First Aid Courses For Personal Trainers: Do You Need It?

first aid course for personal trainers

The question of whether personal trainers need to be first aid qualified is one of the most debated topics in the fitness industry. Are there specific first aid courses for personal trainers? Exactly what first aid qualification does a personal trainer need, if any? 

With so much conflicting information out there, this article will provide a conclusive guide to all you need to know about first aid as a personal trainer. We’ll cover:

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What Is A First Aid Qualification?

Before we get into discussing first aid courses for personal trainers, let’s first establish what exactly we mean by a first aid qualification. 

First aid is simply the immediate assistance given to someone suffering from a minor or serious injury to save a life or promote recovery. It is often the intermediate care given to someone before professional medical help arrives at the scene.

First aid should technically only be carried out by someone who is first aid qualified. This means that they have completed a first aid course, where they will have gained a basic medical knowledge covering the most common accidents and emergencies, including:

  • Anaphylaxis 
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Burns and scalds
  • Choking 
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Shock

Given that many of these accidents could happen in a gym environment, it’s no wonder that there is so much debate surrounding the importance of first aid for personal trainers. But we’ll get to that next!  

There are a number of different first aid course providers, the most common of which are The British Red Cross and St John Ambulance

There are also a range of different types of first aid courses that you can take. They range from general public first aid courses to more specific areas such as first aid in the workplace. There are even specific first aid in sports courses. We will discuss providers and types of courses in more detail later in this article! 

Most courses take place over the course of a few days, or even just one day. There are also many options to take a blended course, which is a combination of online learning and practical workshops, so you can fit it around your schedule and commitments. 

Costs vary from as little as £35 to up to £300, depending on the type and duration of the course. However, bear in mind that if you work for a gym or fitness facility for example, your employer may fund a first aid course for their personal trainers. We will cover the different ways of getting a first aid qualification as a PT later.

What First Aid Qualification Does A Personal Trainer Need?

So now you know what a First Aid qualification is, you may now be wondering, what first aid course does a personal trainer need, if any? 

The short answer is no, a first aid course is not a mandatory requirement for most personal trainer jobs.

So why would you bother getting a first aid course as a personal trainer if you don’t need one? Well, there are indeed several potential benefits of getting first aid qualified as PT, which we will list below. That said, there are equally as many risks associated with being a first aider - so stick around to read about those a little further on.

Whilst personal trainers are not required to have any first aid certifications, there are other qualifications that you will need to become a personal trainer. Those essential qualifications are a Level 2 Gym Instructor and a Level 3 Personal Training qualification. Here at OriGym, we offer a Personal Training Diploma, which allows you to complete both of these qualifications in as little as 4 weeks! 

When choosing your course provider, you should also make sure that your qualification is CIMSPA-endorsed and Ofquol-regulated, to ensure that you are receiving the highest quality of education. All of OriGym’s personal training courses are recognised by these professional bodies, making us one of the most reputable fitness course providers in the industry. 

Personal trainer first aid courses are much like CPD courses- they are not necessarily essential, but they could increase your employment potential. All of OriGym’s CPD courses take place in just one day, making it a quick and easy way to gain new skills and knowledge in everything ranging from circuits to kettlebell training. 

Benefits Of Getting A First Aid Course For Personal Trainers

#1 - May Increase Chances of Employment 

Perhaps the biggest advantage of first aid training for personal trainers is that it can increase your employment prospects, helping you make money as a personal trainer.

As we have said, a first aid qualification is not technically essential to work as a personal trainer in a gym. However, every gym legally needs at least one first aid qualified member of staff in the gym at any one time. This means that having a first aid qualification could make you a more attractive candidate.

The fitness industry is a competitive market, so it’s no wonder that so many people get a first aid qualification to help them stand out as a personal trainer.

Knowing first aid as a personal trainer can also benefit your career prospects if you are freelance or self-employed. Some clients will prefer to train with a personal trainer who is first aid qualified, so that they are in safe hands if anything were to go wrong during a session.

Plus, if you are the only fitness professional present in any given situation, you have a duty of care to be first aid trained. As a freelance PT, there are many situations where you could be alone with a client. For example, if you are training a client outdoors or in a private studio, or working as a mobile personal trainer in client’s homes. 

