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How to Become A Part-time Personal Trainer (2021 Guide)

Want to find out how to become a part-time personal trainer? Working as a personal trainer part-time is a great way to earn some extra money doing something that you love. 

Whether you want to work part-time for some additional income or you’re looking to ease yourself into the fitness industry until you have enough clients to go full-time, we are here to help you make that happen.

This guide will explain exactly how you can pursue this career, covering:

  • Why Should I Become A Personal Trainer Part-time?
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • How to Get Qualified 
  • The Skills You Need
  • Part-time Personal Trainer Salary
  • Your Opportunities for Career Progression 

If you're already certain that you want to work in the fitness industry, check out the range of personal training courses that you can study with us, or download our FREE course prospectus to find out more.

Whilst you're here, feel free to download your guide to a "Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer":

Why Should I Become A Personal Trainer Part-time?

Before we get started with our guide on how to become a part-time personal trainer, it only makes sense to discuss some of the reasons why you might pursue this career.

Whether you’re still on the fence about changing jobs, or you just want to know more about what to expect from this career, here are a couple of benefits of working as a personal trainer on a part-time basis.

#1 It’s Flexible

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Probably the most obvious benefit of working part-time is the element of flexibility that comes with this role. Whether you want to balance personal training alongside family commitments or another job, part-time work allows you to do a job that you love without needing to compromise other important things in your life.

If you choose to work on a freelance basis, your role will have an added element of flexibility as you will have complete control over how many, or how few, hours that you work. 

Whilst you will need to maintain some kind of consistency in order to keep a regular client base, you could very easily choose to work 20 hours one week and 2 the following.

#2 See if it’s The Career for You 

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Working part-time is also a great option for anybody who is thinking of pursuing a career in the fitness industry, but isn’t quite ready to quit their current day job.

If you’re unsure that this is the career for you, going part-time works as a great way to test the waters by seeing whether you enjoy the job before you commit to it as a full-time career.

In the same way, working part-time is a good way to get a realistic idea about how much you can earn as a PT - something that is especially useful for anybody who is unsure about whether they can match their current salary by working as a PT full-time.

#3 Room for Progression

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Another advantage of pursuing this career option is that there is endless room for career progression. 

As we discuss a little later on, there is an abundance of ways that you can progress in the fitness industry. From moving into your own niche, for example by becoming an exercise referral specialist, to opening up your own gym - the sky really is the limit in the fitness industry. 

Even if you only plan on ever working part-time alongside another job, witnessing other fitness professionals open up their own business and become their own boss might just open your eyes to the fact that there are so many opportunities out there.

#4 It’s a Great Side Hustle 

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One final benefit before we get stuck into how you can pursue this career - becoming a personal trainer part-time works as a brilliant side hustle!

If you’re looking to make a little bit of extra money, then personal training is a lucrative and as we mentioned above, flexible) way of making that happen.

Simply training 2 or 3 clients a week is enough to put some extra money in your pocket, all the while doing a job that is enjoyable, rewarding, and keeps you active!

 

Get qualified as a personal trainer!

Enquire here to become a Level 3 qualified personal trainer with OriGym

Roles & Responsibilities of A Part-Time Personal Trainer

Seeing as you’re here reading this blog post, it's fairly safe to assume that you’re interested in finding a part-time job working as a personal trainer.

You’ve probably got a broad idea of what some of the roles and responsibilities of a PT are, but we thought it was best to break down exactly what you can expect from life as a personal trainer by talking through the main roles and responsibilities, here they are!

#1 Training Sessions With Clients

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When you think about being a personal trainer, training clients is probably the first task that comes to mind. 

Whilst by no means the only task of a PT, holding training sessions with clients will be your most significant source of income, and therefore should be your main goal!

There’s a lot more to this task than simply showing up to the gym and running a client through a couple of exercises. This task involves the planning and delivery of training sessions, which can be carried out 1-1 with a client or with a small group of clients with similar goals.

Before starting any training plan, any good PT should assess their clients’ current abilities and level of fitness, and ask about their exercise goals. As their personal trainer, your next task is to create a training plan that will help your client to achieve that goal, and then deliver said plan in a way that is both safe and effective.

One thing that sets average PTs apart from those that really get their clients the results, is that a good PT will closely monitor their clients’ progress and update the programme accordingly. 

#2 Personal Trainer Admin Tasks

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Outside of leading sessions, personal trainers have to spend a fair amount of time carrying out various admin tasks. 

