There is a huge misconception in todays world about what a personal trainer is and does. This reputation is well-deserved since there were/are a ton of asshat personal trainers running around out there.
There are, however, more and more trainers in todays industry that are legit. We read, learn and practice the same things that strength coaches do. We follow the same principles and theories that strength coaches are using and try and get the same results.
A lot of people think that personal trainers are the meatheads from high school that spent all of their time in the gym. They just go sit in a gym all day and count reps for people with little knowledge behind their practices.
This misconception is going to take a long time to leave our industry because it is both true and false. There are lots of trainers out there who fell into the industry for various reasons, attended a personal training academy and started working. It's often these people that provide us with a bad reputation. Not only do they not get any results with their clients, but they even run the risk of hurting them.
The flip side are the personal trainers who get their BS in exercise science or kinesiology and do their internships at strength and conditioning facilities. We read about what others are doing in the field and keep up with continuing education. We train ourselves and our clients like athletes with compound lifts, heavy weights and low reps. We sprint and jump and get results.
When you're in the market for a new trainer, take your time. Talk to the trainers at your gym; you don't have to accept whomever they throw at you. It's your money and your health, take it seriously. If the best trainer at your gym doesn't have 5 p.m. on Tuesday available, suck it up and take whatever you can get. It'll be worth it.
Have a great day and go lift something heavy!