Personal Trainer Careers

How to Become a Personal Trainer

If you are looking for a career that is both physically challenging and rewarding you should look no further than that of a personal trainer. As a personal trainer / fitness instructor you will be responsible for helping clients maintain a healthy lifestyle and also planning out appropriate exercise programs. Generally personal trainers work with clients on a one on one basis in the clients home, health club or fitness centre. However you may conduct sessions for larger groups or even hold classes.

Become a Personal Trainer

Your goal will be to assist your clients in achieving their personal fitness targets. Once the fitness target is met your responsibility will be to help maintain the achieved level of fitness or to consult with the client about any further steps they wish to take.

As a personal trainer you may wish to concentrate on one particular aspect of training or you may indeed choose to offer a broad range of training types. For example you could specialise in aerobic exercise, resistance exercise or flexibility training.  You may also wish to concentrate on clients with a specific performance level or needs.

For those who are sports orientated a career as a personal trainer can be an ideal choice. The working conditions can often be quite flexible and the daily routine can be varied with the chance to teach different things and to meet new people. One additional benefit of being a qualified personal trainer is that you can decide to either work for a health club / sports centre is an employed position or for those who prefer you could alternatively establish your own personal fitness instructor service on a self-employed basis.

With an ever increasing obesity problem in the UK and peoples general desire to look good there is an ever increasing demand for good personal trainers / fitness instructors – so there has never been a better time to become a personal trainer.

Before you can become a personal trainer, you first need to train yourself with the skills you need to train others efficiently.

That needs you to be self-motivated, and thoroughly skilled with a focus on helping others reach their fitness goals. That’s going to require a thorough understanding of health, fitness, and dietary nutrition, for which it will be your job to bring everything together into one easy to understand program that your clients can obtain, and reach the goals they discuss with you.

You’ll have a shift in work from teaching group classes, to working one-on-one with your clients.

Quite often, the two can intertwine as you can work as a fitness instructor within a leisure centre, health centre, or a gym facility, offering group classes with supplementary personal trainer services for those that prefer the full focus of their trainer to get the best chance of ascertaining their goals.

All that said, no matter how much training you do, without people skills your training will be worthless. You need to be people person in this job, putting your ambitions to the side, and focusing on the needs and goals of your clients. If you can do that, then you will find training advantageous to become a personal trainer, helping you to help others.

Personal Trainer Training

Before the personal trainer jobs, comes the fitness instructor role. You need to have training, with the experience being beneficial too. If you were considering a personal trainer to train you, the chances are high you’d choose the person who has worked in fitness for 10 years, over the newly qualified fitness instructor with only a couple of classes under their belt. First things first, and that’s to become a fitness instructor.

Personal Trainer Training

That can be done by obtaining the following:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructions

This is you entry-level requirements to start work in gym facilities, running group classes, such as step aerobics, dance classes, and similar group training activities in gyms. Furthering to that qualification, you can then progress to your

  • Level 2 Diploma in Health, Fitness and Exercise Instruction certification
  • Level 2 Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness

With those two qualifications, your career is in good shape to find work as a certified fitness instructor. That’s not what you’re after though. What you need to do from there is delve deeper into your training to become a personal trainer. You do that by studying towards:

  • A Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training


  • Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training

Although, expanding your training, you could benefit from the top qualification, which is…

  • A Level 3 Award in Conversion of Advanced Fitness Instructor to Personal Trainer Status

With those qualifications, combined with your work experience from instructing group classes, you’ll be ready to move onto finding work with tutoring clients, personally.

How long does it take to become qualified?

The amount of time that it takes to become a fully qualified personal trainers will depend upon several factors including whether you study part or full time , who you study with and which level you are going to study up to. Generally courses last anything from six weeks to a year or so.

What are the entry requirements?

The entry requirements vary by course, but generally you will have to be able to display a good understanding of both numeracy and literacy as well as a good level of personal fitness. Some courses may require that you have a GCSE in Science/Biology.

Personal Trainer Jobs

The amount of personal trainer jobs there are in comparison to those with the skills to teach people on a one-to-one basis has a vast gap. Add that to the amount of personal trainers with the highest level of training with recognisable qualifications, and you can further differentiate your services to being the best personal trainer available in your area.

With the right training, and approach to the job requirements, you can find jobs in almost any fitness facility.

Personal Trainer Jobs

The jobs will range from working in leisure centres, gym facilities with additional services to benefit companies with their fitness centres on site, to encourage staff to participle in healthy living programmes. These programmes are implemented into businesses to reduce the amount of sick days staff take, which helps businesses improve their productivity.

Bringing in a personal trainer, to assist their staff become the healthiest they can be in body and mind, is the gap you can fill by either being employed as a personal trainer, or going it alone as a self-employed personal fitness instructor.

The combined job functionality

For most employers, they will look to narrow down their candidates to those who can teach both styles fitness. Group classes and Personal sessions When a gym or leisure facility employs you, they’ll have set rates in place to their members and they’ll retain a percentage of that for recruiting your services, and expanding their business. These types of jobs are most often advertised as a combination that looks like

Fitness Instructor/Personal Trainer

This the type of work where you do the two types of tuition. You’ll be working mainly in group sessions, and in between classes, you’ll be working with clients on a one to one basis providing a more focused job to meet the clients’ specific needs. For these jobs, you will find there mostly full-time posts due to the combination of groups and personal training sessions.

Both sessions will normally last an hour, although on your personal sessions with clients, you’ll have more detailed reports to write up. Your group classes will have the same aspects involved, but you won’t always have to go into the nutrition side of things, as you can only really offer guidance to groups, whereas on a personal level, you get deep into the likes and dislikes of your client, and tailor a structured nutrition plan to suit those requirements.

That’s the benefit your clients get, when they pay that extra for your undivided attention.

There are also opportunities for trainee personal trainer jobs

Large fitness franchises have a number of clients coming through their doors, and they’ve not always got the personal trainers on hand to cope with demand.

From time to time, there are training programs put in place where they’ll recruit people into the industry, provide you the opportunity to train with them, under the instruction of an already qualified personal trainer, letting you learn from some of the most experienced, helping you to fast track your career. It’s not every trainee position that requires you have experience in the industry.

There are times when the positions come up with no experience necessary. This gives anyone the chance to enter the profession, train at a faster rate and get all the knowledge they need. You can benefit from this by retaining employment after your training, gaining invaluable experience, which you can then use to further your career on your own terms.

Self-employed personal trainer jobs let you earn the most

There’s no better feeing than not having to be in the middle satisfying your clients and your employer. When you’re stuck in the middle, you’re left with split attention on the job. Acting as an intermediary where you need to show the company employing you that you’re doing a good job, while trying to focus on the needs of your client.

Wouldn’t it be better to make that client really yours and give them your full attention, by working for yourself?

Note that the set your own hours, isn’t always true. Well, for the most part it isn’t. Personal trainers are hired to fit into the schedule of others. You’ll struggle to find clients that fit your services around their diary.

Self-employed is also where the most work is as the better job you do, with affordable pricing of course; word will begin to spread to friends of your clients, leading to more referrals coming your way. Whatever type of job you choose to take, be it on a cruise liner, a hotel resort, gym or providing a mobile service travelling to clients, helping each of them individually to reach their fitness goals, you will find it is a job with satisfaction when your client sees and feels the results. You’ll be feeling part of their success, which essentially you will be, as it your professional abilities to mentor clients in obtaining their goals.

It really is a joint success for you and your clients.