These tasks can include responding to enquiries, answering client emails, marketing your business, and for self-employed PTs, balancing your accounts and completing your Tax Return. 

All of these admin tasks facilitate your ability to lead personal training sessions and run your business efficiently, so although you might not enjoy them quite as much as training clients, they’re equally as important!

#3 Hold Exercise Classes

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Whether you choose to run group exercise classes as a way of making some extra cash, or you have to hold group classes as part of your commitment to a gym, this is another role you can expect to take on as a PT. 

This task typically involves planning out a 45 minute - 1-hour long session that is suitable for a range of fitness abilities. The class will need to be challenging enough to keep clients coming back, but you should also have some easier alternatives in mind just in case anybody struggles.

If you really want to make your group classes more enjoyable, putting together an upbeat playlist that fits alongside your workout can really kick your class up a level.

#4 Gym Inductions for New Members

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As we’ll discuss very soon under ‘part-time personal trainer salary’, PTs have a couple of options when it comes to choosing a career path. This specific is a task that only really applies to personal trainers working for a gym, but we thought it was worth including anyway.

Gym inductions are a pretty straightforward task. Simply put, all you are required to do is introduce yourself to new gym members, carry out some basic health checks, and show them around the gym and facilities.

Although this is a fairly mundane task, it's a great opportunity to get to know members and potentially turn them into your personal training clients, so keep it professional and show off your knowledge.

Top Tip: If you want to get the most out of this task, why not ask the member about their exercise goals, demonstrate a couple of effective exercises, and invite them to a taster session to try and get them on board!

#5 Working On The Gym Floor 

Become A part-time Personal Trainer

This is another task that is only relevant to anybody who is contracted to work for a gym. But, seeing as working a couple of hours for a gym is a really common alternative to paying ‘rent’, it's definitely worth discussing!

Working on the gym floor can include:

  • Being a presence should a member have any questions
  • Cleaning and sanitising equipment (especially at the moment!)
  • Enforcing coronavirus restrictions   
  • Implementing the gym floor is a safe and tidy space
  • Ensuring members follow the rules of gym etiquette 

Want to know more about the roles and responsibilities that you can expect to carry out as a PT? We’ve explained exactly what to expect from the personal trainer job description right here.

Don't forget to download your guide to a "Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer":

How to Qualify as a Part-time Personal Trainer 

You don’t need us to tell you that getting qualified is a pretty important step in your journey to becoming a personal trainer part-time. So, what do you need to do to get qualified? Allow us to explain! 

What Qualifications Do You Need?

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Just because you only want to work as a personal trainer part-time, doesn’t mean that you can be any less qualified than any other PT.

You’ll need to complete a Level 2 Gym Instructor course and a Level 3 Personal Training course. Or, you can sign up for a Personal Training Diploma which combines both!

A Level 2 Gym Instructor course has no prerequisites, so as long as you are over the age of 16, you’ll be fine to get on to the course.

The course itself covers a range of content, with modules on topics around anatomy and physiology, health and safety, the principles of exercise and fitness, and how to tailor training sessions for individuals.

Getting through the coursework and passing any exams shouldn’t be too much trouble as the content is around GCSE level in terms of difficulty.

On completion of your Level 2 certificate, you can then move straight onto the Level 3 qualification. This course covers similar topics to the Level 2 course but in a lot more detail, focusing specifically on the knowledge and skills that you’ll need as a personal trainer. 

You’ll also learn all about the principles of nutrition and its role within a physical activity programme. By the end of the diploma, you’ll be able to plan and deliver effective training programmes according to your clients’ individual abilities and goals.

If you choose to study with a reputable course provider, such as OriGym, you will also learn about the business of personal training. 

For example, a personal trainer course with OriGym will offer you an insight into the fitness industry, covering effective marketing and sales strategies, and all the necessary skills to start a successful PT business.

One of the most important things to look out for from a Personal Trainer qualification is course regulation and accreditation.

Your course will need to be regulated by an Ofqual approved awarding body such as Focus Awards, ActiveIQ, or YMCA Awards.

Without regulation, your course certificate will essentially be worthless and won’t get you very far at all when it comes to landing a job or getting insured. For that reason, you should look out for these logos when comparing course providers:

How to Become A part-time Personal Trainer

You should also look out for qualifications that are accredited by a reputable company such as REPs or CIMSPA (or better, both!). Accreditation from either of these companies shows that you are trained to a standard that is recognised throughout the fitness industry.

Need help with choosing a course provider? Check out this personal trainer courses comparison. 

What Are My Study Options?

