Personal Trainer Main

San Jacinto College graduate Geri Niess, foreground, works with client Janie Nieto during a class session. Niess works as a fitness trainer for Camp Gladiator. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.


Off to a fast start

First graduate of personal trainer program hits the ground running


By: Rob Vanya


Geri Niess is the first graduate of San Jacinto College’s relatively new personal trainer program. She earned a one-year personal training certificate of technology from San Jacinto College in spring 2015 and now works as a personal trainer for Camp Gladiator, a fast-growing player in the Houston area fitness market.

The job market for personal trainers is growing, according to Judy Harrison, San Jacinto College physical education instructor and a former Olympic and para-Olympic coach. “More and more people are looking for personal training. They want to do something about their physical health.”

In addition to teaching proper technique and biomechanics, San Jacinto College’s program teaches students how to market themselves and the fitness businesses in the real world. “We wanted to develop a program where students could step into the industry and be successful,” Harrison said. “In six months, Geri’s fitness classes became some of the best attended in Houston. She attributes her success to San Jacinto College teaching her how to add value to her classes.”

Wanting to help people improve their lives through better physical health was the main reason Niess decided to become a personal trainer. “I worked with some high school students from my church to get healthy and fit,” she commented. “Seeing the change in their lives inspired me to go back to school, and seeing the changes in my clients lives today inspires me to get up each and every day and do it all again.”