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Becoming a Personal Trainer in Mississippi

If you have the motivation it takes to hit the gym, you have what it takes to be a personal trainer. While personal trainers were once the exclusive luxury of the well-to-do, now almost anyone can take advantage of their expertise – which is great for residents of Mississippi.

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition gives Mississippi high marks for being one of six states with mandatory K-12 physical education classes. On the downside of that, it wasn’t enough to keep the state from ranking 50th for overall health in 2014. There is a critical need for personal trainers in Mississippi.

As a personal trainer, you are aware you can’t create one fitness program to suit the needs of every client. You need to be prepared for kids in need of learning healthier habits, athletes looking to kick it up a notch, and the average Joe who just wants to look and feel better.

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Due in part to the overall state of health of the people of Mississippi, personal trainers are in high demand. The Mississippi Department of Employment Security projected a 25% growth in jobs for personal trainers by the decade ending in 2020. The average salary range for personal trainers can vary greatly ranging from around $28,000 to $50,000 annually. It goes without saying that the most experienced and best educated trainers tend to make the most.

Becoming a Personal Trainer in Mississippi

The fitness industry moves fast. Workout trends come and go. As a personal trainer, you will need to stay abreast of all of it. The clients you will encounter in fitness clubs and gyms will look for “the latest thing” and they will expect you to not only be aware of it, but capable of getting them started in it. This is why employers of personal trainers are looking for the best educated and most experienced candidates to fill their job openings.

Formal Education and Training

Mississippi has no official requirement for personal trainers to hold any degrees or certifications; however, you will find that many employers do have requirements.

Examples of relevant majors offered at the associate’s and bachelor’s level available both online and at campus-based schools throughout Mississippi include:

Health Fitness Studies provides you with a basic understanding of the science behind physical fitness and teaches you how to effectively implement fitness programs

As a Kinesiology major, you can take foundational courses in first aid, CPR, principals of nutrition, athletic training, psychology of sports, strength and conditioning, and physiology of exercise

An Exercise Science program prepares students for a wide range of health and fitness related professions through a specialized curriculum that concentrates on the applied sciences of exercise physiology, motor control, exercise behavior, and biomechanics

Nationally Recognized Personal Training Certification Options

In order to make the most of your potential as a personal trainer, there are a few steps you can take to lay the foundation for a stable and rewarding career. One of the biggest things you can do is to obtain a national certification as a personal trainer. There are plenty of certifying agencies to choose from, but the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA) only officially recognizes eight of them. Once you have chosen a certification program and completed it, you will be awarded a certificate  

To excel in the personal training industry, you should consider acquiring nationally-recognized personal trainer certifications from a prominent organization. While there are many superb associations across the nation, only eight are accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Upon completion, you will be issued a certificate as proof of your being recognized as a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), a Personal Fitness Trainer (PFT), or a specialist in any number of modalities.

The eight NCCA-accredited certification agencies are:

  • National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)

  • National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC)

  • National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF)

  • National Exercise & Sports Trainers Assn. (NESTA)

  • National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)

  • National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)

  • National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA)

  • Training and Wellness Certification Commission (TW-CC)

Utilizing Your Education and Training as a Personal Trainer in Mississippi

As you begin looking for employment as a personal trainer, you will find that many potential employers expect you to have the ability and willingness to create fitness programs to meet the needs of each client. This can be seen by viewing some recent job postings for personal trainers throughout Mississippi. Pay attention to what each fitness center expects from their job applicants.

With locations throughout the state, YouFit is seeking candidates that are CPR/AED certified and have a minimum of one nationally recognized personal training certification. These trainers are expected to design and lead training programs to help clients meet their individual fitness goals.

Jackson’s CENTERS is a management company specializing in campus recreation. They are looking to hire a part-time personal trainer with nationally recognized CPR/AED and First Aid certifications and a nationally accredited personal training certification. The position requires the ability to modify and tailor workouts to specific client needs and a strong knowledge of the standard practices of recreational sports.

Another aspect of the job you will want to consider before becoming a personal trainer in Mississippi is what kind of health and workout programs various health clubs and gyms are offering. This gives you an idea of whether you feel you fit a specific fitness club’s routine and whether or not you have the qualifications needed to lead the classes and programs offered.

The following rotation of classes at Courthouse Racquet & Fitness Center in Brandon provides some insight into what types of classes you may be required to oversee:

  • Spinning: a 30-minute class taking place on a stationary bike designed to provide an intense cardiovascular workout

  • Silver Sneakers: a fitness program catering to seniors incorporating flexibility, cardio and strength training

  • Yogalates: an innovative fusion of yoga and Pilates engineered to increase stamina, balance, flexibility and mental clarity

  • Coreflex: participants focus on strength training exercises designed to tone and shape their core, including sit-ups and planks

The classes listed above are just a few examples of the types of classes you may lead as a personal trainer. You will be responsible for helping to motivate your clients as they work towards their fitness goals. Whether leading a large class or working one-on-one with a client, you will be an important part of the equation that helps the people of Mississippi get fit and healthier.

Once you have decided to be a personal trainer in Mississippi, you will need to decide how you want to offer your services. You may choose to work for a fitness club or gym, or strike out on your own. If you opt to work as an independent provider, you will need to ensure you have properly licensed yourself and your business to do so.

Additionally, you will need to legally register your business formation with the Mississippi Secretary of State. For more information, contact the Mississippi Small Business Development Center.


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