When it comes to qualifying as a personal trainer, you have a couple of options when it comes to study methods. 

The majority of course providers will offer 3 options: full-time courses, part-time courses, and online courses.

Each of these study methods has the exact same outcome, so the choice really does depend on your personal preference. Unsure of which study method will be best for you? Allow us to break down what each mode of study looks like.

#1 Full-time Study

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If you’re here searching ‘can you be a personal trainer part-time?’, chances are you’re looking to work around some existing commitments, so full-time study probably isn’t your ideal option.

Nevertheless, we thought we’d quickly breakdown what full-time personal trainer courses involve just in case you’re keen to get qualified as quickly as possible.

If you need to complete your Level 2 and 3 qualifications, a full-time course will take place over a 4 week period.

Within those 4 weeks, you will be required to attend a training centre Monday - Friday from around 9am - 5pm.

The first 2 weeks of your study will be spent completing your Level 2 qualification before moving onto the Level 3 course for the final two weeks.

#2 Part-time Study

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Also known as blended learning, this mode of study combines online and practical learning. 

With a reputable course provider such as OriGym, part-time students have access to an online learning platform but can also attend weekend workshops, during which they learn directly from an experienced tutor.

Seeing as you’re here looking for answers to ‘can you be a PT part-time?’, it's likely that you’re looking to work your personal training around some existing commitments.

If that is the case, then you’ll probably be better opting for a part-time or even online personal trainer course as both of these modes of study are much more flexible than full-time courses.

 

Get qualified as a personal trainer!

Enquire here to become a Level 3 qualified personal trainer with OriGym

#3 Online PT Courses

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Looking for a truly flexible way of qualifying as a part-time personal trainer? If so, an online personal trainer course will be the perfect solution.

Online personal trainer courses are a completely self-paced way to study, allowing you to determine how long it takes to qualify as a personal trainer.

Whether you have a lot of free time to kill or you only have a couple of hours a week to dedicate your studies, you are in full control of when and how often you study for your qualification.

Provided that you choose a reputable course provider, studying online doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on course quality. 

Any good online PT course should offer students a range of high-quality learning resources. For example, online students that study with OriGym have access to:

The only time your physical attendance will be required at the training centre, will be to complete your final assessments. So, if you were to pass both your Level 2 and Level 3 practical assessments the first time, you’ll only need to travel to the centre twice!

Want to know more about how your study method affects the price of your qualification? We’ve explained everything that you need to know about personal training course costs right here.

Don't forget to download your free guide to a "Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer":

Skills Of A Successful Part-time PT

In a recent blog post discussing ‘what makes a good personal trainer?’, we covered 12 traits and characteristics that are generally seen to make a successful PT.

Whilst skills such as being knowledgeable, approachable, and motivated are all important for any personal trainer, here are some skills that are especially important for anybody who wants to work in the fitness industry part-time!

#1 Time Management

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Time management is an important skill for all personal trainers, especially those who choose to work on a freelance basis or open up their own business.

However, having good time management is particularly important if you want to work on a part-time basis as managing PT clients around your other commitments won’t always be easy.

The last thing you want is for clients to be put off training with you because you are difficult to book a session with, cancel on clients last minute, or show up late to the gym.

Not only will working on your time management skills keep your clients happy, but it will benefit your business, too.

If you want to maximise the number of clients in your schedule (and therefore maximise your income), then organisation is key. Some ways to improve your organisation skills include:

  • Creating a schedule
  • Giving yourself deadlines for tasks 
  • Writing things down or keep a diary
  • Setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals

#2 Flexible 

If you’re looking into becoming a personal trainer part-time alongside another job or to work around other commitments, such as your family, then you’ll also need to have the ability to be flexible.

Clients won’t care that you’re only part-time, that you have another job, or childcare to arrange, they will care about training with a PT who is professional, punctual, and gets results!

Whilst you can set yourself a schedule of availability, failing to be flexible or accommodate clients will really restrict the number of people that will train with you. 

Flexibility is an important skill that will benefit you within a training session, too. 1-1 sessions and group classes don’t always go to plan, sometimes a certain piece of equipment might be in use or a client injury might crop up. 

Any good PT should have the ability to be flexible in this type of situation so that they can work around any issue that may appear.

#3 A Good Communicator 

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Good communication skills are important for many of the roles and responsibilities that make up the typical day in the life of a personal trainer.  

Whether you’re in a session with a client or arranging a training plan with a new client, the ability to communicate well is something that will really benefit you in this kind of career.

