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Becoming a Personal Trainer in Connecticut

As a personal trainer in Connecticut, you will work in a state that has one of the lowest obesity rates in the nation according to a study by Trust for America’s Health. You may find yourself working with people looking to get in shape or clients that are already in shape and looking to reach the next level of fitness. Connecticut offers many opportunities to find a niche and excel.

Connecticut has a love affair, it seems, with small boutique gyms focusing on a particular style of fitness. Some may specialize in CrossFit while others may offer cycle spinning. There are also plenty of more traditional gyms and fitness centers that that cater to a diverse clientele with even more diverse fitness and health goals that can keep any personal trainer busy.

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The odds are that your first job as a personal trainer in Connecticut will be in a large gym serving a wide range of clients. While it may not sound exciting, it can be very challenging and it is a great way to find what you most enjoy and are best suited for. You will likely hone your skills helping people develop weight management plans, keeping seniors active and limber, and helping athletes take it to the next level. Even in larger gyms, personal training sessions with just one to three clients are still quite popular.

Connecticut personal trainers can also look forward to earning a very competitive wage. The latest figures from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows personal trainers making around $42,000 per year. Keep in mind that boutique facility owners and independent and self-employed personal trainers were not included in formulating that salary figure and often earn significantly more than the average wage.

Becoming a Personal Trainer in Connecticut

The demand for personal trainers in Connecticut is growing along with gym memberships which are climbing at a rate of about 6% annually. This demand has made highly qualified personal trainers extremely in demand. It goes without saying that candidates will need a national certification to land almost any job – which means needing the relevant education to obtain a national certification.

Education and Training

The most attractive job candidates for open positions as a personal trainer will have either an associate’s or bachelor´s degree in a field of study related to personal fitness. The educational background in nutrition, fitness theory and body mechanics, just to name a few, are keys to opening the doors of opportunity. In addition to the academic end of your studies, you will want to seize opportunities to work with personal trainer getting some experience leading classes or developing fitness plans to add to your resume.

If you choose to pursue one of Connecticut’s personal training programs in preparation for your career as a personal trainer, you’ll encounter degree options such as the following:

Two-year associate degree programs in:

  • Exercise Science

  • Fitness and Health

  • Sports Studies

Four-year bachelor’s degree programs in:

  • Exercise Science (including courses in Sport and Exercise Psychology, Physiological Systems in Human Performance and Fundamentals of Strength and Conditioning)

  • Physical Education or Coaching (including courses in Physiology of Exercise, Motor Learning and Development and Instructional Strategies for Physical Education)

  • Nutrition (including courses in Biochemistry, Nutrition for Exercise & Sport and Medical Nutrition Therapy)

  • Sports Medicine

  • Kinesiology

  • Biology

  • Exercise Physiology

While each program will vary in focus, many will cover some of the following general topics:

  • Anatomy

  • Sports Nutrition

  • Exercise principles

  • Health/fitness analysis

  • Strength and conditioning

  • Biomechanics

  • Weight management

Whatever you find yourself doing as a personal trainer in Connecticut, from leading spinning classes, developing nutrition plans for those looking to slim down, or leading seniors in exercise programs tailored to their needs, you will be an essential part of each client’s fitness plan. The communication skills you develop while studying will also be indispensable to ensuring clients enjoy their time at the gym and return for more sessions.


National Certification for Personal Trainers

As you begin sorting out your options for employment as a personal trainer in Connecticut, you will find that nearly all openings will require you hold a national certification. In order to obtain that, you will often need an undergraduate degree, and in some cases, CPR certification as well.

The following are among the most respected personal trainer certification organizations:

  • National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS) - requires a 4-year degree

  • National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) - must have at least two years of fitness experience

  • National Endurance and Sports Trainers Association (NESTA)

  • International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA)

  • The Cooper Institute

  • The American Council on Exercise (ACE)

  • The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

  • The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

  • National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT)

  • American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA)

These organizations were highlighted by the Livestrong Foundation in 2014 for their widespread acceptance by personal training employers and because each is vetted by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

Depending on your goals and interests, you may also wish to obtain additional certifications to make yourself more employable and potentially increase your wage range. CrossFit, Interval Training and Pilates are popular certifications for personal trainers to obtain. Water safety certification is always in demand as well.

The following are a few such specialty certifications offered by the organizations named above:

  • Post-Rehab Conditioning Specialist

  • Certified Pilates Fitness Instructor

  • Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist

  • Flexibility Coach

  • Certified Health Fitness Specialist (requires a 4-year degree)

Personal Trainer Careers in Connecticut

To help you get an idea of what kind of opening there are for personal trainers in Connecticut, we have compiled a sampling of job postings from clubs and gyms in 2015. This should provide you with a glimpse of what qualifications are most in demand.

The Edge Fitness Clubs in Fairfield County look for personal trainers who are nationally certified and/or hold a degree in Exercise Science, Sports Medicine, Nutrition or a related field. Their trainers are expected to design safe, effective workout and nutrition programs for training clients and demonstrate proper form on equipment. In addition, these trainers receive medical insurance and a retirement plan, and can take advantage of two weeks paid vacation and two free club memberships

Personal trainers at BDX Fitness in Shelton must have at least a two year degree in Exercise Science and hold a national personal training certification. They are responsible for developing comprehensive training programs, promoting personal training to potential clients and educating clients on proper technique

You will likely find that you will be asked to lead classes of all sizes, in addition to designing individual workout programs for one-on-one clients as well. A lot of this will depend on what type of gym or health club you choose to work for. Class rotations often vary from facility to facility so you will want to be sure to explore this before accepting any employment offers.

The following rotation of classes at Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness in North Haven show you what a class lineup might look like:

  • Aqua Kick: takes a traditional kickboxing workout and combines it with water resistance to challenge muscles and increase strength and endurance

  • Silver Sneakers Splash: Fun, shallow water movement with a kickboard to improve strength, balance and coordination in senior citizens

  • Pilates Fusion: combines elements of yoga and Pilates for a comprehensive mat workout

  • Power Yoga: a class featuring a flow of poses to challenge your muscles while building stamina and strength

  • Cycle: a 30, 45, 60, 75 or 90 minute cycling workout to energetic music

  • Boot Camp: a circuit style class focusing on speed, agility featuring strength and agility drills to build muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance

  • Cardio Contact: uses classic boxing techniques fused with Boot Camp cardio and martial arts moves for a total body workout

Whatever you choose to do, whether it be working in a health club offering classes similar to those above or working in boutique fitness club more focused on the individual experience. The work you do will pave the way to better health for your clients and help keep Connecticut healthy.

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