If you want to work at a gym or fitness facility, you will need to be 18 years old. Whether you apply as a personal fitness trainer, receptionist, or salesperson, you usually need to be 18 before you can put in an application. If you plan to apply as a personal trainer, you usually need to be certified and receive CPR/AED training before approaching a gym for a job. To learn more about entry level jobs and the hiring requirements, the following topics are covered for finding work at a fitness facility:

  • Obtaining Personal Trainer Certification
  • Obtaining CPR/AED Certification
  • Working as A Professional Trainer – How to Plan
  • Basic Entry Level Fitness Facility Jobs Open to Young People 18 and 19 Years Old
  • Working in the Fitness Field
  • Tips for Applying
  • Benefits

Obtaining Personal Trainer Certification

Most of the organizations that certify personal fitness trainers (and there are many) require that test applicants be 18 years old. A few organizations make an exception to this rule. One of these organizations is the AAA/ISMA or the American Aerobic Association International and International Sports Medicine Association. Some even allow you to take the course material. However, to become officially certified, again, you generally need to be 18 years old.

However, that being said, you can be 17 and take the Aerobics and Fitness Association (AFAA) personal trainer certification. You just need parental consent to proceed. One organization, the ISSA (International Sports Science Association), will permit you to take their exam before you turn 18. However, you cannot receive certification until you celebrate your 18th birthday.

Obtaining CPR/AED Certification

Also, as stated – before you receive personal trainer certification or apply for a gym job, you should have CPR and AED certification. CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation while AED is short for Automated External Defibrillator. You can usually attend one class for both certifications. Do not take a CPR/AED class online, especially if you are enrolling in the class for the first time. You need hands-on experience if you want to take these life-saving courses. To find local classes then, access the schedule from the AmericanHeart.org website.

Working as A Professional Trainer – How to Plan

If you really want to help people and provide instruction as a personal trainer, becoming certified for CPR/AED and professionally is mandatory. It will be much easier to apply at a fitness facility or gym when you have some certifications under your belt. Also, think about what specific group you want to train? For example, do you see yourself working with kids, seniors, or athletes?

If you wish to work at a particular gym, ask them what fitness training certifications they accept. Usually, the fitness director or general manager can supply you with a list. Be aware too that some gyms feature their own trainer certification. However, you have to be careful about taking a job at one of these facilities. Typically, you can only use the certification at the gym where you apply.

It is best to obtain the CPR/AED certification before you apply to a gym because most fitness facilities makes this type of endorsement a prerequisite. In addition, having this designation will help you make more money on the job. Also, once you have a personal fitness certification, you normally have to test for re-certification every two years.

If a gym or fitness facility does not make certification a requirement in order to teach or train a class, apply somewhere else. Typically, if a gym manger tells you this, he or she is really is not putting your interests first, or considering the fitness needs of a client.

Besides personal trainer jobs, gym facilities hire entry level candidates as receptionists and sales associates. Normally, you can move up to a management job once you gain more education and experience.

Basic Entry Level Fitness Facility Jobs Open to Young People 18 and 19 Years Old

Below is a basic overview of the entry level jobs that young people, 18 and 19 years old, can obtain at a gym or fitness facility.

Personal Trainers

Personal trainer jobs require a minimum of a high school diploma or a degree from a college. Again, CPR/AED certification is required and certification from a well-recognized personal training organization. Personal trainers need to be fully certified personal trainers (CPTs) before beginning work. Duties include creating exercise routines and guiding clients through workout regimens. Naturally, you stand a much greater chance of obtaining employment if you are in excellent shape yourself.

Sales Associates

Sales associates at a gym facility explain gym packages and amenities to potential gym clients. You need to have a persuasive personality and be interested in the fitness field to do well in the job. Candidates should have flexible schedules and excellent communication skills as well.


Receptionists at fitness facilities check in clients and provide information about the equipment, services, and class schedules, all while working at ensuring guest happiness and satisfaction. Many receptionists start out working a part-time schedule that includes weekends, nights, and holidays. Candidates need to possess basic IT abilities and excellent interpersonal skills. A personal interest in health and fitness is also advantageous.

Working in the Fitness Field

Many times applicants wonder how long they can work, for instance, as a personal trainer or a fitness director in the fitness field. In many instances, clients prefer older personal trainers than younger instructors as they feel they are better qualified to direct them. Regardless of your age, the key is to be professional. That means wearing professional workout attire, or what the gym recommends, and devoting yourself to providing one-on-one instruction with a professional attitude.

Tips for Applying

Usually, applicants need to submit resumes and applications to individual locations. Check with a gym first to see what jobs are available and the job requirements. Most applicants experience better success if they submit their paperwork at a location versus electronically. A face-to-face meeting frequently encourages an impromptu interview, which can result in a hiring decision the very same day. At most, an applicant may wait up to a week to hear back from a fitness facility.


Most employees who work at gyms or fitness facilities receive such benefits as paid holidays, healthcare coverage, 401(k) retirement plans, and life insurance options. The benefits typically vary by location.

Do you still want to apply to a gym? Are you interested in health and fitness? Tell us more in the comments below.

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