Any good personal trainer should be confident in conveying information, but also able to listen to their client, take on board what they’re saying, and observe body language.

#4 Friendly

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Whilst being friendly isn’t a skill that should be exclusive to a part-time personal trainer, the ability to get along with clients and create valuable relationships is an effective way for PT’s to create loyalty and ensure client retention.

Being able to develop a genuine relationship with your clients and have them see you as an approachable person is a skill that will help your clients feel more comfortable around you, allowing them to be honest if they have steered away from their plan.

Whilst this honesty isn’t always what you want to hear, it can help you better understand your client and their results, allowing you to get to know exactly how you can help them to achieve their exercise goals. 

Want more tips for keeping clients? When we’re done here, have a read of this proven client retention strategy for personal trainers

#5 Professional 

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Being a personal trainer part-time doesn’t mean that you can compromise on professionalism.

Whether you work 4 or 40 hours a week, you should always conduct yourself in a professional and respectable manner.

This means, being punctual, having all of the right qualifications, ensuring that you’re well-organised, and looking after your appearance. 

Whilst working in the fitness industry is generally much more relaxed than a corporate job, for example, you should still set professional boundaries and ensure that you’re well-presented.

Here are a couple other posts that you might be interested in:

Part-time Personal Trainer Salary

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Seeing as you’re looking into how to start a new career in the fitness industry, it only makes sense that you’ll want to know how much you can earn. 

It probably doesn’t need to be said that the salary for a part-time personal trainer is not set in stone. Your income will depend on a range of factors, such as your location and whether you are self-employed or work for a gym, but mainly how many hours you do.

For example, if you’re looking into working as a PT for a couple of hours on a weekend, your salary will obviously be lower than someone who puts in 20-30 hours every week.

If you wanted to estimate how much you can make depending on how many hours you want to put in, you should know that the average PT in the UK earns £24.83 an hour.

It's important to remember that this hourly rate is based on 1-1 sessions, which you are by no means limited to! One simple way to boost your hourly income is to run group PT sessions, training 3-5 clients with similar exercise goals at the same time. 

You would have to offer the individual clients a discounted hourly rate, but you will easily make up for that by training multiple clients at the same time. 

Alternatively, you could bump up your hourly earnings by starting a fitness business boot camp business, running group classes of 15-20 clients and charging them individually. 

Want to know more about your potential salary? Check out this OriGym guide for more information on personal trainer salary, as well as our tips for maximising your income.

Opportunities for Career Progression 

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By now you should have a pretty good idea of what it takes to become a personal trainer part-time and how you can make that happen. But once you have achieved this, what are your next steps?

Although you’re only looking to pursue a part-time career at the moment, that doesn’t mean that you won’t want to expand your career in the future!

If you ever do decide that you want to progress your career, there are an endless number of ways that you can go about that. Outside of going full-time, a really popular way of expanding your career is by offering additional service alongside personal training.

This could involve qualifying as a sports nutritionist or completing a sports massage course, both of which would allow you to offer more services to your current client demographic.

Alternatively, CPD courses are a great way to develop your own niche, giving you an edge over other personal trainers, and allowing you to become an expert within one particular type of training. For example, you could complete a boxing & pad work CPD and market yourself as an expert in this area.

The opportunities really are endless!

If you’re serious about starting a successful career in the fitness industry, then we seriously recommended that you check out the OriGym guide to Professional Development for Personal Trainers.

Before You Go!

Well there you have it, everything you need to know about how to become a part-time personal trainer!

If you’re serious about getting started with your new side hustle, enquire about our REPs accredited Personal Training Diploma now or enquire about one of our Level 4 personal trainer courses here

For more information on OriGym’s courses, download your FREE course prospectus.

 

Get qualified as a personal trainer!

Enquire here to become a Level 3 qualified personal trainer with OriGym

Written by Abbie Watkins

Fitness Content Executive, OriGym

Join Abbie on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Holding an MA Marketing Communications and Branding as well as a BSc Psychology from the University of Liverpool, Abbie’s experience encompasses the retail, hospitality and fitness industries. Since joining OriGym, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and gone on to complete a specialist qualification in advanced Sports Nutrition. Abbie’s main focuses cover staying up to speed with YouTube fitness influencers, identifying successful and innovative content formats. She has contributed to various publications, including the Daily Express. Beyond OriGym, she describes herself as a ‘work-hard, play-hard’ type going on scenic runs and upbeat exercise classes, and often found on the front row of a Saturday morning spin class. 

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