Health & Fitness Industry Education: Best Career Specializations

According to, there are approximately 375,000 personal trainers in the U.S. And, with thousands more earning personal trainer certifications every year, the personal training industry is slowly becoming highly competitive. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly hard for new personal trainers to get or retain clients.

The good news is, you can boost your employability by having a specialization. Having a specialization will help you to set yourself apart from the competition. Besides helping you to stand out from the crowd, having a specialization will also allow you to charge more for the services you offer.

But, with hundreds of career specializations for personal trainers out there, we know that choosing the best one for your needs can be a challenge. And this is where this guide comes in. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the leading specializations in the industry, to help you choose the right one for you.

Additionally, for those looking to delve into the philosophical aspects of personal training and fitness, consulting with a specialized philosophy essay writer can provide unique insights and perspectives to enhance your understanding of the field.

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1. The Best Personal Trainer Specializations

1.1 Nutrition Specialist

As you may probably know, exercising goes hand in hand with proper nutrition. Regardless of how much time a client spends working out in the gym, they will only realize results if they follow their workouts with proper nutrition. Therefore, as their personal trainer, you will also need to give your clients nutritional advice. Also, it’s your work to provide them with customized meal plans and diet plans, which will help them to accomplish their health and fitness goals.

If you can’t provide them with nutritional guidance, it’s highly likely they will look for this information elsewhere. For instance, they may decide to turn to another professional, who may provide them with this guidance, meaning you will have lost that client. Hence, becoming a nutritionist is one of the best specializations when it comes to health and fitness industry education.

By specializing as a nutritionist, you will be able to deliver better services to your fitness clients. And when they combine solid workout routines with customized meal plans, they will start seeing results. Consequently, your status as a fitness instructor will grow, you will be able to earn more and your client retention rate will be high. Some of the best nutrition specialist certifications include:

  • ISSA Nutritionist
  • NASM Certified Nutrition Coach
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification
  • NCSC Sports Nutrition Special
  • ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist

1.2 Group Fitness Coach

If the idea of working with groups of people is more appealing to you than offering one-on-one personal training sessions, then you should consider working as a group fitness instructor.

And as a group fitness instructor, you will have plenty of fields that you can venture into, including yoga, Pilates, dance fitness, spinning, CrossFit, high-intensity, interval training, boot camp classes, boxing and water aerobics, just to name a few.

Considering that this type of exercise is for people who want to become fit and have fun at the same time, it’s not a surprise that it has become so popular, over the last couple of years. Hence, finding work as a group fitness coach won’t be a challenge. Some of the best fitness classes courses for this specialization include:

  • ACE Certified Group Fitness Coach
  • NASM Group Personal Training Specialization
  • ISSA Certified Group Exercise Instructor
  • Certified AFAA Group Fitness Instructor

1.3 Senior Fitness Instructor

Senior fitness is yet another fitness niche that has experienced significant growth over the last few years. The reason behind this growth is that seniors are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy, fit lifestyle. Therefore, specializing in this niche will help you to attract and retain more clients. Also, there’s the possibility of earning better rates, compared to someone who is only a general personal trainer.

But as you may expect, seniors face different fitness challenges, compared to younger adults. Also, their fitness goals are unique. Hence, their training programs should be specifically tailored with these considerations in mind. And, this is where a senior fitness certification comes in.

A senior fitness certification will equip you with the knowledge, skills and expertise needed to work with this clientele and help them to live a healthier and more active lifestyle. Some of the best senior fitness certifications on the market include:

  • NASM Senior Fitness Specialist
  • ACE Senior Fitness
  • ISSA Senior Fitness Instructor
  • AFPA Senior Fitness Specialist
  • ASFA Senior Fitness Instructor

1.4 Youth Fitness Specialist

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 19.3% of children in the U.S are obese, translating to around 14.4 million children. And with the increase in sedentary lifestyles even among children, you can expect this rate to go higher in the coming years. By working as a youth fitness specialist, you can help to reverse this trend by designing fitness programs, which can help to improve their overall health and well being.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that, children who are venturing into various sports disciplines are also looking to work with personal trainers, to help them with their strength and conditioning. Therefore, there’s also a growing demand for personal trainers who have specialized in this niche.

