How to Become A Fitness Instructor (UK)

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Becoming a fitness instructor is the first step that many take when starting a career in the health & fitness industry.

Our guide explains exactly how to become a fitness instructor in 5 simple steps:

Enquire about our Level 2 Fitness Instructor course now or check out OriGym’s FREE prospectus for more information.


Enquire to about our Fitness Instructor course!

Kick-start your career in fitness today by enquiring about our Level 2 Fitness Instructing course!

What To Know Before Becoming a Fitness Instructor 

How to become a fitness instructor UK

Before we discuss how to become a gym instructor in the UK, let's discuss the job role itself.

According to Glassdoor, fitness instructors earn between £15k-£37k a year, with the average fitness instructor salary estimated to be around £23,200.

When becoming a fitness instructor you will fulfil a variety of responsibilities, such as:

  • Teaching of fitness classes 
  • Conducting gym inductions 
  • Keeping the gym & equipment clean 
  • Demonstrating how to use equipment

Your work schedule will likely be influenced by peak times at gyms - this can include mornings, evenings, and weekends.

Step One: What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Fitness Instructor?

How do you become a group fitness instructor

Those questioning ‘what qualifications do I need to become a fitness instructor?’, will need to obtain a Level 2 Gym Instructor Certificate.

This course provides vital knowledge and skills required to succeed in the industry, and is a requirment of both employers and insurance providers.

Some employers may list other requirements needed to become a fitness instructor, specifically the Level 3 Personal Training Qualification.

Many employers prefer candidates to hold this certification and some even specify it as a requirement. 

With this in mind, it is worth completing a Personal Training Diploma, which combines both the Level 2 & 3 Qualifications at a discounted price.

You may not need the Level 3 PT certificate to become a fitness instructor, but you will need this qualification if you want to progress in your career by becoming a personal trainer.

Qualifications to become a fitness instructor

Your chosen qualifications must be regulated by an Ofqual-approved awarding body, such as Focus Awards or Active IQ.

Ofqual is responsible for ensuring that every Level 2 Fitness Instructor receives the same level of vocational training. 

The qualifications needed to become a fitness instructor must meet this criteria, should employers find out you hold an unregulated or fake certification you won’t be hired, and could even face legal consequences in specific instances. 

You should also look for a course that is endorsed by CIMSPA, a professional body that works alongside course providers and awarding bodies to ensure that courses meet high standards. CIMSPA endorsement is a good indicator of a high quality course. 


Enquire to about our Fitness Instructor course!

Kick-start your career in fitness today by enquiring about our Level 2 Fitness Instructing course!

Step Two: Finding The Right Courses to Become a Fitness Instructor 

What qualifications do I need to become a fitness instructor

The provider you choose to qualify with can have an influence on your studying experience and future career prospects.

When making this decision, you should consider: 

What Study Methods are Available? - Level 2 fitness instructor courses can be taught in three methods, online, part-time, and full-time. This choice will affect how you study, here's how it works at OriGym:

  • Full-Time - Classroom learning environment, combining both practical and theoretical lessons
  • Part-Time - Blended learning experience, combining in-person workshops and online study 
  • Online - Based entirely online, students qualify at their own pace using OriGym’s E-learning platform

What Post-Course Support is Available? - If a course provider offers post-course support and career advice, finding a job will be much easier.

At OriGym, we help graduates become gym instructors by offering CV analysis and distribution, in addition to interview prep! Even better yet, once your course is completed you’re guaranteed a job interview! 

Post-Course support after becoming a fitness instructor

What Do Former Students Say? - Conduct research into your chosen provider, specifically looking at what former students say.

Looking at independent review sites such as TrustPilot and Google Reviews can help. In doing so, you can read about the experiences of past and current students, and determine whether the provider is right for you.

For more tips, watch this YouTube video where we compare several vocational training course providers!

Step Three: Plan Your Career When Becoming a Gym Instructor 

How to become a gym instructor jobs

Once you know how to become a fitness instructor you need to thing about what capacity you want to work in. Your options are:

  • Employed - Part/Full-time contracted employment 
  • Freelance - Working in multiple locations on a freelance basis 
  • Self-Employed - Starting your own business

When working on an employed basis you will be based in one primary location, such as a specific gym or fitness centre, working either part or full-time hours. 

This is an ideal career pathway for newly qualified individuals who have just become a fitness instructor. In this position you will be able to earn a stable source of income, working in an environment that encourages your professional development.

Alternatively, you may decide to work on a freelance basis. In this role you will still earn a fixed salary, but instead work at a variety of locations, with a much shorter work schedule. 

