Are you physically active? Do you love to play sports and exercise? Do you work out every day at your local health club? Is diet and good nutrition important to you? Then you may want to consider a career as a physical fitness trainer.

Fitness trainers combine their love of physical fitness with the desire to help others to lead healthier lives. Fitness workers instruct and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities. They should be both knowledgeable and outgoing, and enjoy working with people.

Places where fitness trainers work include health clubs, resorts, hospitals, yoga and Pilates studios, country clubs, universities, and even private homes. Fitness trainers are increasingly employed by businesses, where they organize and lead health and fitness programs for a company’s employees.

Many fitness trainers specialize in their professional approach. Personal trainers work individually with clients, either in the client’s home or in a gym. They provide a high level of personal service, and can customize the program to meet the needs of the individual client.

Group exercise instructors conduct group exercise sessions in a health club, business, or resort. They must tailor their programs to provide a challenge for advanced students while not discouraging beginners. Group programs may include yoga, Pilates, aerobics, calisthenics, weight-loss exercise, or dancing.

Fitness directors have administrative duties and manage the activities of a health club or fitness center. They may be responsible for creating and overseeing programs, selecting fitness equipment, coordinating personal training and group exercise programs, and the hiring of fitness instructors.

Fitness personalities “brand” themselves by creating and selling prepackaged fitness video tapes, DVDs, and books, or by appearing on television. In this way they can effectively reach a wide audience and develop a market for their individual approach to fitness training. Successful fitness personalities include Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda, Denise Austin, Jillian Michaels, and Scott White.

Certification is generally required in the fitness industry to gain employment. There are many organizations that offer certification, and most reputable certifying groups are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

A bachelor’s degree in physical education, exercise science, kinesiology, or a related area, plus experience, is usually required to advance to management positions in a fitness center or health club. Managerial skills are also needed to advance to supervisory or managerial positions, and college-level courses in business administration, management, accounting, or personnel management may be necessary to gain additional skills.

Job prospects are good! According to the U.S. Government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of fitness workers is expected to increase 29 percent over the 2008-2018 decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.” Fitness workers are expected to have good opportunities because of rapid growth in fitness facilities, health clubs, and other venues dedicated to providing fitness services. The market conditions that are driving the growth of the fitness industry include aging baby boomers who need to stay fit, the rise in obesity rates, and the growth in urban and suburban health clubs for both men and women.

Check out the career schools on a reputable education directory. You’re sure to find one that offers health and business courses that are helpful to building a career in physical fitness. Compare programs and features including financial aid and career services. Then contact the schools that offer what you want. As an increasing number of people spend time and money on fitness, and more businesses recognize the benefits of health and fitness programs for their employees, training for a career in fitness may be a smart choice.