How to Become a Personal Trainer

To become a personal trainer you need to gain the REPs or NRPT Level 3 qualification which is the nationally recognised diploma. When you complete Level 3 you also complete Level 2, which is the Gym Instructor qualification. The vocational route can take up to 12 months to complete.

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To become a complete personal trainer you need to gain the REPs or NRPT Level 3 qualification which is the nationally recognised diploma. When you complete Level 3 you also complete Level 2, which is the Gym Instructor qualification.

Download our free "how to become a Personal Trainer" guide by clicking on the banner below which contains all the information you need to start your career in the fitness industry with confidence.

Download our free How to Become a Personal Trainer Guide today

 Before we get into the steps, what do personal trainers do? 

  • They set realistic goals for their clients and workout plans to follow
  • Support, advice, motivate their clients in reaching these goals
  • Help their clients with the right nutrition, fitness and health advice
  • Monitor progress, complete fitness checks and make sure clients are always healthy 
  • Keep up to date with the latest fitness developments and innovations

In summary, this is the list of 7 steps you need to take to become a personal trainer: 

  1. Research the profession. When looking at new career ideas, there is a lot of research to be done. Before starting any Personal Training course, it’s a good idea to get some information and learn a bit about what you will be doing.
  2. Decide if you have what it takes. Deciding if you have what it takes means comparing your own skills and desires against what the profession requires. The issue that you are trying to solve at this stage is to understand if there is a match. Becoming a personal trainer requires a diverse set of skills, first of all, you should be passionate about the discipline. 
  3. Find a PT course. There is an enormous number of training providers out there and as with any industry, some more reputable than others. How do you find the best one? One of the most used methods is to have a look at 'Raising the Bar' report. 
  4. Get qualified. If you already know that you want to become a Personal Trainer, you need to be a qualified Fitness Instructor with the Level 3 Personal Training Diploma.
  5. Insurance. Now you’re qualified, getting insured is crucial. Without insurance, you will not be able to train people in most gyms and if your client is injured, you will be liable for any costs.
  6. Work experience. This step is optional, if you have qualified as a Personal Trainer you may consider spending some time shadowing successful Personal Trainers. 
  7. Decision time. There are many different types of Personal Training jobs, including self-employed or employed roles. Employed Personal Trainers work for gym or leisure operators.

 

The seven steps to becoming a Personal Trainer

Step 1. Research the profession

When looking at becoming a Personal Trainer, there is a lot of research to be done. Before starting any Personal Training course, it’s a good idea to get some information and learn a bit about what you will be doing.

Some people come into Personal Training with qualifications in Sports Science, nutrition or other health and fitness related subjects. Some people have worked as fitness instructors for a while and are looking to move into a new role. Others come into Personal Training with no previous experience or education.

Either way, your Personal Training course should give you all the information you need to become a qualified Personal Trainer, but an understanding of the subject can help you in your training.

 

Step 2. Decide if you have what it takes to become a Personal Trainer

Deciding if you have what it takes means comparing your own skills and desires against what the profession requires. The issue that you are trying to solve at this stage is to understand if there is a match. Becoming a personal trainer requires a diverse set of skills, first of all, you should be passionate about the discipline. But you should also be able to work very well with people and be a good leader and motivator.

Listening to your clients is one of the key success skills, as it allows you to understand their goals, pains and desires. Other skills include business and marketing (especially if you take the freelance route), patience, communication and enthusiasm. 

It goes without saying, of course, that you should lead a healthy lifestyle to be a good role model for your clients.

 

Step 3. Find a Personal Trainer course

There is an enormous number of training providers out there and as with any industry, some more reputable than others. How do you find the best one? 

The annual Raising the Bar report is compiled through surveys of key employers, operators and people across the health and fitness industry. The report highlights key employer-led expectations of training courses, including that they should last more than six months and offer social, business and behaviour change skills as well. Despite this, there are quick fix courses where you can take the entire qualification without ever leaving your seat.

