Based on statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oregon has the fifth-highest concentration of personal trainers of all states in the nation. In fact, the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area has the highest concentration of personal trainers of all cities in the United States! And it’s not only those cities – Bend ranks fifth on that list.
Although everyone knows correlation does not equal causation, could it really be a coincidence that – according to the Kaiser Family Foundation – Oregon also has the fifth-lowest amount of adults who are obese or overweight? This is the environment you will be working in as a personal trainer – a state that values fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
As part of its culture of health and fitness, you will find your clients are involved in a wide variety of activities. This means on any given day you might be doing the following:
- Teaching a group fitness yoga class in Eugene’s Alton Baker Park
- Providing jogging technique suggestions for a client who is preparing to run the Portland Marathon
- Working with a client regarding diet and endurance advice for a long hike on the Pacific Crest Trail
- Leading a tidewater kayaking class along Oregon’s coast
- Working with a client to develop the right muscle groups for a mountain biking trek through the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge
In a state with such a high concentration of personal trainers you will need to pay particular attention to becoming a qualified candidate. Your employers as well as your clients will want to know you are a professional in your field, and earning the credentials to prove this will lay a strong foundation for a life-long career.
Earning Your Personal Trainer Qualifications
A relevant college degree and personal trainer certification from a nationally recognized agency are two of the most important qualifications you can develop for long-term career success. In a state where the people that frequent gyms and athletic clubs have high expectations, Oregon’s employers typically prefer, and often even require these qualifications.
Earning a Degree Related to Fitness and Health Promotion
Oregon is home to many colleges and universities that offer relevant coursework and degree programs for aspiring personal trainers. Many programs offer an online curriculum so you can keep up with your own fitness training and work schedule while you attend school.
These are just some of the associate and bachelor’s degree programs that will provide you with the kind of knowledge you will use everyday while training your clients:
- AS degree in Fitness Technology, with classes like:
- Team sports training
- Tools in fitness technology
- Structure and function of the human body
- Mind-body disciplines
- AS degree in Health and Wellness, including courses such as:
- Human health and stress
- Food and nutrition
- Personal health
- First aid, CPR, and AED training
- Male and female health
- BS degree in Exercise and Sport Science, with courses like:
- Exercise physiology
- Motor behavior
- Critical issues in exercise and sports science
- Biomechanics involved in human movement
- Psychology of physical activity
- BS in Nutrition and Health Sciences, including classes such as:
- The human life cycle and nutrition
- Medical nutritional therapy
- Nutrition and community heath
- Science of human nutrition
- Exercise physiology
Personal Trainer Certifications
You also have the option of pursuing a nationally-recognized personal trainer certification. These are offered by a number of organizations, each with its own eligibility requirements. Some agencies require that you have a college degree for eligibility.
Employers will often state a preference for personal trainer certification, and some of the most common are offered by these agencies:
- American Council of Exercise (ACE)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- International Sports Science Association (ISSA)
- Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
- National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT)
- National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)
- International Fitness Association (IFA)
- The Cooper Institute
- National Personal Training Institute (NPTI)
- Lifetime (LT) Academy
Working as a Personal Trainer in Oregon
You will discover just how important a strong educational foundation is once you begin working as a personal trainer. You may find yourself:
- Applying what you have learned from a Fitness Technology degree to design the perfect workout regimen for a client who is trying out for Portland’s Rose City Rollers, one of the city’s most well-known roller derby teams
- Using what you have learned as part of a degree in Health and Wellness to give stress reduction and healthy diet pointers to a client as she prepares for the Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria
- Designing a rehabilitative workout for a client who sprained an ankle during the Medford Lakes Colony Sprint Triathlon using the knowledge you gained from an Exercise Science degree
- Figuring out a diet plan for a client who wants to have more energy for his guiding job at Crater Lake
You can always do your own research to see exactly what qualifications today’s personal trainer employers are looking for. The following list represents actual job vacancy announcements from throughout the state as of March 2015, but are shown for illustrative purposes only.
- 24 Hour Fitness in Portland was advertising for a personal trainer with a nationally-recognized certification or a college degree in Exercise Fitness, Kinesiology, or a closely related field.
- VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa in Beaverton was searching for a personal trainer with a nationally-recognized certification as well as first aid and CPR training.
- Planet Fitness in Springfield was advertising for a personal trainer with an upbeat personality as well as a nationally-recognized certification.
- Anytime Fitness in Bend was searching for a personal trainer who had a basic knowledge of nutrition and fitness, plus certification through a national organization.
- Health Fitness in Corvallis was looking for a personal trainer with a professional certification as well as these preferred qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, Health Promotion, Exercise Science, or a related field
- One year of prior work experience