What qualifications do I need to become a personal trainer?
Posted on 27th April 2021 at 17:17
Everything you need 'on your CV' if you want to become a personal trainer.
Becoming a personal trainer is a common career move for those wanting to work in fitness.
If you’re at the start of your journey you might be unsure what route you need to take and what qualifications you need.
Do you need any qualifications at all? If so which ones do you need? And where can you do them?
We’ve got the answers to these questions and more in this post.
The essential qualifications you need to become a PT
To be a professional personal trainer, charging people for training sessions there are certain qualifications you require.
To become a personal trainer, you need to have the Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing and the Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.
These courses are relatively short and are equivalent to GCSE and A Level qualifications respectively. You can find information about both of these courses on our website.
Level 2 Gym Instructing in detail
The Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing is a standard qualification for anyone wanting to provide instruction in gyms, leisure centres or clubs.
Once you have this you can work as an instructor in any of the places above. The course itself covers a range of topics, essential for the role.
These include, anatomy, physiology and nutrition, health and safety, planning, instructing and supervising sessions, professionalism, customer service and more.
From this point onwards you could do a number of other qualifications at the same level, to strengthen your knowledge. We’ll look at what those might be in more detail below.
But first we’ll look at the next step in the direct route to becoming a personal trainer.
Level 3 Personal Trainer in detail
This is it. If you want to become a self-employed personal trainer in the UK, you need this qualification.
In order to be eligible for the Level 3 PT qualification you need the Level 2 Gym Instructor that we talked about or the Level 2 Group Training Certificate.
The Level 3 will expand on a lot of the areas above and also give instruction on delivering consultations and sessions for different types of clients in different environments. It will also cover the legal and professional requirements of being a personal trainer.
This qualification is as much about setting up and running a successful fitness business, as it is about having great knowledge of fitness.
Covering this much ground means it should take a reasonable amount of time to complete. Be wary of providers advertising Level 3 courses that can be completed in a couple of weeks. This is likely not a complete course. Accredited courses like ours will take much longer than this.
Is there anything else I need?
The qualifications above are the minimum legal requirements for being a personal trainer, however there are a couple of other essentials for anyone starting a career in personal training.
The first is a First Aid certificate. Working with people at varying levels of fitness, means there is always a chance of injuries and accidents happening.
Knowing how to react well to these situations is essential for your client’s safety and the success of your business! Most certificates are valid for 3 years.
Personal Training insurance is the other big thing. It’s not required by law in the UK but is nonetheless essential.
If a client is injured on your watch and it’s your fault (or even if not) there’s always a possibility they will sue you. If the injury means they can’t work you could be liable for loss of earnings. That’s a situation you don’t want to be in.
Hopefully, through proper and safe training and good customer service, this sort of thing won’t happen. However, you can never be too careful so it’s important you have insurance should you ever need to cover legal fees or damages.
Other qualifications you might want to take
The path doesn’t have to stop there. We mentioned earlier there might be some other qualifications you want under your belt before you dive fully into being a PT.
Time and money will be a contributing factor in whether or not you do this, but the benefit of further quals is that you add more strings to your bow and become more marketable to potential clients.
For example, you may want to offer professional diet and nutritional advice to your clients alongside exercise and fitness training.
For this you can take the Level 2 award in Understanding Nutrition, Performance and Healthy Eating and the Level 3 award in Nutrition for Exercise and Health.
Alternatively, if you want to run group sessions, you’ll need to do the Level 2 certificate in Group Training. You can do this instead of the Gym Instructor qualification and would still be eligible for the Level 3 Personal Trainer.
For a full list of qualifications we offer, head here.
Being a PT is about more than just qualifications
Of course, having qualifications isn’t the only thing that makes you a personal trainer. Theoretically anybody can take these courses but not everybody will have the skills and drive needed to be a successful PT.
So, what are the big skills you need for this job?
Communication and interpersonal skills
A huge part of this job is communicating with your clients. It goes without saying that you’ll need to be good at interpersonal communication when running a session.
Not only that but the most successful PT’s will be those that can pick up on signals, offer heartfelt encouragement and push people without getting agitated. It also helps to have a sense of humour!
Patience and flexibility
People also make progress at different speeds so patience is key. Having patience with those clients whose fitness improves at a slower rate is important but you also need to be flexible with your plans and training schedules if another client is progressing faster than expected.
A PT that gets results will be able to structure and organise a varied and effective regimen of training. You’ll also need good organisational skills for managing your training sessions, booking clients in and working with your local gym or venue.
This is where it becomes more about the business than fitness but that is the nature of the job.
Where can I take these qualifications?
Now you know what you need, you just need somewhere to do it and someone that provides the relevant course!
Well, you’re in the right place. As you’ve probably guessed, we offer all the courses mentioned above and others too.
If you want to find out more or you’re ready to begin your personal training journey, head here.
Tagged as: #CIMSPA, Award, Certificate, fitness, Personal Trainers, PT, Qualifications, Teachers, Training
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