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How To Become A Personal Trainer Abroad: Step-By-Step Guide

how to become a personal trainer abroad

Whether you’ve just qualified or have been in the fitness industry for years, a great way to progress your career is to become a personal trainer abroad. 

But with so much to consider, it can be hard to know where to start! That’s why we’ve compiled the ultimate step-by-step guide to working abroad as a personal trainer, covering:

Before we get started, if you’re not already, take the first steps to working abroad by becoming a personal trainer with OriGym. By enrolling on our internationally-recognised Personal Trainer Diploma, you can travel and work all over the world 

Enquire today, or browse our full range of industry-leading courses by downloading our free course prospectus here

Step 1- Get Qualified To Become A Personal Trainer Abroad

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The first step in working abroad as a personal trainer is to get the right qualifications. We have a whole article here detailing how to become a personal trainer

But in summary, if you’re not already qualified, you will need to be a Level 3 personal trainer to become a PT abroad.

Although you can get qualified once you’re out there, we highly recommend doing it before you leave, because it is much easier and more cost-effective! 

Plus, moving countries can be stressful enough, so trying to study whilst you’re over there only adds another thing for you to think about! But if you get qualified before you go, all of your focus can be on finding personal trainer abroad jobs. 

If you’ve already taken a Level 2 Gym Instructor course, then you can go ahead and take OriGym’s Level 3 personal trainer course. This is the minimum requirement to work as a personal trainer both in the UK and abroad.

 

Begin an Exciting Career in Fitness

Enrol on our Personal Trainer Diploma and travel the world!

As a Level 3 personal trainer, you will be qualified to work as a PT both in a gym or on a freelance basis. 

If you currently don’t have any qualifications, then our Personal Training Diploma is the best option for you. 

This combines both the Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications, meaning that you will qualify as a personal trainer in as little as 4 weeks! This is therefore a great option if you want to get qualified fast before you go abroad. 

When it comes to choosing your personal training course, you should ensure that it is regulated by Ofqual. 

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Ofqual is the government body responsible for setting the frameworks for all vocational course levels and for ensuring that all awarding bodies adhere to those frameworks.

If a course is Ofqual-regulated, you can therefore be sure that it has met the highest industry standards. In other words, you will qualify with all the skills, experience and knowledge needed to be a successful personal trainer!

However, Ofqual regulation is particularly important if you want to start working as a personal trainer abroad. This is because Ofqual is internationally recognised, so employers anywhere in the world will see it as a ‘stamp of approval’ that you are a high standard of personal trainer. 

You should also ensure that your qualification is endorsed by CIMSPA (The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity). 

In summary, this is the professional body of the UK’s sport and fitness sector that sets the standards of teaching in the fitness industry. 

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Although CIMSPA is a UK-based organisation, the good news is that all CIMSPA-endorsed qualifications are internationally recognised. 

For example, if you got a Level 3 personal training course in the UK, it would also be recognised by employers abroad. 

You will simply need to transfer your UK qualification to the relevant professional body for that country.

 

Begin an Exciting Career in Fitness

Enrol on our Personal Trainer Diploma and travel the world!

For example, if you want to become a personal trainer in Australia, you will need to register your qualification with Fitness Australia. This professional body for sport and fitness in Australia. 

If your qualification is CIMSPA-endorsed, this is a quick process and can be easily done through the relevant awarding body’s website. 

Choosing a course that is both Ofqual-regulated and CIMSPA-endrosed (such as OriGym’s) therefore increases your employability, making you stand out as an applicant for personal trainer jobs abroad.

Step 2- Consider Additional Qualifications To Help You Find Personal Trainer Abroad Jobs

working abroad as a personal trainer

Once you are a qualified Level 3 personal trainer, you should then consider taking additional qualifications to increase your chances of getting personal trainer work abroad.

As well as helping you expand your knowledge and skill set, taking further qualifications can also help you find your personal trainer niche

Here at OriGym, we offer a range of Level 4 qualifications to help you do just that, including:

As you can see, these courses are all focused on specific types of clients with specialist needs, health conditions or goals.

Being qualified to work with these kinds of clients increases your earning potential, as you will be able to market yourself as an ‘expert’ in that particular niche, and therefore charge more for your sessions. 

Like our Level 3 course, all of our Level 4 courses are Ofqual-regulated, meaning that they will be valid if you want to become a personal trainer abroad. 

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Some other additional qualifications you could take to enhance your employability are CPD courses. These are short courses in specific areas of fitness that help you develop and enhance your skill set. 

Here at OriGym, we offer a range of CPD courses, from kettlebell training to circuits and boxing. Like our personal training courses, these are all recognised internationally. 

Plus, most of our CPD courses are completed in just one day, so it is a quick and easy way to improve your chances of finding personal trainer opportunities abroad. 

Step 3- Decide What Country You Want To Find Personal Trainer Work Abroad

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So, you should now have all the professional qualifications you need to become a personal trainer abroad. The next step is to decide exactly which country you want to go to.

