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Becoming a Fitness Trainer in Indiana

As a personal trainer in Indiana, you will work with clients both young and old and everywhere in between that have a variety of health and fitness needs. They will depend on your expertise to help them with fitness goals related to weight and nutrition. Others may seek you out to get help recovering from injuries or to help prepare for an upcoming bike or road race. Some will just want your assistance to help look and feel better.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development has predicted the demand for personal trainers in state will increase by 11.8% through the year of 2022. Furthermore, they estimate that growth will result in about 460 new jobs for personal trainers statewide.

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As a personal trainer, you will work with clients of varying fitness levels and goals. One day you may be working with a class of young people looking to get toned and tightened for summer on the lake. The next day you may find yourself working on joint friendly exercises for a senior getting ready for the outdoor festival season.

A perfect example of the kind of services you may be expected to perform can be found at Mei Fitness in Indianapolis. A team of personal trainers are on hand at Mei Fitness leading clients through individual classes along these lines:

  • Zumba

  • Spinning and cycling

  • Yoga

  • Circuit training

  • Weight training

  • Cardio training

Regardless of whether you decide to lead classes at one of Indiana’s many state parks or to work in a gym or fitness club, you are going to be one of the professionals responsible for helping keep the people of Indiana fit and healthy.

Getting the Education You Need to Become a Personal Trainer in Indiana

As you look to begin your career as a personal trainer in Indiana, you will quickly notice that most of the fitness centers and gyms that are hiring are looking for applicants with a relevant educational background. Most employers will also restrict their hiring to only applicants who hold a national certification as a personal trainer. Many of these agencies also require a 2 or 4-year degree for certification.

Colleges and Universities for Personal Trainers

Indiana is the home of many fine institutions of higher learning that offer excellent educational opportunities. You should have no problem finding school that offers courses in health and fitness to prepare you for your career. Also, many will allow you to get started by taming courses online.  

Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree options with majors that are relevant to prospective personal trainers include the following (shown here with their associated courses):

Exercise Science:

  • Fitness programs as therapy

  • Principles in exercise, fitness, and rehabilitation

  • Prevention and care of injuries

Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • Nutrition in exercise and sport

  • Nutrition and disease

  • Diet and nutrition for sports fitness


  • Human anatomy and physiology

  • Exercise prescription and chronic diseases

  • Advanced biomechanics

Physical Therapy:

  • Anatomy of the spine and limbs

  • Kinesiology and rehabilitation

  • Neuro-muscular system

As most clients prefer working with a personal trainer that has a formal education related to the science of body movement and a national certification, a strong educational background will be essential to helping you make the most of your career.

Personal Trainer Certification Programs

A personal trainer certification is essential to land almost every job opening at Indiana’s better fitness centers and gyms. Each organization offering certification has their own criteria for obtaining their certification. If you have narrowed down your potential employers, you can focus on ensuring you go through certifying agencies that they prefer. The best recognized fitness industry professional certification bodies include:

  • American Council of Exercise (ACE)

  • International Sports Science Association (ISSA)

  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

  • Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA)

  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

  • National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)

  • National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT)

  • International Fitness Association (IFA)

  • The Cooper Institute

  • National Personal Training Institute (NPTI)

  • Professional Personal Trainers Association (PROPTA)

Most Indiana employers also require their personal trainers to have certification in CPR, first aid, and for AED devices.

Working as a Personal Trainer in Indiana

One of the best ways to know if you have the skills and training to land a job as a personal trainer in Indiana is to look at job postings for that position. Here we have compiled several examples of open positions for trainers in March 2015 so that you can see how you measure up against what potential employers are looking for.

Community Health Network was interested in hiring a personal trainer who had at least a bachelor’s degree in an exercise or health-related field, with a preference given to applicants who also held a personal trainer certification.

A college in Mishawaka was advertising for a personal trainer who had at least a relevant bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree preferred.

Charter Fitness – a club with multiple locations in the region including in the cities of Merrillville, Mishawaka, Munster, Hobart, Schererville, and Valparaiso – was advertising for a personal trainer who held a nationally-recognized certification as well as CPR and AED qualifications.

Life Time Fitness, a club with several locations in the Indianapolis area, was looking to hire personal trainers who could meet these qualifications: a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, Sports Medicine, or a related field; at least one nationally-recognized personal trainer certification; 1-2 years of related job experience; and 1 year of sales experience.

Most personal trainer jobs in Indiana are in gyms and fitness centers. Once you have completed your education and obtained the proper certifications, you can begin looking for employers that fit your needs and lifestyle.

A good example of the kind of workout schedule and class offering you may find at a fitness club can be seen with this listing from Life Time Fitness. Life Time Fitness offers group and one-on-one classes.

  • Cardio workshops

  • Fitness seminar

  • Nutritional consultations

  • Kids’ fitness

  • Cycling/spinning classes

  • Personal training goals

Freelancing and Working as an Independent Personal Trainer in Indiana

If working for someone else or in a gym isn’t what you’re looking for, you can always build your own client base and go the freelance route. With trainer led fitness programs in the great outdoors becoming more popular, this is a viable career option and can be more lucrative if done correctly. A few favorite locations and activities for outdoor classes include:

  • Hiking in Eagle Creek Park or Angel Mounds State Historic Site

  • Canoeing in Chain O’ Lakes State Park near Albion

  • Kayaking in Deam Lake State Recreation Area

  • Mountain biking in Blum Park near Westville

  • Cycling along the Cardinal Greenways near Muncie

Working as a personal trainer in Indiana will provide you with an ever interesting career path and a sense of accomplishment as you help people in the state achieve their fitness goals.

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