Professional Development

Three reasons why personal training is the best college job


If you’re a college student, you’ll probably agree when I say that finding a job that lets you balance your schedule around your classes and makes a decent income is really challenging. But what if there was a job that allowed you to work around your own schedule, could bring in upwards of $50 an hour, and could be turned into an actual full-time career? I have good news; there is a career just like this: a certified personal trainer.

Here are some of the benefits of becoming a certified personal trainer while you’re in college.

1. Certifications can be earned in a few months

I know what you’re thinking: “more classes and coursework while I’m in college? Ugh.” While this is true, think more about the investment you are making in yourself, as well as the flexibility the future will hold, than the prerequisites for getting certified. You also must consider the potential pay of this part-time gig, but we’ll get more into that below.

Getting a nationally accredited personal training certification from a major company like NASM, ACE, or Fitness Mentors can be accomplished in a few short months. You can register for an exam before you go into college (i.e., your summer after high school), while in college, or during summer break and knock out your studies, so they don’t overlap with your regular semesters.

Certification will allow you to get a variety of different personal training jobs such as within gyms, as a self-employed trainer, or even on your college campus. Even more beneficial, the skills you’ll learn in exercise science and nutrition will be valuable for your entire life.

2. Flexible job market

There are several places of employment for the certified personal trainer. The most popular of these is obvious: at the gym.

But outside of the gym, there are a lot of different places to get a job as a personal trainer. Your college campus may have athlete training programs that you can apply to, but you can also find jobs at retirement communities, local country clubs, condo associations, major hotels, and resorts, at athletic performance centers (outside the college), via online training, and of course, the entrepreneurial route as a self-employed trainer. The list goes on!

Depending on your place of employment you may very well be able to train on the days that you have availability. For example, in college, I trained on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as on the weekends and scheduled my classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I also mixed in a job as a personal trainer at a local gym alongside some private personal training clients.

While flexibility is one of the best aspects of a personal training job for a college student, the pay is what is really appealing.

3. Personal trainers can work less, and make more

When you think of typical college jobs working at the local juice bar or coffee shop, you’re probably lucky if you make $8 an hour. While this may work for some, what’s even more appealing about a job as a personal trainer is that you can make considerably more without having to clock in as many hours.

The tradeoff is the initial expenses and investment of time in getting certified, but when you read about the potential income, you’ll understand. Take a job at Equinox for example. The personal trainer salary for their lowest tier trainers is $26 an hour. That’s more than double the hourly rate you’d get at a decent entry-level college job and likely to be more than three times what the minimum wage is in your state. At the YMCA, trainers make $15 to $28 per session.

It can get even better if you do private personal training. If you run your own personal training business and build your clientele, it’s not uncommon to charge upwards of $50 an hour as an entry-level trainer and more than $100 an hour for a more experienced trainer.

You could theoretically make $200 a week and only work four hours. Compare this to working 20 hours at some part-time job and making the same!

Work smarter, not harder in college

As your parents have probably told you 100 times, “college is supposed to be one of the best times of your life.” Nobody ever said, “working in college is the best time of your life,” so why not consider a college job that allows you to make a decent income but also allows you more time for your social life?

Consider a job in personal training and how helping people meet their health and wellness goals can also help you reach your personal goals. Learn more about other part-time jobs or search jobs in your area today.

About the Author:
Eddie Lester is a personal trainer from Los Angeles and the Founder and CEO of Fitness Mentors. With over 10 years of experience and eight different certifications and specializations, as well as multiple years of teaching training at a vocational college, Lester loves sharing his knowledge of practical training experience as well as how to study for PT exams. Lester is the author of Business and Sales: The Guide to Success as a Personal Trainer.

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