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Personal training course students practical learning

Personal Training Career Guide

In this page you'll learn what options you have when starting a personal training and fitness career.

As more and more people seek to reap the amazing benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle, personal trainers and fitness instructors are in ever-growing demand.

Set up your own business

Many of our graduates are looking to become self-employed in the fitness industry. For many this is a very exciting prospect that allows a great deal of freedom and the ability to pursue a range of avenues. The key thing you need to do to start your own business is to have a recognised qualification in the area that you wish to offer services in. For most this is the Level 3 Personal Trainer Course, but offering a single product is not always the best business model so many also choose to qualify in additional areas such as Pilates or Nutrition to offer a wider range of services.

For many being self-employed offers a unique chance to be your own boss, and work in a manner that suits you, your family and your passions. The fitness industry and specifically group training and personal training gives a wide scope for being able to do this. For most though this is totally worth it for the many benefits, as you train to enter the fitness industry it is important that as you hone your technical skills as a fitness professional you also hone your skills in business.

Typical Personal Trainer Salaries

Personal trainers salaries are typically paid per session, and fees range between £12 and £100 an hour. Those who start to work for a gym should expect to earn a salary between £15,000 and £20,000 per year. Most experienced PTs can earn over £30,000 / year, while some reaching up to £60,000/ year.

How much you earn as a Personal Trainer really depends on you. According to Payscale, the average starting salary for fitness instructors is £19,459 per year, the lowest is £13,095 and the highest at £32,307. But Personal Trainers earn on average between £25K and £60K across the UK because Fitness Instructors are only Level 2 qualified, which only takes a few weeks to get, while a Personal Trainer is Level 3 qualified. It’s not hard to become a PT but it takes longer than becoming a Fitness Instructor. Check this guide to see how to become a Personal Trainer.

Become a Level 4 specialist

It is becoming increasingly commonplace that many of your potential personal training clients and attendees at your classes will have some form of the medical condition. As a fitness professional, you need to make sure that the advice you give and how you programme for people takes this into account. As you may know, if a client passes a PAR-Q they are good to go… But what are they don’t? This is when being a Level 4 Specialist really opens some doors. To get there you will need your Level 3 Personal Trainer Course, then you can do a Level 3 Exercise Referral Course and bolt on the specialism that you think will help you the most. The two most popular are Level 4 Obesity and Diabetes Management and Level 4 Low Back Pain.


Becoming a Level 4 Specialist Fitness Instructor is a great tool in your box as it allows you to go down the route of focusing on working with those with some level of medical consideration and it opens up the doors to taking on a wider range of clients. Over the past five years, there has been an increased focus on providing these kinds of services in a range of settings so having these qualifications really helps to get you ahead in an interview or can entice in more clients if you are self-employed.


Level 4 can sometimes have added elements to help set you apart from other trainers, such as our Level 5 Elite Personal Trainer Course with RSPH Nutrition. This course qualifies you at level 4 PT with a Level 4 RSPH and Level 5 Nutrition Course and will enable you to give expert nutrition advice to clients while charging a higher rate for your expertise.


Work in the community

There is an increasing interest in working with organisations that operate outside of the traditional environment. There is such a wide range of community-based initiatives these include things that are NHS, Council or other not for profit run and then a wide range of commercial entities. Working in the community can be very varied and especially some of the role around health navigation where you work to build activity and health in the community.

Those that work in these roles have varied backgrounds but most have some form of health or fitness qualification base, with a range of additional qualifications that bolt on to help. The new Health Navigator group of qualifications with additions such as mental health are good examples of where to start. Alternatively, the Level 3 Personal Trainer with a Level 4 specialism is very desirable.

Get into club management

Many people who initially start their change in career start off as a fitness professional working on the gym floor… many people that is where they want to be and remain there. Others want to progress in to roles where they are managing various area of the facility. Managing in leisure often involves overcoming challenges and supporting a team to provide an outstanding member experience. Management roles cover all kinds of areas of the operation from managing fitness and leisure teams to beverages and conferencing to sales. This all then builds up into a structure of general and area management… so lots of areas to work through and lots of progression!


To get into these roles there are a variety of general management courses, and many larger gym chains have an internal management development programme. However the real crux is understanding your club, your members and the industry and that comes with time served. With the vast number of clubs across the UK there is a real demand for people who can work well on the gym floor and step up to lead that team.


Teach your own classes

Group training can be a great addition to any fitness business or delivered as part of your role working within a gym. There is such a range of classes now available on the studio timetable that innovation is the key! There is always a need to have a good base level of qualifications that give you the grounding to deliver these sessions. The foundation of many classes is being able to understand a circuit style of delivery. It is essentially the same principles that classes such as Bootcamp or HIIT are built off.


There are a number of specialist classes that can be learnt such as Pilates, studio cycling and many more. Delivering sessions like this if self-employed can give a nice boost to your income or if working in a gym can be a good showcase for what you can do. They also add a level of variety to what you do!


Bringing Your Training Online


Being able to deliver online pt coaching is a great way to reach a wider range of clients and save money on hiring an expensive studio or gym space. This also reduces the limit on class sizes due to space and distancing; your classes or training sessions can be for however many people want to join in. This in turn can free up your time to schedule more classes or CPD training. You can pre-record sessions and offer them to subscribed members, adding another stream of revenue while you teach live classes.

The important things to consider being an online personal trainer are:

  • Platform (will you do live sessions on Zoom or Skype which are more interactive or over social media such as Facebook Live?)
  • Insurance (you will still need to be insured, especially if people are working out from their homes where you cannot control the environment and risk factors)
  • Relationship maintenance (keeping your clients invested in their online coaching rather than face-to-face).