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How To Get a Personal Trainer Internship in 2024

The BLS predicts the number of openings for personal fitness trainers and instructors will grow by 39% by 2030. This faster-than-average growth makes becoming a personal trainer attractive for those looking for stability within an industry

Eddie Lester

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The average annual salary of $40,510 isn’t bad either, especially considering a college education isn’t necessary and you just need an appropriate certification and training

But that doesn’t mean that securing a personal trainer internship isn’t competitive. Personal trainer internships aren’t necessarily advertised, so you’ll need to put your sales hat on and make sure you can demonstrate people skills. 

Below are the steps you’ll need to take to get the personal trainer internship that kick starts your training into this exciting industry. 

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Write Down Your Goals

Not all personal trainers focus on the same type of clients or objectives. Some work with people who recently sustained an injury and are trying to gain back their physical mobility and strength. Other personal trainers work with clients who want to lose weight and learn how to eat better. While many personal trainers work in gyms, there are some trainers who work for the government or in public education.

Before you seek out an internship, determine your career goals. For instance, do you want a gym internship or one that focuses on working with K-12 students during physical education courses? Personal training apprenticeships should align with your career objectives and desired area(s) of specialty.

The percentage of adults who were overweight or obese was 42.4% from 2017 to 2018. That percentage continues to increase as sedentary lifestyles and eating diets with processed foods becomes the norm. While many opportunities to work with adults who want to improve their health exist, don’t pursue a specialty just because it’s popular. Really ask yourself what your passion is and target a suitable personal training internship.  

Research Local Facilities

Job seekers often write down a list of organizations they’d like to target. You should do the same for a fitness internship. Perform an online search of gyms and rehab centers in your area, but also find out what type of clientele they work with. Some facilities, for instance, may work only with females. 

Other gyms may offer limited personal training opportunities, focusing instead on weekly group classes for yoga, aerobics, or strength training. Full-service gyms with a variety of equipment, courses, and spa, swimming, and relaxation options may have personal trainer internship programs. As long as these workout centers and programs match your goals, find out what’s required and how your application can stand out. 

For instance, pursuing personal trainer certification or having a CPR certification can give you a leg up. It may also help if you have current or previous customer service experience, such as retail, call center, or any position that requires working with the public.

Get Your Resume and Cover Letter in Order

Once you’ve figured out which facilities and personal trainer internships to target, it’s time to create your resume and cover letter. Depending on how many facilities and programs you’re applying to, you may need a slightly different cover letter and resume for each one. If you’re unsure of how to craft a resume and cover letter for a personal trainer internship, get some help from a resume writing service or ask a personal trainer you know.

If you have references that can write recommendation letters, ask them to do this before you submit your application. Alternatively, you can ask your references to submit them to the facilities via email. Some internship applications allow you to specify email addresses and phone numbers for your references so the organizations can send reference requests to them later.

Take Advantage of Shadowing Opportunities

Some gyms and fitness facilities offer shadowing opportunities. You can use these as a way to gain contacts and establish relationships with hiring managers. When you shadow other personal trainers, you’ll also get a better sense of the gym’s philosophy, what your day might be like during an internship, and what type of clients frequent the facility.

It’s one thing to learn about a gym through second-hand research and words on the web. Seeing and experiencing things in person gives you a more realistic idea of whether the facility is a right fit for you and your career goals. Observe how personal trainers interact with the clients. How do they motivate and encourage their clients? 

Before you take on a shadowing opportunity, find out if you’re expected to simply observe or whether you can provide clients with coaching tips. Some personal trainers you work with will want to see your skills in action. Other facilities will prefer that you refrain from providing clients advice unless you’re a regular employee or have a contract to provide services to their customers. 

Practice Your Interviewing Skills

Find a friend or a professional coach that can help you run through mock interviews. Be sure to research some of the questions that gym managers are likely to ask of candidates seeking a personal trainer internship. Work on not only the content of your answers but how you communicate. A confident style that projects empathy and a willingness to listen is what you should be aiming for. 

Ask for honest feedback or record your mock interviews so you can go back later and identify areas to work on. Also, come up with a list of questions you want to ask gym and hiring managers. The interview is not just an opportunity for them to evaluate you, but for you to determine if it’s the right place to start your career. 

Wrapping it Up

Preparing to apply to a gym or fitness internship involves identifying your short-term and long-term professional goals. Collecting information about local facilities, crafting an appropriate resume and cover letter, shadowing personal trainers, and running through mock interviews can get you ahead of the pack. 

For additional preparation, our business course can help get a new personal trainer up and running

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