It is important to establish this as soon as you can, as criteria can vary from country to country. You should therefore look into the rules and regulations for the specific country you are wanting to work in.

You should also look at general travel advice for each country on the Government Travel Advice websiteHowever, as a rough guide, here are some things to consider for some popular destinations:

Working Abroad As A Personal Trainer In Europe

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If you want to work as a personal trainer in Europe, you will need to register with the European Register of Exercise Professionals (EREPs). 

Before you do this, you should make sure that you are registered with CIMSPA upon qualifying as a personal trainer- which you are eligible to do if you take your course with OriGym! 

To do this, simply go to their website here. 

As you can see, these are the countries in Europe that are registered with EREPs. 

become a personal trainer abroad

If you click on the UK, you will then see a list of all the personal trainers registered with CIMSPA and therefore with EREPs, in the UK. 

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If you have registered with CIMSPA, you should appear on this list, meaning that you are a recognised personal trainer in Europe. 

To register with EREPs, simply fill out the application form on their site:

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Once your application has been approved, you can then start to look for personal trainer jobs abroad! 

Working Abroad As A Personal Trainer In Australia 

We have a whole article here detailing how to become a personal trainer in Australia.

But in summary, you will need to register with AusActive (formally known as Fitness Australia). 

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This works in the same way in that you simply click ‘Become a member’, where you will then fill out a form. 

Once you are a member, you will then be able to find personal trainer work abroad in Australia! 

 

Begin an Exciting Career in Fitness

Enrol on our Personal Trainer Diploma and travel the world!

Enjoying this article so far? Here’s 3 more we think you’ll love:

Working Abroad As A Personal Trainer In America

If you want to become a PT abroad in America, you will need to register with the US Registry of Exercise Professionals (USREPs). 

Again, simply visit their website and register! 

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Working Abroad As A Personal Trainer In United Arab Emirates (UAE) 

The United Arab Emirates- particularly Dubai, is becoming one of the most popular destinations for those wanting to become a personal trainer abroad. 

We have a whole article here detailing how to become a personal trainer in Dubai. 

But in summary, you will need to register with REPs UAE.

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As you can see, you can register under different categories of fitness professionals, from personal trainers to aqua fitness instructors! 

Step 4- Choose What Type Of Personal Trainer Jobs Abroad You Want To Look For

The final step is to choose exactly in what capacity you want to be working as a personal trainer abroad. 

The main types of roles that you are likely to find when looking for personal trainer jobs abroad are:

Become A Personal Trainer Abroad In a Hotel or Resort

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This is one of the most popular ways of working abroad as a personal trainer. 

This is simply when you are employed by a hotel to work in their fitness or leisure facilities- particularly in popular tourist areas with a high number of English speakers.

This involves the usual roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer, but you will also have to consider that most of your clients will only be in the hotel for a certain amount of time. 

You will therefore have to be able to adapt a training programme to a shorter amount of time, and help them maintain their goals around their holiday. 

This is why you are more likely to find jobs for a fitness or group exercise class instructor rather than a personal trainer, since they are more in demand for tourists who may only be at a hotel for a certain amount of time.

It is also important to note that in a hotel or resort, you are more likely to find clients of mixed abilities. You may encounter people who have never been to a fitness class before or had a PT session, but just want to give it a go on holiday!

A good way to find a job as a PT abroad in a hotel is to look at major hotel chains that have locations all around the world. This is because if you get a job at one location, you may be able to relocate to another location!

For example, you could go to the Four Seasons careers website, and filter your search for jobs in the category ‘Spa & Fitness’.

become a pt abroad

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As you can see, there is a job advertised for a fitness instructor in their Athens hotel on a seasonal basis. 

In fact, most personal trainer jobs abroad will be on a seasonal basis, meaning that you may only be required in high tourist seasons. 

It is therefore worth considering the peak seasonal times of the destination you are wanting to work in, as this may affect the amount of jobs available. 

If you would prefer a job all year round, then you may want to consider looking at jobs in gyms or fitness centres- which we will discuss next!

A major benefit of working abroad as a personal trainer in a hotel or resort is that you will often get perks such as free accommodation, insurance and even flights! 

For example, the job below for a fitness instructor in TUI resorts includes some of these benefits.

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This is therefore a good option to consider if you don’t want to have to worry about things like accommodation, as well as getting a personal trainer salary

Become A Personal Trainer Abroad In A Local Gym Or Fitness Centre

Just like in the UK, another way to become a PT abroad is to find a job in a local gym or fitness centre, either on a contracted or freelance basis. 

Just like finding a personal trainer job in the UK, the best way to find personal trainer jobs abroad in a gym is to use job sites such as Indeed. 

You will simply need to change the location to your chosen destination.

For example, below we have searched for personal trainer roles in Canada.

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As we discussed, working in a hotel or resort is usually on a seasonal basis, and you may have the option to move between hotels around the world. 

However, working as PT in a gym abroad is a great option if you plan to stay on a more long-term basis in one place. 

This is because you can start to build up a local clientbase and establish yourself as a PT in that area!