When looking for a Personal Training qualification, things to consider are:

  • Will I come out of the qualification ready to train people? 
  • Will I have a qualification that employers and insurers recognise?
  • What key skills will the course give me? 
  • How is the course preparing me for life in the real world?

We have written extensively about choosing the right personal training course back in 2014 and we have answered an additional 20 answers on personal training courses as we understand that starting a career requires gathering lots of information.

If you want to compare Future Fit Training with other providers out there, download the comprehensive Comparison Checklist.

Another valuable piece of advice is to check the testimonials and previous students stories.

Sam Rider  Sam Rider - Fitness journalist and Personal Trainer

Charlotte Ord Charlotte Ord - Owner at Charlotte Ord Academy

 

Step 4. Get qualified

If you already know that you want to become a Personal Trainer, you don't need any of the steps above. You can start with Level 2 Gym Instructor Diploma to become a Fitness Instructor.

  • Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing – Gym
  • Level 2 Diploma in Health, Fitness, and Exercise Instruction
  • Level 2 Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness

However, to be called a Personal Trainer, you need to achieve the industry standard Level 3 Personal Training qualification, which shows that you meet the requirements set at a national level. With this, you achieve Level 3 status on the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs).

The standard courses required to achieve this status are:

  • Level 3 Exercise Programming & Coaching
  • Level 3 Advanced Anatomy & Physiology
  • Level 3 Nutrition & Weight Management

 

We offer two industry recognised diplomas:

Level 3 - Complete Personal Trainer Diploma

Level 3 - Complete Personal Trainer Diploma

This qualification will give you everything you need to become a successful personal trainer. Our latest cutting edge training techniques will give you the knowledge, skills and confidence to help you stand out above the rest.

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Level 4 - Total Immersion Personal Training Diploma

Level 4 - Total Immersion Personal Training Diploma

You will have the highest level of industry recognition giving you Level 4 ‘specialist’ status. By completing this diploma you will be able to extend the reach of your business by accepting GP referrals and providing a specialist premium service to non-referred clients.

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Step 5. Insurance

Now you’re qualified with Level 3, you have become a Personal Trainer. But to practice the profession getting insured is crucial. Without insurance, you will not be able to train people in most gyms and if your client is injured, you will be liable for any costs. Find yourself a reputable insurance company and make sure that you update this each year.

By getting insured you protect yourself against claims arising from third party or damages. Insurances also cover public liabilities, professional indemnity, sports equipment, personal accidents and loss of earning. 

 

Step 6. Gain work experience

This step is optional, if you have qualified as a Personal Trainer you may consider spending some time shadowing successful Personal Trainers. This is especially useful to those who have not worked previously as a fitness instructor or gym instructor. Lack of experience is one of the biggest hurdles when trying to get your first job in the industry. 

You can begin your career by seeking employment as a Gym Instructor, or alternatively, volunteering at your local health club, shadowing the trainers there, or helping someone running a Bootcamp are all great ideas.

The other option to earn a personal trainer salary is to get job interviews through Future Fit's guaranteed interviews scheme. 

 

Step 7. Decision time

There are many different types of Personal Training jobs, including self-employed or employed roles. Employed Personal Trainers work for gym or leisure operators, normally either with a wage (although this is rare) or as a fitness instructor who does Personal Training on the side.

Self-employed Personal Trainers can either pay rent to a gym to work in their space, or they may have their own home gym. Some also choose to train in public spaces or could go to their client’s homes to train.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both types of work - a self-employed person gets to keep all the money they earn and has much more freedom over who, when and where they train, while an employed person has job security and a steady income, for example.

Make a decision about what is best for you but remember you can always start one way and switch to another - many newly qualified Personal Trainers will start out as an employed fitness instructor/PT and become a self-employed Personal Trainer once they have more experience.

 

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Watch this video below to see what becoming a Personal Trainer really means.


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