Saying that you are first aid qualified is therefore a good thing to include in your personal trainer bio as it could help to attract prospective clients. Think about it this way, if you were a client with the choice between a personal trainer with a first aid qualification and one who was not first aid trained, who would you choose? Chances are you’d go for the one who would be able to potentially save their life should something happen! 

#2 - You Could Save a Life

As well as gaining clients, one of the main reasons to do a first aid course as a personal trainer is to protect your clients and potentially save their life! 

You may not think so, but a gym can be a highly dangerous environment. With so many powerful machines and heavy weights around, it’s no wonder that 41% of gym users have been injured whilst working out. Being first aid qualified will therefore help you to deal with any injuries that are likely to occur during your training sessions.

This is especially important if you are training clients with health problems or who are inexperienced with using gym equipment, as they are much more likely to injure themselves. That said, even the most experienced of gym-goers can accidentally drop a weight or fall off a treadmill!

As well as injuries, you may encounter other incidents with your clients such as dizziness or even fainting. Again, this is especially more likely if you are training clients with health issues, such as low blood pressure.

If you are already a qualified personal trainer and are interested in training clients with health issues, taking one of OriGym’s specialist courses such as Level 4 Diabetes Control and Weight Management could be the perfect next step in your career. Upon completing this qualification, you will have all the knowledge and skills to train these kinds of clients, helping you find your niche and stand out in the fitness industry.

#3 - Could Help Your Clients Feel Comfortable 

Another important reason to learn first aid as a personal trainer is that it can give your clients peace of mind and assure them that they are in safe hands. 

This is especially important if you are a freelance personal trainer. Most clients will feel safe in a gym environment, as they are surrounded by lots of people, other fitness professionals, and staff, should anything go wrong. So, if you are training a client one-on-one, in their home for example, a client will be more likely to want to see your first aid credentials. 

As well as helping your clients achieve their fitness goals, one of the key roles and responsibilities of a personal trainer is to make them feel comfortable and safe in their sessions. Having a first aid qualification will naturally help you to meet this responsibility! 

#4 - May Give You Peace of Mind

As well as making your client feel safe, having first aid training as a personal trainer can also help to give you peace of mind! 

This is especially true if you are freelance and training clients in their home, or working in a private fitness space with no other staff around. You will feel much more relaxed knowing that you have the appropriate training to deal with any potential incidents. 

One of the main skills of a personal trainer is confidence- after all, clients are putting their full trust in you when they come to a session. Having a first aid qualification can therefore help you to train your clients with confidence, as you will be able to deal with any accidents that may arise.  

#5 - May Reduce Your Insurance Costs 

Another good reason to take a personal trainer first aid course is that it can help reduce your insurance costs.

If you didn’t already know, all personal trainers need to take out insurance. This protects both you and your clients in the case of injury, damage or loss of equipment, claims of harassment, and professional negligence.

The cost of your personal trainer insurance depends on a number of factors, such as your age, qualifications, experience and the type of training you are doing. But another important factor that could affect your insurance costs is whether you are first aid trained.

If you are first aid trained, an insurance company will likely see you as being at a lower risk than someone who isn’t. They will therefore be much more likely to offer you a better rate! 

With so many types of insurance out there, our guide to personal trainer insurance clarifies exactly what insurance you need as a PT. 

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Things To Consider Before Getting A First Aid Course For Personal Trainers

Despite the benefits of taking a first aid course as a personal trainer, there are some things to consider before you make the decision to take on the responsibility that comes with having a first aid qualification.

#1 - You Could Be Sued

One of the main things that discourages people from doing a first aid training course for personal trainers is the huge responsibility that comes with being first aid trained. 

If you are the designated first aider for a gym or fitness centre, you are solely responsible for the safety of everyone on site, and would have to be first on the scene should an accident occur. For some people, this level of responsibility is overwhelming and enough to put them off the qualification completely.

Although your skills could change someone’s life, there is also a chance that things could go wrong.

For example, if you find yourself having to give someone CPR, you may actually break a rib in the process- especially if it is your first time performing the procedure. Even though you have saved their life by helping them breathe again, the fact that you broke a rib could give someone the grounds to sue you! This would be disastrous for your career and could have a negative impact on your ability to acquire and retain clients.

