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Your Career Guide to Becoming a Personal Trainer

Published: Wednesday 1st January 2020

The personal fitness industry is booming as people with busy lives seek out personal trainers to help them stay in shape. As a result, there are plenty of opportunities in the industry for those passionate about health and fitness, especially those looking for personal trainer jobs 

Handsome trainer using tablet in weights room at the gym

However, being a personal trainer, or PT as it is commonly known, is more involved than you might think. As well as providing support, guidance and motivational advice to clients on their fitness goals, personal trainers are also responsible for creating training plans, operating fitness equipment and giving dietary advice. And if that sounds like something you want to do, you’re going to have to do some personal training yourself. There are a number of online personal training courses and  PT qualifications out there, so you need to identify the ones most relevant to your niche. Furthermore, as the majority of personal trainers are self-employed, you might need to look at acquiring some basic business skills too. 

Ready to start training 

Clipboard for check list with free copy space in Gym with fitness equipment background

The first qualification you’ll need is a Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification. This is also known as the fitness instructor course and will allow you to work in a gym or health club. You’ll need to study full-time, this can take as little as eight days, or can be conducted part-time over six weeks. However, while this qualifies you to be a fitness trainer, to work as a self-employed personal trainer, you’ll need a Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification. This is the equivalent of an A-level or BTEC qualification and isn’t dependent on completing the Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification.  

The Level 3 course takes up to a month to complete full-time and around five months if you decide to go part-time. Most course providers require that you complete a first aid course so you can deal with any potential injuries or medical emergenciesWhile this isn’t legally mandatory, it will make you more employable, and due to the risks involved in personal training, you will obliged to take out Personal Trainer Insurance. Having a first aid certification can lower your costs for this. 

CPR class with instructors talking and demonstrating firt aid, compressions ans reanimation procedure. Cpr dummy on the table.

Once you have your PT certification, you can apply for membership with the Registry of Exercise Professionals (REP’S), however this isn’t mandatory. Further qualifications can be gained if you plan on specialising in a certain area, for example, working with children, or people with diabetes or obesity issues 

Fit for business 

As self-employed personal trainer, you could be spending as much time looking for clients as you spend training them, so it goes without saying that you’ll be passionate about what you dohardworking and committed to building your reputation. In fact, you’ll have to put as much hard work and enthusiasm into your business plan as you do into training your clients.  

Personal Trainer, with his back facing the camera, looking at a gym

Any form of teaching or mentoring requires excellent communication skills and as you’ll probably be training groups, as well as individuals on a one-to-one basis, so you’ll need to be confident and comfortable giving instruction and managing people from all walks of life. You’ll also need to be sensitive and empathetic to those with unique needs, or body issues. 

As a personal trainer, you’re have greater earning potential than a fitness instructor – anything from £25k up to £60k. However, the earning potential for self-employed personal trainers can vary greatly, depending on experience and reputation.  

For a wide range of personal trainer and other fitness roles, start with a search on Zoek. 

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