If you’re visiting this site then you are probably thinking "How do I become a personal trainer?" You probably willl have many questions about the qualifications for becoming a personal trainer and it can be very confusing. 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. In order to be clear that your training provider is selling you the right course, check that it is a Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) accredited course. 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. You can buy a PT course on line for £200 but it wont be worth the paper it is written on and will be a total waste of your money, so make sure you have checked that it is REPs accredited. If in doubt, contact REPs direct, they are very helpful and their main function is to do just that - support people like you. www.exerciseregister.org
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 as 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 your individual programme. 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.
Having worked in the personal training industry for many years, I have found it has become more and more competitive. There are so many options available to individuals that it can sometimes become bewildering which personal trainer course to choose. As a result of this, I’m going to highlight some key facts that you need to know when choosing a personal trainer qualification and subsequently a personal trainer course.
Explaining the types of qualification
I’ll start out by explaining what types of qualifications are out there. This can be very confusing at times for someone who is new to the industry, so I will endeavour to make it as simple as I can. 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. 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.
Explaining Awarding Bodies which accredit Personal Trainer Qualifications:
Awarding bodies write up personal trainer qualifications for training providers to deliver. Their main role is to regulate and police 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 personal trainer certificates for the various personal trainer qualifications. When choosing your personal trainer course, make sure it’s approved by a recognised awarding body. The most common personal trainer awarding bodies that I have come across in my time are CYQ
(Central YMCA), Active IQ
and City and Guilds
. So make sure the personal trainer course you choose is accredited by one of the above personal trainer awarding bodies. Personally I would always recommend a CYQ (Central YMCA Qualification) because this is Internationally recognised and the others are not; and you never know when you may end up overseas where a valid PT qualification is a great asset. The CYQ award I also believe to be the most rigorous qualification available, which means that you will have the total respect of your peers.
How to choose the right personal trainer course:
Before I explain the personal trainer courses out there, 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 going down the route of group exercise, such as indoor cycling
, exercise to music
and circuit training
. Personally, I would do a combination of both specialist components and group exercise. By incorporating the group exercise components, you will increase your exposure to more potential personal trainer clients where you can sell your personal trainer services. The specialist components will help you sell your personal trainer services to meet their specific need, 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 training 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 summarise: Choose an accredited Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification (I would suggest CYQ), then select a variety of additional courses to make you a truly versatile and potentially high earning personal trainer that can specialise in other areas. This will set you apart from other personal trainers giving you maximum employment and earning potential. Good luck and enjoy a wonderful career in the Fitness Industry.