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How Long Does It Take to Become a Personal Trainer in the UK?

Personal Training as a full-time career, or as a side-hustle has grown in popularity over the years. With such a vast array of providers offering training course with different lengths, potential students looking for a course might be left wondering - how long does it actually take to become a Personal trainer? Equally, why does it take that long?


When deciding which training provider to take your personal training qualification with, the length of time the course takes to complete is often an influential factor.


Many training providers are offering personal training courses in the UK where the qualification length can range from as little as 5 weeks to 2+ years. This is a large gap, and the significance of this can be summed up in a few questions:

  • What experienced is gained in this time?
  • What reinforcement of learning is performed?
  • What habits have been picked up or corrected (teaching, training, and learning)?


In this blog, we have answered your questions about what course length really means for your personal training qualification

Does the Length of Time Matter?

A common search is “is it possible to become a personal trainer in 5 weeks?”


Yes, it is possible. There is however evidence to suggest that courses of this length, are less likely to prepare a new Personal Trainer for a long and successful career.


In the Raising the Bar report commissioned by Future Fit, ukactive and CIMSPA, it was found that 92% of employers have to provide some additional training to fitness staff to ensure they are work-ready.

Significantly, other results showed that:

  • 73% of employers believe that personal training qualifications and assessments should take no less than six months to be completed
  • 100% of fitness sector employers believe that candidates are required to have studied for over 8 weeks to be work-ready
  • 98% of training course developers consider face to face coaching as a crucial element of learning (evidence from 2021 Trends: Learning & Developing in a COVID World report)


Seemingly, then, employers value the time taken by students to fully invest in their training and develop their skills over a longer period of time. Having a face-to-face element is equally important to develop essential teaching skills and receive real-time feedback from professional tutors. Combining that longer period of study and the confidence gained from in-person tuition will set you up for success.



Why Does Course Length Matter?


When considering the course length, it is important to understand whether a student is being taught how to be a safe and effective personal trainer, or simply taught how to pass a short course exam.


According to CIMSPA’s professional standards:

  • The role of a Gym Instructor has 8 Learning and Development Requirements
  • The role of a Personal Trainer has 10 Learning and Development Requirements


Each of the requirements will have further underpinning knowledge and skills to gain to prove competency and confidence. If each module takes as little as a week, then graduation with all the necessary modules to fit industry standards is looking less likely in under 6 months.


Further to this study, Employers were asked how effective these standards would be in raising the quality of Personal Training provisions. Question and response below:

“Do you think these standards will have a positive impact on raising the quality of Personal Trainers entering the industry? Yes: 100%”


If the industry is confident that the quality will improve with these standards, then it is not advisable to try and deliver these standards in a shorter time.


With this industry knowledge and research in mind, we at Future Fit try to ensure that learning is given, reinforced, embedded, and then assessed to ensure that our students can meet the expectations of both the industry and their future employers and clients.



What are the Other Skills Potential Employers are Looking For?


In addition to the time frame qualifications are delivered, the study also asked what other skills and knowledge appeared to be missing from the newly qualified personal trainers. The study showed:

  • 70% of potential employers felt staff lacked gym floor experience.
  • 78% of potential employers felt staff lacked the skills required to be successful.
  • 78% of potential employers felt staff have unrealistic expectations of the tasks required in the job.
  • 74% of potential employers felt staff lacked behaviour change skills.


In addition to this, 91% of employers had to provide some sort of additional training to newly qualified and recruited staff, the most common form being:

  • Commercial Acumen: 78%
  • Behaviour Change Skills: 65%
  • Social Skills: 57%
  • Nutritional Knowledge: 39%


These are all areas that we offer as part of our training. Our courses are designed and influenced to fit industry standards so that, by graduating with us, you will have the best grounding possible for your future career.


For example, we provide students on our Level 3 personal trainer course with behaviour change coaching skills in a specific module to learn more about how to positively influence clients and encourage them towards their goals. Equally, we include a nutrition and weight management module so our graduates can diversify their coaching and be a well-rounded fitness professional. Having these course included in the overall qualification may make the course slightly longer but will have infinite returns in the long-run on training skills, employability, and earning potential.



Further Considerations, Skills and Qualities Taught on Longer Courses


A study by Insure4Sport also highlighted what personal trainers need to understand to be successful and productive. According to their research, the key qualities a personal trainer can have are:

  • A good online presence – gaining more customers and demonstrating your adaptability
  • Practise what you preach – keeping up to date with your own training and leading by example
  • Solid work ethic – this links to the idea of never stopping learning and ‘hustling’ – this is especially true for self-employed personal trainers


At Future Fit, we believe that our workshops help to promote this. The longevity of the courses and need to be proactive in the industry are reinforced throughout the face-to-face interaction with our highly experienced tutors. Our practical workshops prepare you to be able to demonstrate movements safely and effectively and to show you have both theory and practical knowledge.


Other key skills and qualities are:

  • Punctuality, professionalism, and preparation.
  • Great Communication Skills.
  • Ability to Motivate.
  • Avoiding unnecessary risks.


We deliver all the skills and qualities through our workshops, both online and practical face-to-face. This is highlighted in each workshop and is directly related to the criteria requested by our awarding organisations such as CIMSPA and RSPH.


To Conclude

In short, it is important to look at your training provider carefully, consider what they have to offer,

  • Does it meet the industry standards?
  • Does it give the skills required by employers and clients alike?
  • Does it give the experience on the gym floor which employers are looking for?
  • Does it address the issues highlighted from the Raising the Bar study?
  • Will it help you be more attractive to potential employers in knowledge, expectations and experience?

Choose wisely, and ensure you set yourself up to progress, be successful and continue to 'raise the bar' in the industry!


If you’ve been inspired to know more about how we prepare our students to enter the fitness industry as confident and adaptable personal trainers, check out our level three course here, or speak to a member of our team for a no-obligation chat on 01329 829444