Fitness and Personal Training Career Programs at Bryan University – Q & A Nick Keeling

Fitness and Personal Training Career Programs at Bryan University could be the keys to success in your life. Read about our programs and how they can help you succeed.

Fitness and personal training careers are projected to sustain a steady upward climb over the next decade. According to the Bureau of Labor StatisticsEmployment of fitness trainers and instructors is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.” Also: Job prospects should be best for workers with professional certification or increased levels of formal education in health or fitness. Overall opportunities are expected to be good because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.” That’s great news for anyone looking to get into the fitness and personal training career field.

Bryan University’s fitness and personal training career programs can get you on the fast track to a career in this growing field.

Fitness Program Director, Nick Keeling, sat down to speak more about a fitness and personal training career and how Bryan University can get you on the path to success.

Q: Good morning Nick! What does a fitness and personal training career look like?

A: It's fast. You’ve got a lot of different options. I would say that the lion's share of students that come into the program end up choosing a degree over just certification. They largely want to own their own business one day. So much so that it's even sort of changed our position stance and what we will offer as a bachelor’s program. One of the tracks that we would like to uncover is entrepreneurship and business.

Q: Let’s focus on personal training. What does a personal training degree path look like?

A: That's the age-old question that everyone's trying to figure out.  We have kinesiology that kind of gave birth in the last decade. Kinesiology is the study human movement. It provides a broad view of exercise science, but then these students would oftentimes need to also earn a certification through a third party credentialing organization like ACSM or NASM. We'd say that you could probably write your own ticket with having a degree combined with a certification even without any experience due to your knowledge of the contents of the body and behavior management. We've seen the pendulum shift a little bit and there are now more good certifications out there. For example, the CrossFit Level One cert where you can become a cross-fit coach and do smaller training.

Q: What types of people generally pursue a fitness and personal training career?

A: It's changing now. Historically, most people that were starting school were typically between the ages of 18 and 25. Now we see people from all walks of life, especially now that we've opened the door to online education. It's really becoming ageless. It's not uncommon for you to be a 60-year-old personal trainer if you're fit and you know your stuff. Having a personal trainer relevant degree or exercise relevant degree is critical. The demand for personal training and fitness services is growing. Now's a great time to get into the field. 

Q: How does the Bryan University fitness and personal training career curriculum lead to career benefits?

A: There are several. In our associate degree program, for example, our new focus in the eight-week course model is group training because you can charge people a quarter of the rate if you place four people in a class and you end up making the same money as a one-on-one training session. It's a little bit better than just exchanging your dollars for hours. This is why it's so attractive for fitness business owners to hire our grads - they get an employee who is versatile. Our grads can do operations, personal training, coaching, group exercise, etc. As a business owner, I can sit back and work on my business as opposed to in my business. This is what's very attractive for people.

Q: What are some important skills for a fitness and personal training career professional?

A: Can you sell yourself? Are you personable? Are you approachable? Those are the big ones. We want you to be able to sell your own business and service it effectively. If you have to rely on a program director or fitness manager to constantly help you, it's going to rob another person's time and make you less successful. When many trainers start out, they really want to know everything about science. I believe that even more important than just education and science is your willingness to hustle. You can be very successful as a greenhorn if you hustle and work hard. You must also be able to approach people the right way. Provide customers with excellent service. Even the small things matter, like: “Hey, can I help you swipe that card?” or “Did you receive your first workout service yet?” You may have to be more outgoing and gregarious. If you're living a lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise, you will inevitably get approached about fitness. It's kind of like walking down the produce aisle at a grocery store and you're wearing a t-shirt that says "I'm a personal trainer." Someone's going to say something to you or ask your advice, right?

Q: Why is Bryan University the best program for a fitness and personal training degree?

A:  We're one of the first fitness and personal training career programs that is at a distance (fully online) and that is a good solid stepping stone for people who want to become fitness professionals and own their own business. When you graduate from here, our goal is that you can start the process of getting your own business for fitness and personal training going. And that's a gold mine because the industry is calling for more fitness professionals. Our goal in the fitness and personal program is - after your first year and a half - we want you to feel like you can walk into an employer and grab a group of people and train them and earn money. 

Q: How does the Bryan University Personal Training Certificate program work?

A: The personal training certificate gives students the basics that they need to start practicing in the field right away and earn money. In this program, you don't need to know everything about muscles and anatomy and physiology. In fact, you probably don't even need to recall muscle cell physiology, but you should have good knowledge of kinesiology. You should know how people move and you have to be able to instruct in progress and regress them in their movement. You should also know the basics of the business, understand how to get a client to know how to be professionally organized, and know how to sell them and service them. We put that together with a whole bunch of practicum just to get them the experience and the confidence to do that across 10 courses.

Q: How are the courses structured in the Bryan University Personal Training Certificate program?

A: The program runs over a 10-month time period. Students take two courses at a time each eight weeks. One of the great things about online is the technology we use. We have things like CEREGO. CEREGO is a new technology that we're using because online education at a distance is tough for people to retain information unless they're really interested in the subject matter. CEREGO has built in exercises where students are continuously assessed over time to make sure they really learn the material. They are tested on the same material in a variety of ways so that they can recall the information. Students are also able to demonstrate their proficiency using recording tools, in addition to performing practicum exercises. Also, the platform is gamified and has a reward system built into it. It quizzes you with a variety of different content and it uses different words to help you learn. It also logs your memory so it'll gauge how often you're in it, how much you're applying yourself to it, and how successful you are getting the answers correct. The best part about all of this is that not only do students remember the content later in the program, but they are also able to recall information when they get into the workplace.

Nick went on to say that the faculty at Bryan University’s fitness and personal training career program all have real world experience within the fitness and personal training realm. The faculty and programs are very science and research oriented in addition to being practical and hands on. Student’s learn real life skills in real-time and can apply those skills on day one of their job in fitness and personal training.

Given the high standards to complete a degree in personal fitness and training at Bryan University, students who graduate from the program should find those job prospects enticing and exciting.

If you are not a student, but are thinking of a career in personal training and fitness, what are you waiting for? Contact us and set up a time to speak with one of our admissions representatives. Or, check out program options at Bryan University:

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