First Aid Qualification: Do Personal Trainers Need it?

For what seems like a fairly basic question, you’d be surprised as to how much confusion there is surrounding this topic. More and more, we are seeing people ask: do personal trainers need to be first aid qualified? This is due to a variety of different factors. Many prospective personal trainers either discover online, or are directly told, that a first aid qualification is a mandatory requirement in order to work in the fitness sector.

But Is This True?

Actually, no. You don’t need to be first aid qualified to work as a personal trainer in the UK, nor do you need the qualification to work in a gym as a PT.

So, where is all the confusion coming from? To get to the bottom of this, we need to take a look at the typical sources of why people ask do personal trainers need to be first aid qualified…


1 – Personal training course providers

Many PT training course providers make it seem compulsory for you to have the first aid certificate to become a personal trainer. However, many personal training course providers also sell first aid certificates.

See where we’re going with this?

If a provider has included the first aid course on their diploma or as part of their personal training course package, and they are telling you that it’s a compulsory requirement, then be sure to scrutinise their claims.


2 – “Established” Personal Trainers

As a professional trainer, many prospective trainers ask “do personal trainers need to be first aid qualified?” Asking people you know in the industry seems a reasonable enough idea. Surely, you can trust friends, right?


That is, if their reply was that you need a first aid qualification. It is, however, more than likely that your friend is not deliberately deceiving you. As we have covered, this information is widespread and peculiarly unchallenged in many areas of the fitness industry.

In a lot of cases, PTs get first aid qualified through their course provider and are told that it is mandatory. As such, they have no reason to question the motives of their providers.


3 – Unreliable / Monetary Incentivised online resources

Unfortunately, we are all susceptible to unreliable information online. We read an article, or a review of a new product, without considering the source and without scrutinising the information. In an era defined by “post-truth” media and “fake news”, the everyday online consumer is required to become more and more discerning.

Don’t worry, this is easier than it sounds.

Sometimes, all it takes is to sit back and ask ourselves: What is the agenda of the article? Who is writing it? Why they are writing it?

When you ask “do personal trainers need to be first aid qualified?” you need to ensure that the information is reliable.

Have you found an article online telling you it is compulsory to acquire a first aid qualification before becoming a PT? Have a look to see the credentials of the individual writing the article, and whether they have ulterior motives resulting from the company they work for.

Now to be clear, we are NOT saying don’t get qualified in first aid, or that there are no benefits to being qualified in first aid.

Of course there are benefits! Lots of them, in fact, as we are going to touch upon now…


4 – Increased chances of employment

Gyms and health club operators need qualified personal trainers who are first aid qualified for the gym to operate and function.

But you said you didn’t need to be qualified in first aid?

Yes, they only need one qualified member of staff on site at all times. If you consider that your typical health club has 3,000 members, meaning they would normally hire around ten personal trainers, it is clear that you can still work in a health club without the qualification.

Here it becomes a little less straightforward. The factual answer to “do personal trainers need to be first aid qualified?” is no, but the qualification certainly won’t do your chances of employability any harm.

If you do possess the certificate, and you are also fully qualified as a fitness instructor or personal trainer, you have an automatic advantage at the interview stage of getting the job.


5 – Reduce your monthly fitness insurance costs

Think about this for a moment: if you’re the insurance company, who is higher risk? A personal trainer who has the qualification in first aid, or the one who has not?

Pretty easy answer, right?

It’s also easy for the Fitness Insurance companies to work out. They offer slightly better rates to personal trainers who have the first aid certification, which can save you money and time!


6 – Be a lifesaver

As you will know, clients come in all shapes and sizes. This means that some clients are more susceptible to problems when first introduced to exercise, especially if they have a history of poor physical health.

Getting first aid qualified as a personal trainer gives us the ability to actually make a real difference if one of your clients does encounter a problem.

Don’t, however, be too alarmed.

Nine times out of ten, a problem encountered on the gym floor will be fairly minor, such as low blood sugar levels or dizziness from over-training. However, for that rare occasion where you may be needed, your qualification could make the difference between saving their life, or not.


7 – Make your clients feel comfortable

Although you do not need to be first aid certified as a personal trainer, it could make the difference for your client base.

