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How To Become A Personal Trainer In The UK

Fitness woman

There are 4 things you need to become a Personal Trainer:

  1. Level 2 Qualification in Fitness Instructing - Gym Based
  2. Level 3 Qualification in Personal Training
  3. First Aid Certificate
  4. Fitness Insurance

We’ve put together some tips to help you on your journey to become a personal trainer and perhaps the most important advice at this stage is to ensure that any Personal Trainer Courses and related training that you undertake are valid and recognised not only in this country but internationally. Check that the training provider and qualification is a Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) accredited course.

Who are REP’s?

REPs is a national register of qualified fitness instructors and personal trainers in the UK. You will find it very difficult to get employment as a PT without being on the register, and the only way to get on the register is to have a valid UK qualification.

In order to become a personal trainer you must first complete a Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification. When looking at a gym instructor course, ensure it is accredited by a reputable awarding body such as CYQ (Central YMCA Qualifications) and is found on the REPs website. After that, you can move onto your Level 3 Personal Trainer Course which I would also recommend is done as a CYQ certificate. As a personal trainer you will be working at a much higher level than a level 2 gym instructor.  Much of the work that you will be doing will be using your expertise and knowledge to assess the needs and requirements of your clients based upon your consultations and tests, and develop an understanding of their physical and nutritional requirements, from which you will develop an individual programme for them. It is vital therefore that you are qualified and competent to be able to provide such a programme, and this means being a REPs accredited level 3 Personal Trainer.


What types of PT qualifications are out there?

There are a lot of different qualifications that will allow you to work as a Personal Trainer.

The first qualification you can do is via a Vocationally Related Personal Trainer Qualification and are commonly known as taught programmes. These tend to be the most common and preferred type of personal trainer qualification out there as they’re shorter and easy to access. Vocationally Related Personal Trainer Qualification's focus on developing and assessing on an individual’s knowledge and understanding of a specific subject.

The second type of qualification is the National Vocational Personal Trainer Qualification and are commonly known as work-based personal trainer qualifications or sometimes apprenticeships. That means you need to either have a job or have work experience in the personal trainer industry. These Personal Trainer Qualifications aim to assess and individual’s competencies in specific tasks and skills common to the job role in the workplace.

Who are the awarding bodies?

Awarding bodies write up personal trainer qualifications for training providers to deliver. Their main role is to regulate the training providers to ensure that they are offering quality personal trainer qualifications and ensuring that their assessments are standardised and meet the industry standard. They are also responsible for issuing the certificates for the various personal trainer qualifications. When choosing your course, make sure it’s approved by a recognised awarding body. The most common personal trainer awarding bodies are CYQ (Central YMCA), Active IQ, OCR and City and Guilds. So make sure the personal trainer course you choose is accredited by one of the above personal trainer awarding bodies.  The only difference is that CYQ (Central YMCA Qualification) are recognised Internationally and the others are not.

How to choose the right personal trainer course?

You need to think about the direction in which you’re going, whether it’s freelance or full-time employment. Just to set the scene for you—76% of Personal Trainers are now freelance, while only 16% are employed on a full-time, permanent basis.

Therefore it is vital that the aim of your Personal Trainer Course both increase your earning potential and equally increase your employability. Employers are looking for a true fitness professional that has a range of qualifications and competencies. Due to the standardisation of the QCF recently, all PT courses should be standard.  However many providers will offer additional components to enhance the course, and this includes things like specialist personal trainer components such as Nutrition for Physical Activity, Suspension Training or Sports Nutrition (there are many more specialist courses and these are often no more than £125 so choosing the right PT certificate is the most important thing). You might also choose to go down the route of group exercise, such as indoor cycling, exercise to music and circuit training. Doing a combination of both specialist components and group exercise will increase your exposure to potential personal trainer clients where you can sell your services. The specialist components will help you sell your personal trainer services to meet their specific needs, whether it is injury recovery, weight loss, posture correction or improved sports performance.

Many training providers are putting a number of qualifications and courses together to form one personal trainer programme. The aim of these advanced personal trainer programmes is to equip you with a basket of skills that will be both attractive to future employers and broaden your spectrum of potential personal trainer clients. For example, weight loss, ante natal, older population, children, etc.

To speak about becoming a personal trainer further please call our team on 0208 543 1017 and we will be more than happy to help.


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