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Can You Become A Personal Trainer With A Criminal Record?

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“Can I be a personal trainer with a criminal record?” is a valid question for those with previous convictions. In this guide, we'll answer this exact question by covering:

Once you have your answer to whether you can become a PT with a criminal record, the next step is getting qualified. With our Level 3 Personal Trainer Diploma you can be fully certified in as little as 4 weeks! Download our course prospectus here to find out more.

Can I Be A Personal Trainer With A Criminal Record?

Can I Be A Personal Trainer With A Criminal Record?

In most cases, you can become a personal trainer with a criminal record. 

For those considering applying for personal trainer courses, a criminal conviction isn’t information most providers will require in order for you to qualify as a personal trainer. This means your enrolment on a course won’t be impacted by previous convictions.

However, when it comes to employment, this will largely depend on the nature of the convictions and how much time has passed since it occurred.

For example, some crimes can pose less of an issue. These include:

  • Theft
  • Common assault
  • Burglary
  • Not paying child support or spousal maintenance

While these are crimes that do have an impact on their victims, an employer may not use it as a reason to refuse employment. 

This can certainly be the case if the crime occurred years ago, and you’ve since avoided legal issues, and actively worked on improving yourself.

Although this doesn’t diminish the nature of the crime, whether or not it affects your employment will depend on the individual gym or fitness centre after a DBS check.

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Begin your journey to become a personal trainer today with our Personal Trainer Diploma!

DBS Check For Those Looking To Become A Personal Trainer With A Criminal Record

DBS Check For Those Looking To Become A Personal Trainer With A Criminal Record

A Disclosure and Barring Service (or DBS) Check is when employers check the criminal record of someone applying for a role. It’s up to an employer to decide whether they want to do a DBS check.

There are four types of DBS Checks:

  • Basic check, which shows unspent convictions and criminal cautions
  • Standard check, showing spent and unspent convictions and cautions
  • Enhanced check, shows the same as a standard check as well as any information held by local authorities that’s considered relevant.
  • Enhanced check with barred lists, shows the same as an enhanced check as well as whether the applicant is on the list of people barred from doing the role.

Although it isn’t mandatory in every profession, most employers view it as good practice to ask all employees to go through the process. 

A standard DBS check is what most employers will check for, especially in the health and fitness sector. 

However, a more advanced one (such as an enhanced check) will be required if you’re looking to become a personal trainer for kids, or you want to work with vulnerable adults.

Even if the gym you’re hoping to work for doesn’t carry out a DBS check, it’s worth asking if they’ll carry out one anyway. This shows you are honest and transparent about any criminal convictions you may have.

If you’re looking to become a freelance personal trainer and applying for jobs such as this one below, you can still be eligible for a DBS check. 

Apply For Jobs As A PT With A Criminal Record

The gym or fitness centre you’re working at, even as a self-employed PT, can obtain this for you. However, according to Gov.uk, you will only be eligible for a basic DBS check

After a DBS check is obtained by a potential employer, there are a few different factors which may affect your employment which we’ll discuss next.

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Aside from asking ‘can I be a personal trainer with a criminal record’, you should also check out the process of becoming a successful PT:

What Can Affect Getting Employed As A Personal Trainer With A Criminal Record?

What Can Affect Getting Employed As A Personal Trainer With A Criminal Record?

As mentioned earlier, there are different factors which may affect your employment as a personal trainer with a criminal record. 

These factors include, but aren’t limited to:

  • The nature of the crime
  • How long ago it was committed
  • Who was involved
  • The sentencing/punishment you received

While all crimes are bad under the law, some are more severe than others and will have a greater impact on whether you’ll find employment with a criminal record as a personal trainer.

For example, if the crimes are of a violent or sexual nature, it’s unlikely you’ll find employment, especially if you have more than one similar conviction.

Job application as a personal trainer with a criminal record

As you’ll be working with the public, these sorts of convictions will greatly reduce your employment chances, especially if you’re interested in personal training disabled clients or children. 

However, others of a less severe nature will have less of an effect when finding employment in the fitness sector.

For example, a teenage assault and battery conviction will be unlikely to stand in the way of your employment. 

But, if you have multiple convictions for violent behaviour over a long period of time, this will reflect poorly on you.

The sentencing received following a conviction will also factor into your employment as a PT with a criminal record. For example, a suspended sentence or community service will be viewed as less severe than jail time.

PT with criminal record interview

This is because community or suspended sentences are often given as a punishment for:

  • Less severe crimes
  • First time offenders
  • Those with mental health conditions which affects behaviour

As jail time is reserved for more serious crimes, this means employers will inquire more about your criminal record and the nature of the crimes. 

If you served prison time a long time ago and haven’t reoffended, this can show employers you have changed your life for the better.