Letting your clients know that you are fully accredited as a first aider will make them feel secure and safe whilst being trained. This is especially true of home personal training sessions.


8 – Can help you with promotion

As we discussed in the opening paragraph, many fitness professionals assume that the first aid qualification is mandatory in order to be able to practice as a personal trainer.

If fellow fitness professionals think this, you can only assume that clients do to. When decisions are tough, the qualification could be the difference between you getting a new client on board, or losing them to another trainer. From a softer sales perspective, it also validates your professional status.


9 – Make you feel comfortable

If you’re a freelance trainer who is first aid certified, you might find that it puts your mind at ease that you are capable of reacting to unforeseen issues.

Imagine you are training clients in their home, where there is no CCTV and no other individuals present. You are going to feel far more comfortable if you have the appropriate training and experience to deal with emergency situations.

Such knowledge comes hand in hand with the first aid qualification.

Obviously then, there are some great benefits to getting first aid qualified. But why might you be reluctant to gaining the qualification?

You may be surprised to hear that there are some good reasons as to why you might not want to complete the first aid course. When you started reading this article, your only consideration when asking “do personal trainers need a first aid qualification?” may have been regarding the logistics of getting a job. You may however, want to think about the responsibilities than come with having the qualification.


10 – You could be sued

As the qualified first aider on site, you have a duty of care.

What does this mean, exactly?

Worst case scenario, you could be found guilty of corporate manslaughter, if you have not followed the exact protocols and training. This can happen even if you did save the person’s life.

With that in mind, nobody is going to blame you if you did not want the responsibility, and the potential of a lengthy legal battle for merely trying to help.


11 – It can be traumatic

Most issues that require your attention are not serious, and you probably wouldn’t think twice about them after offering your help.

That being said, according to the American legal company Legal Match, 114 people died between 1990 to 2007 in the US from using free weights and weight machines. In 2009 alone, 1500 people were treated in the emergency room after being injured on equipment at gyms. Where there is the clear potential for serious injury, it takes a certain type of person to be able to deal with these kinds of emergencies with a clear head.


12 – It costs money

This is a real issue. Your question at the start – “do personal trainers need a first aid qualification?” – may have started as an abstract. But now you must consider the reality of gaining that qualification.

Getting PT qualified is not cheap, and having to top that up with a qualification in first aid before you have even got your first client does not help either.

How much is a first aid qualification?

Your typical one-day first aid response course is around £500 – £700. This, however, is just a starting figure, and your more in-depth first aid courses can cost around £1300 to £2000.

Unlike your diploma in personal training, you also have to refresh this qualification in order to stay qualified…


13 – You have to renew your first aid certificate

Depending on the type of first aid training you have received, it is likely that you will have to renew your qualification via a refresher course.

Many gym and fitness instructors get first aid training at work, and this needs renewing every three years. It is also advised that you refresh your qualification annually. In addition, you only have 28 days from point of expiry to obtain the refresher. If you miss this deadline, you will have to do the entire first aid course again.

This can be a very time consuming and costly, which is why many first time first aid fitness professionals do not maintain their certificate.


As we have established, there are clear benefits to becoming a first aid-trained personal trainer, but there are also some less obvious negatives that you perhaps had not considered before jumping onto a course.

The facts however, remain the same.

You don’t need to be first aid qualified to be a personal trainer, but you should always have the choice! At OriGym none of our fitness courses have the certificate in first aid embedded within the course packages. We suggest pursuing this once you have qualified, depending on your career goals.

What we will do is point you in the right direction, towards a reputable provider with a proven track record of delivering top quality training, which we take no commission on. In short, examine the agenda of anyone who claims that a first aid course is mandatory in order to become a PT, and be sure question course providers and professionals asserting false information.

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Written by Luke Hughes

CEO and Co-Founder

Join Luke on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Luke is the CEO and Co-Founder of OriGym. Holding a first-class degree in Sport and Exercise and an MSc in Sport and Nutrition, he is also qualified as a Level 4 Personal Trainer with various specialist credentials covering the entire spectrum of health, fitness and business. Luke has contributed to a variety of major industry publications, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Metro, Cosmopolitan, The Mirror, The Sun, The Standard and more.

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