Become a Personal Trainer Abroad at a Fitness Retreat

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If you’re looking for a more short-term personal trainer job abroad, you may want to consider working at a fitness or wellness retreat. 

These are holidays that focus on improving guests’ health and fitness, usually through things such as:

  • Fitness classes
  • Yoga classes
  • Tailored nutrition 
  • Physical activities such as hiking
  • Social activities 

Since they are focused on helping guests achieve a certain fitness goal, they are therefore a great place to find personal trainer opportunities abroad. 

Working at a retreat is a good option for you if you want to work in one place for a certain amount of time- usually a few weeks. They are typically in remote, picturesque locations too!

You can find a job at a fitness retreat using general jobs websites such as Leisure Jobs, but also retreat-specific sites such as Retreat Hub. 

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Here you can search for jobs in retreats all over the world. 

If you are already working as a PT in the UK, you may also be able to use your connections in the fitness industry to find personal trainer work abroad at a retreat. 

For example, a personal trainer you know may be running a retreat abroad and be looking for staff!

Become A Personal Trainer Abroad On a Cruise Ship

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If you like the idea of travelling around rather than staying in one place, then being a personal trainer on a cruise ship is for you!

We have a whole article here on how to become a personal trainer on a cruise ship.

But in summary, this is when you work as a PT within the gym or fitness facilities on a cruise ship that is provided to guests.  

Just like working in a hotel or resort, you should expect to encounter clients of varying abilities. 

You may also be expected to take on a wider variety of tasks and responsibilities on a cruise ship, as cruise companies typically don’t hire different people to teach different classes.

In other words, you should be willing to do other fitness-related tasks, not just personal training. 

For example, the job advert below states that you may also need to teach pilates and yoga, as well as delivering seminars.

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As well as general job sites, you can also find cruise ship jobs on specific websites such as All Cruise Jobs, or major cruise lines such as Princess or P&O.  

Benefits of Becoming a Personal Trainer Abroad

Now that we’ve covered how to become a personal trainer abroad, here are some of the benefits of taking your fitness career abroad!

#1- Increase Your Earnings by Working Abroad as a Personal Trainer

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One of the best reasons to find personal trainer work abroad is that you can increase your earnings. 

According to Indeed, the average PT salary in the UK is £28,313 a year. This may seem like a good amount, but let’s compare it to the average salaries in some other popular countries:

  • UAE- £134,794
  • America- £33,974
  • Canada- £36,646
  • Australia- £28,801

As you can see, these are all higher than the UK’s average salary! Working as a personal trainer abroad is therefore a great way to increase your earnings as a PT. 

#2- Make Connections in the Industry All Over the World

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Another reason to become a personal trainer abroad is that it can be a great opportunity to network with other fitness professionals. 

This could then lead to more personal trainer opportunities abroad in the future and help you progress your career in the fitness industry! 

For example, say you get a job working as a PT in a hotel in Spain. The owner of that gym may then tell you that they’re opening up another branch of their hotel in Italy. 

If you’ve established a good relationship with them and made a good impression, they may well ask if you want to move to Italy and work in their new branch! 

This is therefore an exciting and lucrative opportunity that you would not have otherwise had. 

Plus, it means that you can establish yourself as a reputable personal trainer on a global scale- not just in the UK!

#3- Gain Valuable Skills and Experience to Take Home With You After Working Abroad as a Personal Trainer 

Another great benefit of personal trainer abroad jobs is that you can gain valuable experience that will benefit your career in the long-run. 

For example, say you work as a personal trainer in a hotel in Canada for a year, and you then return home to the UK and you need to find a new job as a PT. 

Having this work experience in Canada on your personal trainer CV will help you stand out amongst other applicants when you come to apply for jobs. 

This is because working as a personal trainer abroad demonstrates valuable skills for employers such as:

  • Confidence
  • Resilience
  • Determination 
  • Ability to adapt to a new environment 
  • Organisational skills
  • Working with a wide range of different clients

Working in a different country also means that you will get to know different fitness trends that you can then bring back to the UK.

For example, a particular type of exercise class or training style may be popular in another country that has not yet taken off in the UK. 

When you return, you could then start to incorporate this exercise or training style with your own clients. 

Again, this will help set you apart from other personal trainers, and could help you carve out a whole new avenue in your fitness career! 

Before You Go!

From qualifications to finding a job, we hope you now know exactly how to become a personal trainer abroad!  

Feeling inspired? Start your journey towards becoming a PT abroad with our internationally-recognised Personal Trainer Diploma! Or download our free course prospectus to browse our full range of courses.

Written by Alice Williams

Content Editor & Yoga Teacher

Alice graduated with a First-Class degree in French and Linguistics from the University of Leeds in 2019. As part of her degree, she spent a year living in France where she worked for a lifestyle blog, gaining professional experience in both translation and content writing. 

Alice is also a qualifiied yoga teacher, allowing her write from a place of expertise when it comes to yoga!

When she’s not writing or practicing yoga, she also loves running, cooking and music! 

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