How to Become a Fitness Trainer in South Carolina

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The fitness craze is still very much alive in South Carolina. It seems like almost everybody here has a favorite outdoor pastime that requires them to stay in shape in the off season, and at peak performance when the sun shines or the snow flies. With warm temperatures most of the year, fitness buffs enjoy water sports, hiking, rock climbing and more. Those who love winter sports are also at home here in South Carolina thanks to world class skiing and snowboarding in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Indoor sports are also a key part of South Carolina’s fitness culture. Roller Derby had a rebirth in the 2000’s and the state was home to four sanctioned roller derby leagues as of 2014. Indoor rock climbing gyms are also very popular with nearly a dozen different gyms located throughout the state.

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Personal trainers are an important part of South Carolina’s sports and fitness culture. As a personal trainer, it will be your responsibility to ensure your clients are safely achieving their fitness goals and staying in the best possible physical shape.

Clients choose personal trainers over solo workouts for the following reasons:

  • Preventing Injury – You will show clients how to use equipment and how to maintain proper form while exercising. Proper technique from a trained instructor can prevent or greatly reduce the likelihood of injury.
  • Learning New Fitness Trends – Personal trainers are able to communicate and demonstrate the latest fitness and nutrition trends. This keeps clients continually able to push their body and change-up their routines when they begin to plateau.
  • Accountability – Clients understand that time is money and if they miss an appointment with a trainer, it will cost them.

You will find that some fitness centers offer a flat salary pay while others offer a base pay plus commission. Commission allows you to recruit and maintain clients so as to boost your earning potential.

Becoming a Personal Trainer in South Carolina

There are many educational and specialty certification opportunities available to you as you work to develop your qualifications to become a personal trainer. Earning a degree in a relevant major, followed by national certification will ensure you meet the standards set by South Carolina’s top studios, health clubs and gyms.

Formal Training and Education

Schools throughout South Carolina and online offer associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs designed to impart a working knowledge of the principals of kinesiology, anatomy and physiology. Associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in these majors are designed to prepare you to become a knowledgeable personal fitness professional capable of assessing client needs, designing an appropriate program, and safely guiding them through the regimented exercise routine:

  • Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Exercise Science
  • Kinesiology
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Personal Training
  • Sports Medicine

Though these majors place emphasis on different areas relevant to health and fitness promotion, most will cover key concepts in:

  • Functional Anatomy
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Physical Activity & Health Promotion
  • Nutrition
  • Screening, Evaluation and Professional Practice
  • Training Instruction
  • Weight Management
  • Exercise Prescription and Programming Considerations
  • Considerations for Special Populations

National Certification Options

Most health and fitness clubs in South Carolina require their personal trainers to hold some type of national certification. Minimum qualifications to acquire certification includes having a high school diploma or equivalent, being 18 years of age or older and being CPR/AED certified. Many of the certification institutes offer online workshops in various training specialties.

Examples of reputable institutes that offer personal training certification include the following:

  • National Council on Strength & Fitness (NCSF)
  • International Sports & Fitness Trainers Association (ISFTA)
  • International Sports Science Association (ISSA)
  • American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA)
  • Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
  • National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)
  • American Council of Exercise (ACE)
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

In addition to basic personal training certification, there are also options to specialize in a specific training area. Specialty areas include but are not limited to the following:

  • Aqua Fitness Specialist
  • Senior Fitness Specialist
  • Youth Athletic Fitness Specialist
  • Pre/Postnatal Fitness Specialist
  • BOSU Balance Specialist
  • Fitness Nutrition Specialist

Working as a Personal Trainer in South Carolina

As a personal trainer in South Carolina, you will have certain basic responsibilities regardless of where you are employed:

  • Basic nutrition and exercise knowledge
  • Knowledge of human anatomy
  • Ability to design and execute personal fitness programs that are safe and effective
  • Desire to help clients achieve their fitness goals
  • Dedication to maintaining your own fitness level
  • Ability to attract and retain clients
  • Ability to motivate others to improve their health

The job outlook for personal trainers in South Carolina is excellent and is expected to continue to grow at least 13% through 2022. Jobs are available at a variety of training facilities from small studios to large chain fitness centers.

Fitness boutiques and Cross-Fit training are growing in popularity throughout South Carolina. A fitness boutique is a small studio that offers group or individualized fitness options and Cross-Fit trainings are higher intensity workouts that can take place in a parking lot, park or just about anywhere that a trainer is able to access.

Finally there are now even online personal trainers who use Skype or other interactive software to perform training guidance online.

Just a few of the places looking for personal trainers in April 2015 included:

  • St. Andrews Parks & Playground, Charleston
  • Empower Performance Physical Training, Conway
  • Fitness Edge, Myrtle Beach
  • D1 Greenville, Greenville
  • East Shore Athletic Club, North Charleston
  • Anytime Fitness, Goose Creek
  • Personally Fit, Columbia
  • Got Muscle Personal Training, North Charleston
  • Irontribe Fitness, Columbia

Looking at job requirements from actual job postings is a great way to gain an understanding of what employers are looking for:

Fitness Edge in Myrtle Beach was named the #1 fitness center in the Myrtle Beach area in the 2014 Best of the Grand Strand Results. Personal trainers at Fitness Edge are required to have a bachelor’s degree, national certification and the ability to sell training packages to clients. Its trainers receive both an hourly and commission salary.

St. Andrews Parks & Playground in Charleston requires CPR/AED/First Aid certification as well as a personal trainer certificate. Personal trainers are expected to be able to perform 30, 60 and 90 minute quality training sessions and work flexible schedules with evening hours required.

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