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Personal Training Careers: The Background Check

9 November 2009 No Comment


Looking to get into a career in personal training? Since you’ll be working directly with people in a very physical capacity, it’s important to take the background check into consideration. Some gyms and health clubs require background checks as a part of the hiring process. Some don’t. There is no federal legislation that mandates checks for personal trainers. Most job postings for fitness trainers will list whether or not a background check is required, so make sure to gather that information when looking for a job. Certification background checks Certification as a personal trainer is another requirement that most health clubs enforce. There are many certifying organizations, such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

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Each of these certifications has differing requirements, though none specifically stipulate a background check. Convictions and felonies If you’ve applied for a job at a health club that requires a background check, the check may contain several pieces of information. At the very least, a background check will verify your social security number; at most, checks can include information on your driving record and felony convictions. The information that is allowed to be included in a background check, as well as the length of time from which background information can be taken, varies by state. For example, twenty-year-old felony convictions will not appear on background checks in California. Check your local state laws to determine what information may and may not be retrieved by a background check.

Assuming that you live in a state where criminal history can be retrieved, there is still, unfortunately, no clear line concerning what convictions will or will not keep you from getting a job as a fitness trainer. Though there are several different convictions that may leave you at a disadvantage for gaining such a job: It’s safe to assume that felony assault and battery convictions are, in general, considered more carefully than a misdemeanor traffic violation. Again though, it is up to each individual hiring manager when determining what convictions are grounds for non-employment. Starting your own business An alternative to the health club route is to start your own business as a certified personal trainer. As well as requiring much more paperwork and higher start-up costs, it is still likely, however, that cautious clients will request your background information.

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