Personal Fitness Trainer

Empowering people to lead healthier lives

Wellness and fitness go hand-in-hand, personal fitness trainers help people achieve both. By designing efficient workouts that are suited to the individual, personal fitness trainers empower people to reach their goals. At ACC, students receive a comprehensive education that combines science with the practical skills required to be an outstanding personal fitness trainer. Those skills include the ability to design safe, effective programs that integrate cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility, along with interpersonal techniques needed to truly relate to clients. Students perform an internship that builds important work experience, and graduates score highly on national certification exams. ACC's Personal Fitness Training program is an educational partner of the American Council on Exercise.

The following degrees and certificates are offered:

  • Fitness Specialist Certificate
  • Personal Fitness Trainer Certificate
  • Associate of Applied Science Degree

PLEASE NOTE: If you have not already completed the ACC admissions process, please visit the Future Students page. At the financial aid page you can check your eligibility and submit an application.

This program has specific program requirements and prerequisite courses. Acceptance to ACC does not guarantee admission to this program.

What skills can I gain?

Students build expertise in the skilled instruction of aerobic and strength training, fitness assessment, exercise prescription, and the use and maintenance of exercise equipment. Also covered are the concepts associated with lifestyle changes for wellness including smoking cessation, stress management, and weight control, as are life sciences such as anatomy and physiology.

How long will it take to get a degree or certificate and what's the difference?

The Fitness Specialist certificate requires one semester to complete. It focuses on training the individual to be a support staff member in a fitness facility.

The Personal Fitness Trainer certificate requires at least one calendar year of full time study to complete. It features specific instruction in fitness training, evaluation and testing, and the design and implementation of exercise programs. The certificate is an excellent choice for current professionals wishing to update their skills or individuals interested in entering the personal fitness trainer profession.

Two years of study is typically needed to complete the Personal Fitness Trainer associate of applied science degree. This often depends on whether credits are transferred from another educational institution and whether the student attends courses full time. It builds a solid educational foundation with general academic courses while focusing on the theoretical and practical training skills required to become an outstanding exercise professional. This degree program also caters to individuals who plan to continue their education by transferring to a four-year university.

Where can I work with this education?

Most graduates begin work at traditional facilities such as national corporate gyms or local YMCAs, while others go to locally owned gyms. A smaller number start businesses of their own as personal trainers. Some typical employment settings for personal trainers include commercial and nonprofit health clubs, country clubs, universities, yoga or Pilates studios, and resorts. Increasingly, fitness workers also are found in workplaces as part of corporate wellness programs. Common positions for graduates include personal trainer, aerobic instructor, weight training instructor, fitness assessment technician, and fitness leader. Positions also exist in less traditional areas such as sports therapy clinics, cruise ships, fitness camps, and hospital wellness programs.