How to Become a Fitness Trainer in West Virginia

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Wild and Wonderful West Virginia is where your love of fitness and physical activity is at home, from Charleston to Wheeling and Huntington to Morgantown. From mountain biking through the Monongahela National Forest to rock climbing at the famous New River Gorge, physical fitness is alive and well in West Virginia.

Now may be the time to turn your love of physical fitness into a successful career in personal training. Whether you have aspirations of serving as a prominent prenatal and postnatal personal trainer, or you would rather work with a diverse clientele made up of young athletes, seniors, and everyone in between, West Virginia is where your passion for personal training can take flight and develop into a rewarding career.

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Becoming a Personal Trainer in West Virginia

Preparing to become a personal trainer in West Virginia typically involves earning an associate or bachelor degree, professional certification, or both. Although your choice of personal training education will largely depend on your professional goals, to earn recognition and respect in the profession, you must complete a comprehensive program of study.

Personal Training Degree Programs in West Virginia

Degree programs in personal training, which are typically offered at the associate and bachelor degree level, are designed to prepare you to:

  • Perform health and fitness-related assessments on clients
  • Design and implement fitness plans to train a variety of clients
  • Instruct clients to perform safe and effective exercise techniques
  • Communicate exercise science-related principles
  • Exhibit a foundation of professional and business-related skills

Though there are associate and bachelor degrees available with a major in personal training, most of the relevant programs are in closely related majors, such as:

  • Exercise science
  • Kinesiology
  • Sports Medicine
  • Exercise physiology
  • Physical education

Core coursework in a degree program in personal training often includes:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Fundamentals of fitness
  • Fitness center skills
  • Exercise techniques
  • Power development
  • Flexibility, posture, and core
  • Nutrition for fitness
  • Structural kinesiology
  • Exercise physiology

Professional Certification Programs in West Virginia

Voluntary professional certification is a common pursuit among personal trainers, both in West Virginia and throughout the country. Just a few of the certifying organizations that offer personal training certification include:

  • The Cooper Institute
  • National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF)
  • National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • American Fitness Professional and Associates (AFPA)
  • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • Academy of Applied Personal Training Education (AAPTE)

In addition to general certification in personal training, many certifying bodies also offer specialty certifications for personal trainers who focus their careers on specific populations or training programs.

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) is the major accrediting agency for personal training certification programs; therefore, it is often in your best interest to ensure that the certification you choose is recognized by the NCCA.

Professional certification in personal training, regardless of the program you choose, typically involves a course of study, followed by an examination. These programs may be online, campus-based, or a hybrid of the two. Many programs are also offered in select cities throughout the year.

What to Expect from a Career in Personal Training

Personal trainer jobs in West Virginia may be found in small fitness studios, large gyms, and health clubs. Regardless of the setting, requirements for personal training positions are often quite similar.

The following job postings for personal trainers in West Virginia are shown here for illustrative purposes only, but offer insight into common job requirements (March 2015):

  • A Bridgeport fitness studio is seeking a personal trainer who is responsible for:
    • Formulating customized training programs based on the fitness needs and health of their clients
    • Helping clients with exercises through demonstrations
    • Recording the progress of clients
    • Analyzing client results and making necessary changes to the personal training programs

Applicants should have a thorough understanding of fitness concepts, human anatomy, and psychology

  • A Charleston fitness center is seeking personal trainers who possess a degree in a health-related field (preferred) or certification through a nationally recognized organization
  • A Huntington gym is seeking a personal trainer who possesses:

    • CPR/AED certification
    • Current certification in one of the following:

      • ACE
      • AFAA
      • ACSM
      • NCSA
      • ISSA
    • Leadership and supervisory abilities
    • An entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm
  • A fitness center in Teays Valley is seeking a personal training manager who possesses personal training certification or a fitness-related degree and previous personal training experience. A bachelor’s degree is preferred for this position.

Just a few of the many fitness centers and personal training studios throughout West Virginia where you may find a wealth of professional opportunities include:

  • Extreme Family Fitness, Martinsburg
  • Planet Fitness, Bridgeport
  • Anytime Fitness, Charleston
  • Lakeview Fitness Center, Morgantown

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