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Becoming a Fitness Trainer in Minnesota

There are endless opportunities for personal trainers in Minnesota. You may find yourself working in a trendy Minneapolis fitness center leading a Pilates class or out on the lakes preparing a client for a canoe trip. Wherever you are in the state, you will find people looking for the services you can provide to help them get and stay fit as well as those looking to take it to the next level.

As a personal trainer in Minnesota you will be breathing some rare air. Whether you find yourself consulting with Olympian Lindsey Vonn´s coach, training alongside Erich Sailer or plying your trade at the National Sports Center, you will be among the elites in amateur and professional sports. Minnesota has a great tradition in athletics and you can be a part of that!

Penn Foster Career School's Online Personal Trainer Programs

Take the first step towards preparing for your career in the fields of personal fitness and nutrition through Penn Foster Career School's online programs:

Personal Trainer Career Diploma

One thing you will want to pay attention to when working in Minnesota as a personal trainer is location. While your services will be needed statewide, salaries are highest in the Minneapolis – St. Paul metro region where about 60% of the state’s population is located. As of 2015, the median salary for personal trainers in the metro area was about $58,000. Top trainers can greatly exceed that quoted figure, however.  Outside of the metro area, salaries are below the national average.

Becoming a Personal Trainer in Minnesota

A major part of Minnesota’s cultural identity is fitness. Not just for people that have time to get to the gym for an hour, but for everyone. To land the excellent jobs for personal trainers in Minnesota, education is considered key. The battle for the best jobs is highly competitive so any edge you can get is to your advantage. The combination of an undergraduate degree along with a national certification is usually what the ideal candidate possesses.

Formal Education

As a resident of the state of Minnesota, you have the opportunity to make use of one of the most well-funded and largest public university systems in the nation. You’ll find many opportunities to pursue a two or four year degree in a discipline associated to health and fitness and in some cases you may even be able to get an internship to help jumpstart your career.

Relevant programs available in Minnesota include graduate, bachelor’s and associate’s degrees in:

  • Kinesiology

  • Exercise Science: Health and Fitness

  • Exercise Science: Exercise and Sport Science

  • Athletic Training

  • Environmental and Outdoor Education

  • Recreation, Park, and Leisure Studies

  • Sports Management

National Certification

Employers often value different qualities in their candidates for job openings. Some may be most concerned with applicants having a degree while others will most value certain certifications. There will be quite a few who value both equally high. Regardless, a national certification is almost always going to be required wherever you go. It is to your benefit to know which certifications a potential employer prefers and which accreditation agencies they accept.  

When choosing where to begin your certification process, keep the following in mind:

  • Membership Dues and Recertification Fees

  • Continued Education Credits (CEC)

  • Education Requirements

  • Online and Classroom Options

  • Additional Certification Options

There are different types of certifying organizations and each has subtle and not so subtle differences. For starters, some may allow you to complete and entire certification course online while other may only allow a portion of it to be accomplished in that manner. Likewise, a few will require the entire course be taken in person. A program like World Instructor Training Schools (W.I.T.S.), runs for 6 weeks and is hands-on. While it is not a degree program, it will offer some of the benefits of one in addition to certification.

Starting Your Career as a Personal Trainer in Minnesota

The per capita presence of gyms in Minneapolis is higher than any other city in the US with 73.8 gyms and fitness centers for every one million residents. Minnesota’s love affair with fitness hardly ends there. Everything from dance classes to martial arts courses can be found throughout the state quite easily.

A look at job postings from Minnesota’s top fitness industry employers provides a glimpse at what your future as a trainer in Minneapolis could entail (Examples shown for illustrative purposes only):

Xperience Fitness is looking to hire full time personal trainers at their locations in Blaine, Brooklyn Park, Vadnais Heights, and Woodbury. They require an associate’s degree in exercise science or any related area, or a national level certification.

Snap Fitness in Cottage Grove is looking for a fitness center manager to handle day-to-day operations. They are looking for a candidate with prior fitness training experience.

Life Time Fitness in Eagan is in need of a nutrition coach to both empower members and help them to maintain health and fitness goals and facilitate seminars on nutrition. They prefer a 4-year degree in nutrition, dietetics, kinesiology, or exercise science, and outpatient nutrition counseling experience within the fitness industry. They also require a certification through at least one nutritionist certification organization, as well as a personal trainer certification.

Minnesota personal trainer careers are rewarding on many fronts – from the happiness that comes from helping people to the security of having a good job with a decent salary in a field you truly enjoy.


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