With this in mind, many personal trainers choose to simply avoid this potential disaster and legal implications by stepping back and not taking on the responsibility. And there is no shame in this! After all, your own personal wellbeing should be your first priority.

#2 - It Can Be Traumatic

When talking about the benefits of first aid training for personal trainers, it can be easy to forget about the reality of what it means to have to perform first aid. 

When learning first aid in a classroom environment, it can be hard to imagine practicing the skills you’ve learnt in real life, on a real person who needs your help. But the reality is that performing CPR, helping someone having a heart attack, or even just dealing with a particularly gruesome injury are all potentially traumatic experiences that can stay with you for life. 

With this in mind, before enrolling in a first aid course for personal trainers, you should make sure that you are mentally strong enough for what it involves!

#3 - Extra Costs

One of the main things to consider is the potential extra cost of getting a personal trainer first aid course. As we will discuss next, although some employers may fund it for you, you may find that you have to fund it yourself.

Plus, as well as the initial course, you will more than likely have to renew the qualification after 3 years. Again, this is more money to spend!

Along with things like insurance, equipment and potentially paying rent to a gym, these extra costs can add up and ultimately reduce your total earnings at the end of the month. It is therefore worth considering whether the benefits of first aid training for personal trainers is worth this extra cost in the long run. 

For example, you may find that it is more beneficial for your future career to spend the money on something like a CPD course, rather than a first aid qualification. 

#4 - You Don’t Need It!

Perhaps the main thing to consider before you get a personal trainer first aid course is that you simply do not need to be first aid qualified to work as a personal trainer. This in itself is often enough of a reason for many PTs to not take the course.

Whilst first aid training for personal trainers can indeed help with employment, it is by no means essential. Employers are much more likely to focus on whether you have other other skills, experience and qualifications when they are looking at job applications. 

Although it is helpful if you are a freelance PT and may be in a situation where you are working with just you and your client, you can absolutely still get a job in some of the best gyms in the UK without it. As we have mentioned, if a gym wants their personal trainers to be first aid trained, they will more than likely fund the course for you. 

How To Get A First Aid Course For Personal Trainers

As you can see, there are both pros and cons of completing first aid training for personal trainers. Should you decide that you want to take on the responsibility that comes with being a first aider, how do you go about getting a first aid qualification?

There are 2 main ways that you can get a personal trainer first aid qualification:

#1 - Through Your Employer 

Before you invest in a personal trainer first aid course yourself, you may want to check whether your employer will fund your qualification for you. 

Since it helps protect their staff and customers, making sure all their personal trainers are first aid trained is in a gym’s best interest. This is why many gyms or fitness centres, particularly large-scale commercial gyms, will offer funded first aid courses for all their personal trainers.  

For example, if you are interested in becoming a PureGym personal trainer, PureGym is one of the many commercial gyms that offer a funded first aid course as part of the job contract. 

However, some employers may state that you need a first aid qualification in order to be hired, in which case it would be beneficial to get qualified yourself, before you apply for the job. 

#2 - Get Qualified Yourself

If an employer doesn’t offer to fund first aid courses for their personal trainers, you can simply get qualified yourself. Although this means paying for the course yourself, it gives you the peace of mind that you are qualified to potentially save someone’s life!

One of the main benefits of getting qualified yourself is that you can take the first aid course in your own time, before you start applying for jobs. That way, when you come to write your personal trainer CV, you will be able to state that you are first aid qualified, which will stand you in good stead!

Many prospective PTs complete their first aid course whilst they are taking their fitness instructor or personal trainer qualification. This shows potential employers that you have taken the initiative to get first aid trained, which could work in your favour when you’re applying for jobs.

If you take your personal training course with OriGym, you can opt for an online or blended learning style, meaning that you can study at a pace that suits you. This gives you the freedom to take your first aid course, or any other extra qualifications, alongside your studies.

How To Choose A Personal Trainer First Aid Course

If you’ve decided to get qualified yourself, you may now be wondering, ‘what first aid certificate do personal trainers need?’. With so many providers and types of courses out there, it can be hard to know where to start.