So, if you love working which children and young adults, specializing in this area can be highly rewarding. And the good news is, most of the leading personal trainer certifications in the U.S offer fitness classes courses specializing in youth fitness. Some of the options to consider include:

  • ACE Youth Fitness Specialist
  • NASM Youth Exercise Specialist
  • NETA Youth Fitness Certification
  • ISSA Youth Fitness Specialist

1.5 Strong and Conditioning Specialist

Strength and conditioning specialists are needed in almost all sports franchises. From basketball to football, cricket to field hockey, boxing to baseball, all these sports work with strength and conditioning coaches.

Apart from professional sports teams, specialization in this field can also land you a job in high schools, therapy clinics, and fitness centers. Strength and conditioning coaches can also work in a private setting such as corporate gyms.

Also, you can work one-on-one with professionals who are training for an upcoming event such as weightlifters or marathon runners, among others. Simply put, you can work in almost any environment that requires a strength and conditioning coach.

Again, almost all the leading fitness industry education institutions offer this course. Hence, finding a course that aligns with your needs and budget shouldn’t be a problem. For this course, you can opt for:

  • NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
  • ISSA Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • NCSF Certified Strength Conditioning Specialist
  • NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist

1.6 Corrective Exercise Specialist

Corrective exercise is a training method designed to improve an individual’s performance, muscular endurance, mobility as well as muscular balance. It’s also designed to help alleviate pain.

As a corrective exercise specialist, you will be working with a wide range of athletes such as cyclists, endurance, runners, extreme fitness competitors, weekend warriors or everyday athletes.

You will assess their training needs and then come up with training programs that can help them to move or train effectively, recover faster from injuries and get back to their sports in no time.

With this level of specialization, you will set yourself from other personal trainers in the industry, thus making it easy for you to land and retain clients. Besides, you will also be commanding higher rates than general personal trainers.

When it comes to pursuing a course in corrective exercise, you have plenty of options to choose from. They include:

  • NASM Exercise Specialist Certification
  • ISSA Corrective Exercise Specialist Certification
  • ACE Corrective Exercise Specialist
  • IFPA Corrective Exercise Specialist

2. Tips for Choosing a Personal Trainer Career Specialization

As you can see, you have a wide range of personal trainer specializations that you can pursue to bolster your career. So, how do you determine your ideal personal trainer specialization? Well, here are a few tips that can help to guide your decision-making.

2.1 Create a List of Potential Specializations

The first step is to create a list of possible ideas or specializations that you may want to pursue. If possible, you can start with a list of around ten. When creating this list, you should consider things like your passion, your hobbies, skills and experience as well as your motivation behind joining the health and fitness industry.

2.2 Narrow Down Your List

After creating a list of possible specializations, you should go a step further and reduce it to around three to five specializations. At this point, you should focus mostly on specializations that you would enjoy most working in.

At the end of the day, you can only offer the best personal training services to your clients, by working in a niche you are passionate about. You need to be excited about working in that particular field if you want your clients to be excited about working with you.

Furthermore, choosing a specialization that you are passionate about will motivate you to keep going, even when things get tough.

2.3 Look at Profitability

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few niches you are passionate about, it’s now time to evaluate their profitability. At the end of the day, you still want to build a profitable fitness business. Hence, you need to choose a specialization where you have a chance of turning a profit. Conducting simple market research will help you to determine the profitability of each of the ideas you’ve included in your list.

Once you’ve identified a niche you are passionate about and it has the potential of earning you a profit, then you have a clear winner.

3. Wrapping It Up

Whether you decide to work as a group fitness coach, a youth fitness coach, a sports nutritionist or a corrective exercise specialist, specializing in a certain niche comes with numerous benefits. It will help to reduce the competition and establish you as the go-to expert in that niche, thus helping you to demand higher rates. So, if you only have a basic personal trainer certification, it’s time to consider adding some specializations.

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