If you apply for a job as a personal trainer with a criminal record and are successful enough for a PT interview but don’t get the job, don’t assume it is down to previous convictions. 

Not all employers will use this as a reason not to hire you. Let’s explore how you can maximise your chances of securing a role as a personal trainer with a criminal record.

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Begin your journey to become a personal trainer today with our Personal Trainer Diploma!

How To Find Employment As A Personal Trainer With A Criminal Record

personal training but have criminal record

When applying for jobs, most people want their applications to stand out. However, looking at becoming a personal trainer with a criminal record means you may stand out for less desirable reasons.

While this can make the already stressful situation of looking for a job slightly harder, it doesn’t mean you still can’t impress employers. There are various ways you can increase your chances and make the journey to securing a job more successful.

#1 - Be Honest When Looking To Become A PT With A Criminal Record

Be Honest When Looking To Become A PT With A Criminal Record

As mentioned earlier, you should be honest about any previous criminal convictions, no matter how minor you may think they are. Depending on how long it takes to obtain it, most employers will often request for a DBS check before offering someone the job.

This means you should bring up any criminal convictions at the interview. Being honest during the interview will reflect positively on you, and the employer will be more prepared to see the convictions if you’ve discussed them and the situation. 

You should also be honest about why you were convicted of a crime. By admitting it was wrong and taking responsibility for your actions, you’ll show employers that you hold yourself accountable for mistakes.

personal trainer criminal record job interview

Being honest about your reasons for the situation occurring and not glossing over it is much better than awkwardly trying to talk your way out of it or blaming other people for it happening.

Unless you have strong reasons to justify it, it’s best to take responsibility and tell your potential employer the truth.

#2 - Continue Your Education As A Personal Trainer With A Criminal Record

Continue Education As A Personal Trainer With A Criminal Record

As you’ll have a lot of competition during the application process as a PT with a criminal record, you should make sure to make your CV stand out for all the right reasons. This can be done by furthering your education with our Level 3 Personal Trainer Diploma and CPD Fitness Courses.

Once you’ve completed your personal training course, your qualifications don’t have to (and shouldn’t) stop there. With Level 4 Personal Training Courses, you can find your own niche or specialty. 

This can make you more desirable to employers and set you aside from the competition, particularly if you have highly sought-after extra qualifications such as:

Although you may be looking to become a personal trainer with a criminal record, having these kinds of advanced qualifications can make you more employable than someone who only has the minimum level of qualification required for the role.

For example, this job advertisement for a position as a wellness centre fitness instructor, lists Level 3 Personal Trainer alongside other qualifications such as nutrition as requirements:

wellness centre fitness instructor job

If you’ve pursued additional qualifications, like a Level 4 Nutrition Course, you’ll set yourself apart from other candidates, and increase your chances of becoming a personal trainer with a criminal record.

However, as mentioned earlier, you may not be able to specialise in working with children or vulnerable adults, depending on the nature of your convictions.

Even with additional qualifications, a criminal record of this nature will prohibit you from working with more specialist populations.

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Begin your journey to become a personal trainer today with our Personal Trainer Diploma!

#3 - Put A Positive Spin On Your Past As A PT With A Criminal Record

Put A Positive Spin On Your Past As A PT With A Criminal Record

Having criminal convictions or even serving jail time doesn’t automatically mean you won’t ever become a personal trainer. 

Although it can hinder aspects of the application process depending on where you apply, there are still ways to put a positive spin on this area of your past.

As mentioned earlier, you should be honest about any criminal convictions during the application process. If you’re successful enough to be invited for an interview, this is the best place to discuss it with your potential employer in detail. 

By explaining how you have changed since this period in your past and have since improved yourself and situation, this can be a great way to bring up ways you have done this.

successful interview for pt with criminal record

Some ways you can highlight a positive change is by discussing:

  • New hobbies or interests you took up
  • Projects you started
  • Volunteer work you undertook
  • How have you expanded your education or developed personally

You can discuss how any community service, suspended sentences, or even jail time led to a positive change and put you on the right path towards your dream career.

Before You Go!

With the questions for ‘can I be a personal trainer with a criminal record’ now answered, it’s time to begin your ideal career. 

Take the first step and get qualified by enquiring about our Personal Trainer Diploma courses or download our free course prospectus for more information.

Written by James Brady

Fitness Writer & Enthusiast

James graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. His desire to find a place where he could combine his passion for writing and love of fitness is what brought him to OriGym. He believes his passion for daily exercise, especially running, is imperative in keeping him motivated and productive. As a result, he has a particular interest in the psychology of health and fitness and the relationship between physical and mental health. Outside of work, James enjoys reading, swimming, writing short stories, watching classic movies and has a keen interest in journalism and filmmaking.

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