal trainer certification was a requirement for this position.
  • Provant Health Solutions was hiring for a personal trainer position in Oklahoma City. To qualify you would need to have either a degree in Exercise Science/Kinesiology or a personal trainer certification.
  • The Oklahoma Heart Hospital was looking to hire a personal trainer to work in its new Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation Center. The preferred qualifications for this position were:
    • Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science or a related field
    • Nationally-recognized personal trainer certification
    • At least one year of related experience

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