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Career and Education Opportunities for Fitness Instructors in Columbia, Maryland

There are many career and education opportunities for fitness instructors in the Columbia, Maryland area. There are currently 6,690 jobs for fitness instructors in Maryland and this is projected to grow 29% to about 8,620 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for fitness instructors are expected to grow by about 29.4%. Fitness instructors generally instruct or coach groups or individuals in exercise activities and the fundamentals of sports.

Income for fitness instructors is about $12 per hour or $26,140 annually on average in Maryland. Nationally, their income is about $14 hourly or $29,210 per year. Incomes for fitness instructors are better than in the overall category of Fitness and Recreation in Maryland, and better than the overall Fitness and Recreation category nationally.

There are 109 schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including thirteen within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as a fitness instructor. The most common level of education for fitness instructors is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying to be a fitness instructor if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fitness Instructor

Fitness Instructor video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, fitness instructors instruct or coach groups or individuals in exercise activities and the fundamentals of sports. They also demonstrate techniques and methods of participation.

Fitness instructors observe participants and inform them of corrective measures needed for skill improvement. They also instruct participants in maintaining exertion levels to maximize benefits from exercise routines. Equally important, fitness instructors have to offer alternatives during classes to deal with different levels of fitness. They are often called upon to teach proper breathing techniques used during physical exertion. They are expected to formulate routines, choose appropriate music, and choose different movements for each set of muscles, depending on participants' capabilities and limitations. Finally, fitness instructors advise patrons about proper clothing and shoes.

Every day, fitness instructors are expected to be able to use lower back and abdominal strength. They need to do heavy work over long periods of time. It is also important that they exert themselves over and over again for long periods of time.

It is important for fitness instructors to evaluate individuals' abilities and physical conditions, and design suitable training programs to fit any special requirements. They are often called upon to administer emergency first aid, wrap injuries, treat minor chronic disabilities, or refer injured persons to physicians. They also conduct therapeutic or athletic efforts. They are sometimes expected to organize and referee indoor and outdoor games such as volleyball and basketball. Somewhat less frequently, fitness instructors are also expected to massage body parts to relieve soreness and bruises.

They also have to be able to organize and conduct competitions and tournaments And finally, they sometimes have to formulate routines, choose appropriate music, and choose different movements for each set of muscles, depending on participants' capabilities and limitations.

Like many other jobs, fitness instructors must be reliable and have a strong concern for others.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Recreation Coordinator. Conduct recreation activities with groups in public, private, or volunteer agencies or recreation facilities. Organize and promote activities, such as arts and crafts, sports, and hobbies, taking into account the needs and interests of individual members.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fitness Instructor Training

Howard University - Washington, DC

Howard University, 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, DC 20059-0001. Howard University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,696 students and an admission rate of 49%. Howard University has 2 areas of study related to Fitness Instructor. They are:

  • Physical Education Teaching and Coaching, bachelor's degree.
  • Health and Physical Education, master's degree.

Columbia Union College - Takoma Park, MD

Columbia Union College, 7600 Flower Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912. Columbia Union College is a small college located in Takoma Park, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 974 students. Columbia Union College has a bachelor's degree program in Physical Education Teaching and Coaching which graduated five students in 2008.

Coppin State University - Baltimore, MD

Coppin State University, 2500 West North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216-3698. Coppin State University is a small university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,051 students and an admission rate of 36%. Coppin State University has a bachelor's degree program in Sport and Fitness Administration/Management which graduated five students in 2008.

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has a bachelor's degree program in Health and Physical Education which graduated six students in 2008.

George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Physical Education Teaching and Coaching which graduated nineteen and nine students respectively in 2008.

Anne Arundel Community College - Arnold, MD

Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Pky, Arnold, MD 21012-1895. Anne Arundel Community College is a large college located in Arnold, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,149 students. Anne Arundel Community College has a one to two year program in Health and Physical Education.

Towson University - Towson, MD

Towson University, 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252-0001. Towson University is a large university located in Towson, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,111 students and an admission rate of 61%. Towson University has 2 areas of study related to Fitness Instructor. They are:

  • Physical Education Teaching and Coaching, bachelor's degree which graduated 38 students in 2008.
  • Sport and Fitness Administration/Management, bachelor's degree which graduated 93 students in 2008.