In short, there is no specific course provider or type of first aid course for personal trainers. However, there are some things that you might want to consider before choosing your course:

Course Provider

There is no official accreditation or governing bodies for First Aid courses in the UK. As of 2013, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) no longer approves first aid training providers. However, they do provide a checklist of criteria that course providers should meet, to help give some element of regulation.

Although there is no official accreditation to look out for, opting for a reputable and well-known provider will give you peace of mind that you are getting a high-quality of training. 

The main two first aid course providers in the UK are the British Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance, who run courses all over the country. But you may also find some independent course providers locally.

Unlike first aid courses, accreditation is important when it comes to your personal trainer qualification. That’s why here at OriGym, all of our personal trainer courses are endorsed by CIMSPA and regulated by Ofqual to ensure that you are receiving the highest standard of education and best opportunities in the industry. 

The Type of Course

When wondering ‘what first aid certificate do personal trainers need?’, you may be overwhelmed by the different types of courses out there. 

All of the providers above offer a range of types of first aid courses, ranging from a general public first aid course, to first aid in the workplace. There are even shorter courses on specific aspects of first aid, such as using a defibrillator.

There are also some providers of specific first aid courses for personal trainers. For example, First Aid For Life offers a First Aid for Personal Trainers and Sports Coaches course, which covers first aid specific to exercise and sports. The British Red Cross also offers a similar First Aid For Sports course

However, a closer look at the syllabus of these kinds of courses reveals that they are not hugely different to more general first aid courses. Most reputable courses will cover key points such as dealing with unconscious casualties, injuries, and heart attacks. 

As such, you do not technically need a personal trainer-specific first aid course to gain the knowledge you need to practice first aid. We recommend reading the syllabus carefully before you enroll in a course.

That said, doing a specific first aid course for personal trainers will certainly not go against you. If you would feel more confident taking a specific personal trainer first aid course, then you should! Being confident in your skills is the most important thing when it comes to your clients’ safety and welfare. 

Location and Learning Style 

When wondering ‘what first aid course does a personal trainers need?’, you should think about how, where and when you want to learn. 

Most courses take place over a day or a few days in a workshop style environment. This is where opting for a large course provider such as the British Red Cross is beneficial, as they run courses in hundreds of locations in the UK, so you are likely to find one near you. 

More recently, some course providers have started to offer their courses through blended learning. This means that you learn through a combination of online and practical sessions. 

However, blended learning is predominantly for first aid refresher courses, since the basics of first aid need to be learnt hands-on. For example, St John’s Ambulance offers a blended First Aid at Work Requalification course. 

Here at OriGym, you can also take our courses to suit your learning style. We offer all of our personal training courses as either in-person, online, or blended learning, so you can study in whichever way suits you best.  

However, since first aid skills are largely practical based (e.g. performing CPR), they are predominantly taught through practical in-person sessions. Most courses will involve a lot of role play and the use of props to give you as close to real life experience as possible, so that you are fully prepared should an incident occur. 

As such, you should go into a first aid training course open-minded and ready to get involved; there’s no use sitting at the sidelines if you want to learn how to save lives!


Do you need to renew a personal trainer first aid qualification? 

Most first aid certificates last for 3 years before you need to renew them. 

However, the HSE recommends that you do a refresher course every year. This is because if you don’t practice your first aid skills (which hopefully, you won’t have to!), they can be easily forgotten. Refresher courses are usually shorter and cheaper than taking a full course again. 

Refreshing your skills is important for any skill, as they can fade over time if not practiced regularly. The same goes for personal training- check out our guide to personal trainer refresher courses to find out if they’re really worth it.

Do I need a first aid qualification in other sports and coaching roles? 

Whether you are wanting to become a Strength and Conditioning Coach or a Fitness Instructor, the same applies as to whether you need a first aid qualification.  

Whilst it isn’t essential, it has all the same benefits to your career as a first aid course for personal trainers does, and some employers might have their own. As such, all of the arguments discussed in this article can be applied to other sports and coaching roles. 

Before You Go!

We hope you now have all you need to know about first aid courses for personal trainers. Although they aren’t essential, we definitely recommend getting first aid qualified to better your employment prospects and to protect the safety of yourself and your clients.

Alongside a first aid qualification, expand your personal training services by enrolling on a Level 4 Sports Nutrition courseEnquire today or download our free course prospectus to browse the full range of courses we offer.


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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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