What qualifications do I need to be a personal trainer?

By Salon Gold on June 14th, 2023

They say the only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen, and we agree. With countless benefits for mental and physical health, getting your blood pumping in the gym is a real no-brainer. If fitness has changed your life for the better, you might be desperate to share this experience with others — and if that’s the case, a career as a personal trainer could be for you.

A personal trainer (or PT) is a qualified fitness coach that works with clients to help them reach their fitness goals, either on a freelance basis or as part of a gym’s staffing body. To be a successful PT yourself, you’ll need to be knowledgeable, disciplined, but friendly enough to build a solid rapport with each of your clients. Sure, some of these skills you’ll have developed before you start out — but others can be taught as part of PT training.

So, the question is, what qualifications do you need to be a personal trainer? Let’s take a look.

Qualifications you’ll need to be a personal trainer

Technically, you could offer your services as a freelance fitness coach without any formal qualifications. But to work under a gym’s jurisdiction or be seen as a reputable independent PT, you’ll want to pursue two standard qualifications — as a Level 2 Gym Instructor and a Level 3 Personal Trainer. Many providers offer the two main programmes as one unified course package.

1. Level 2 Gym Instructor

The first qualification you’ll need to become a PT is a Level 2 Gym Instructor course, which addresses topics such as anatomy, exercise physiology and safety. Level 2 Gym Instructor courses are offered by a range of accredited training providers in the UK, such as The Fitness Group and Future Fit. Teaching is available as full-time study at various nationwide venues or as eLearning modules designed to be completed at your own pace.

2. Level 3 Personal Trainer

You’ll then need to progress to a Level 3 Personal Trainer course. This qualification builds upon the learning from Level 2 and teaches students about more advanced topics, such as nutrition and programme design. Many of the same providers will offer Level 3 Personal Trainer courses, but in order to be fully accredited, you’ll need to receive your certification from a Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA)-approved body. You can check the CIMSPA website to see whether your chosen provider is endorsed.

What comes next?

To work as a fully accredited PT, you only need to be qualified up to a Level 3 Diploma. From here, you can choose to explore specialist training routes or offer your PT services in a gym or freelance setting.

Further training

In order to expand your knowledge, deepen your practical experience and improve your marketability, you may wish to pursue further qualifications in a specific field. Completing more advanced training can help guide you towards more lucrative career opportunities in a number of niches, such as:

  • Nutrition consultancy
  • Gym management
  • Athlete coaching
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Injury rehabilitation

Working as a personal trainer

Personal training can be a hugely rewarding business venture, both professionally and personally, as you watch your clients become the healthiest versions of themselves. However, it does come with a unique set of risks.

If you choose to go straight into being a practising PT, many employers will require you to hold a valid first aid certification. This is because the kinds of activities involved in a PT session, such as running, weight lifting and other equipment exercises, carry a certain risk of injury. First aid training ensures that if one of your clients does hurt themselves, you’re able to respond appropriately to address and treat the injury.

You’ll also need to secure a comprehensive insurance policy. Salon Gold’s personal training insurance protects your business financially against both the risks that come with training clients, such as injury and being sued as a result, and those on the business side of things, like theft and property damage. We provide PT insurance plans with full coverage so that you can get to work on what you do best with total peace of mind.

Learn more here or get a quote for your personal training insurance needs today.

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