Marymount University - Arlington, VA

Marymount University, 2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207-4299. Marymount University is a small university located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,541 students and an admission rate of 84%. Marymount University has a bachelor's degree program in Sport and Fitness Administration/Management which graduated one student in 2008.

McDaniel College - Westminster, MD

McDaniel College, 2 College Hill, Westminster, MD 21157. McDaniel College is a small college located in Westminster, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,896 students and an admission rate of 77%. McDaniel College has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Health and Physical Education which graduated twenty-six and thirty-three students respectively in 2008.

University of Maryland-College Park - College Park, MD

University of Maryland-College Park, , College Park, MD 20742. University of Maryland-College Park is a large university located in College Park, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,000 students and an admission rate of 39%. University of Maryland-College Park has a bachelor's degree program in Physical Education Teaching and Coaching which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

American University - Washington, DC

American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016-8001. American University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,684 students and an admission rate of 53%. American University has 2 areas of study related to Fitness Instructor. They are:

  • Health and Physical Education, bachelor's degree which graduated 10 students in 2008.
  • Sport and Fitness Administration/Management, master's degree which graduated 12 students in 2008.

Gallaudet University - Washington, DC

Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695. Gallaudet University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,389 students and an admission rate of 64%. Gallaudet University has a bachelor's degree program in Physical Education Teaching and Coaching which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

Morgan State University - Baltimore, MD

Morgan State University, 1700 East Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21251-0001. Morgan State University is a medium sized university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,554 students and an admission rate of 34%. Morgan State University has a bachelor's degree program in Physical Education Teaching and Coaching which graduated twelve students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Personal FitnessTrainer: A three-day certification workshop including lectures, practical demonstrations and written and practical exams.

For more information, see the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America website.

AFAA Challenge Exam: Any AFAA Certification may be challenged, however, it is recommended that you attend the preparatory workshop for that certification offered prior to the exams (Primary, Step, KickBoxing - 1 or 2 days, Personal Fitness Trainer - 3 days).

For more information, see the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America website.

Post Rehab Conditioning Specialist: This entry level certification is for fitness professionals who are just starting in the post rehab arena.

For more information, see the American Academy of Health, Fitness, & Rehabilitation Professionals website.

Certified Health Fitness Specialist: The ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist (HFS) is a degreed health and fitness professional qualified to pursue a career in university, corporate, commercial, hospital, and community settings.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist: Becoming ACSM Certified as an Exercise Specialistsays a lot about you.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Certified Personal Trainer: The ACSM Certified Personal TrainerSM is a fitness professional involved in developing and implementing an individualized approach to exercise leadership in healthy populations and/or those individuals with medical clearance to exercise.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Group Fitness Instructor Certification: The ACE Group Fitness Instructor certification is for individuals wanting to become fitness professionals teaching any form of exercise in a group setting.

For more information, see the American Council on Exercise website.

Personal Trainer Certification: The ACE Personal Trainer Certification is designed for trainers providing any form of one-on-one fitness instruction.

For more information, see the American Council on Exercise website.

Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant Certification: Your clients want to lose weight.

For more information, see the American Council on Exercise website.

Clinical Exercise Specialist Certification: The ACE Clinical Exercise Specialist is an advanced personal trainer certification that demonstrates your ability to work with special populations.

For more information, see the American Council on Exercise website.

Certified Personal Trainer: AFPA Personal Trainer graduates are prepared to start a personal training business of their own from their home, train clients in the client's own home gyms, work at community recreation centers, hospital fitness facilities, universities and local colleges, heath clubs, gyms and YMCAs.

For more information, see the American Fitness Professionals and Associates website.

Cycle Instructor Certification: The AFPA Cycle Instructor Certification course is designed for the instructor who wants to expand their teaching capabilities to indoor cycling.

For more information, see the American Fitness Professionals and Associates website.

Certified Pilates Fitness Instructor: The AFPA Pilates Fitness Instructor Certification - Mat Level I program is designed to instruct beginner and intermediate students.

For more information, see the American Fitness Professionals and Associates website.

Sports Nutrition: The optimum way for you or your clients to get the most out of their workouts and feel their best is to develop an energizing, performance-enhancing nutrition plan, tailored to their body's specific needs.

For more information, see the American Fitness Professionals and Associates website.

Sports Conditioning Specialist: The AFPA Sports Conditioning Specialist Certification program presents the principles and practices of a new era of athletic training.

For more information, see the American Fitness Professionals and Associates website.

Functional Training Specialist: The AFPA Functional Training Specialist Certification program is designed to teach the Functional Training protocols to improve total athleticism, enhances performance, and reduces injuries through exercise progressions that will spur development potential for specific movement patterns commonly use in sport.

For more information, see the American Fitness Professionals and Associates website.

Yoga Instructor Level I: The AFPA Yoga Fitness Instructor Certification program emphasizes safe, effective, and inspiring teaching methods that prepare you to be a confident and competent Yoga Fitness Instructor.

For more information, see the American Fitness Professionals and Associates website.

Stability Ball Trainer: The AFPA Stability Ball Trainer Certification program was developed to promote safe yet challenging ball exercise to instructors and personal trainers.

For more information, see the American Fitness Professionals and Associates website.

Sport Safety Training (6 1/2 hours): The American Red Cross and the United States Olympic Committee have joined forces to develop an exciting coach for coaches who want to keep their athletes safe.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

AmSAT Certified Teacher: Certified Alexander Technique Teachers have completed a 3 year, 1600 hour course at an AmSAT certified teacher training center.

For more information, see the American Society for the Alexander Technique website.

Aquatic Fitness Professional: This 100-question, multiple-choice and true/false written exam is designed to test a standard level of theoretical and practical competence and skill for aquatic fitness professionals.

For more information, see the Aquatic Exercise Association website.

Functional Trainer: Functional training is a complete system of athletic development that focuses on training the body the way it will be used in competition, making it the most efficient and effective form of training today.

For more information, see the International Fitness Professional Association website.

Master Personal Fitness Trainer Track: The Master Personal Fitness Trainer Track includes the following certifications: IFPA Personal Fitness Trainer OR .

For more information, see the International Fitness Professional Association website.

Flexibility Coach: You want to be at the "top-of-your-game," and the IFPA Certified Flexibility Coach gives you tools to set you apart.

For more information, see the International Fitness Professional Association website.

Boxing Level I: This 1 day certification provides an overview of the theoretical knowledge and practical skill necessary to teach a safe and effective Boxing and or Kick Boxing class.

For more information, see the International Sports Conditioning Association website.

Kick Boxing Level I: This 1 day certification provides an overview of the theoretical knowledge and practical skill necessary to teach a safe and effective Boxing and or Kick Boxing class.

For more information, see the International Sports Conditioning Association website.

Personal Training: This 2 day certification involves a combination of lectures, discussion groups and hands-on practical sessions.

For more information, see the International Sports Conditioning Association website.

Yoga Ball: This 1 day certification combines Yoga, Pilates and Balance & Stability training with the Stability Ball.

For more information, see the International Sports Conditioning Association website.

Youth Fitness Trainer: Youth fitness training is one of the fastest-growing segments in the health club and fitness industry.

For more information, see the International Sports Sciences Association website.

Certified Fitness Trainer: If you enjoy staying in shape and helping others, there has never been a better time to become a Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT).

For more information, see the International Sports Sciences Association website.

Group Exercise Certification: Beginning instructors with little or no experience gain insight into the basics of teaching group exercise.

For more information, see the National Exercise Trainers Association website.

Personal Trainer Certification: NETA Personal Trainer Certification includes 14 hours of lecture, demonstrations and practical, hands-on applications.

For more information, see the National Exercise Trainers Association website.

Pilates Certification: Learn the ABC's of Pilate's Principles: Alignment, Breathing, Control, and Stability.

For more information, see the National Exercise Trainers Association website.

Certified Weight Management Course: This course can be taken for CEU's or for Certification in Weight Control.

For more information, see the National Strength Professionals Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.