This is because when you’re employed in this capacity you will only be expected to teach fitness classes, as and when the employer requires you. It’s very unlikely that you would need to fulfil any other duties. 

Contracted and freelance positions are ideal for some, but for others they can act as necessary steps to becoming a fitness instructor on a self-employed basis

Steps to becoming a fitness instructor

If you wish to learn how to become a gym class instructor on a self-employed basis or to take your service online, check out this article on how you can become an online fitness coach.

Step Four: Get Fitness Instructor Insurance 

What do I need to become a fitness instructor

Those questioning ‘what do I need to become a fitness instructor?’, will also need to invest in insurance, prior to starting any job role. 

For reference, if you become a fitness instructor in the UK you will be legally required to hold the following insurance policies (at a minimum).

  • Public Liability Insurance - Offers legal protection in the event a class attendee is injured or falls ill under your supervision - e.g. they can claim their injury is due to your faulty equipment.
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance - Will protect you in the event your teaching style is brought into question - e.g. a client blames their injury on the advice you provided.

This legal protection is vital when working freelance or on a self-employed basis, as without insurance you could face financial consequences and even jail time! 

If you become a fitness instructor under contract you should still invest in this purchase too, as your employers' chosen insurance provider may not cover all of the aforementioned areas.

Step Five - Upskill with Advanced Training 

Guide to becoming a fitness instructor upskilled

While the primary focus of this article is to discuss ‘how to become a fitness instructor’, you may wish to progress onto other career opportunities once you have secured employment in this position.

This can be achieved through completing advanced training, which will ensure you’re qualified to offer these additional services. As a result, you will successfully attract a new demographic of clients and earn a higher wage as a result.

Some of the most popular advanced qualifications students pursue after becoming a gym instructor include:

Level 3 Personal Training

This course will qualify you to work with clients on a one-to-one basis, creating bespoke workout programmes for their specific goals. By upskilling with the Level 3 Qualification you can become a personal trainer in addition to completing your regular fitness instructor duties. 

CPD Courses 

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses help you to develop a niche as a fitness instructor, in areas such as: 

These courses can help you to attract a specialised demographic, while increasing the value of these services due to you being regarded as an expert in that particular area. 

Level 4 Advanced Sports Nutrition

Develop the skills needed to offer nutrition coaching that will facilitate the goals of your customers, and increase the value of your fitness services. 

Fitness Teaching & Assessing 

Become a Fitness Tutor and develop the necessary skills required to educate and assess aspiring students who are looking to enter the fitness industry.


#1 - How Long Does It Take to Become a Fitness Instructor?

how long does it take to become a fitness instructor

Qualifications to become a fitness instructor will differ in duration depending how you choose to study. 

For example, as previously mentioned there are 3 study options available on the Level 2 Fitness Instructor course, all of which will differ in length:

  • Full-Time - On average completed in 4 weeks 
  • Part-Time - On average completed in 8 weeks
  • Online - On average completed in 12 weeks (No deadlines associated with this study method, you can take as long as you require)

In addition to this, answers to the questions such as ‘how long does it take to become a gym instructor?’ can vary depending on your vocational training provider. The outline listed above refers to OriGym’s qualification; others may differ in length. 

#2 - How Much Does Fitness Instructor Training Cost

Many aspiring fitness professionals will often search questions such as ‘can I become a fitness instructor for free?’ - In short the answer is no, as free/cheap qualifications won’t be recognised in the same regard as CIMSPA approved courses. 

The cost of learning how to become a fitness instructor in the UK will vary from one provider to the next. For example, OriGym charges £599 on a flexible 0% interest payment plan - with no hidden fees and unlimited FREE exam resists.

Becoming a fitness instructor in the UK is somewhat of a pricey investment, so you could instead choose to purchase the course as part of a package, such as the example below: 

become a fitness instructor with a Package

Purchasing one of these deals will work out cheaper than paying for multiple courses separately. This is evident from the example above, which clearly shows how customers could save £1,197 by opting for a package deal.

Ready to Kickstart Your Career in Fitness?

One of the UK’s most trusted education providers in the health and fitness industry, OriGym specialises in assisting aspiring and experienced fitness professionals in reaching their career goals.

Download our FREE course prospectus to learn more about all of our qualifications, or enquire about our Level 2 Fitness Instructor Qualification here!

Written by James Bickerstaff

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

James holds a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Film Studies and has recently gained a MA degree in Film, both of which he attained from Liverpool John Moores University. After taking up the couch to 5K challenge on a whim, James found a new passion for running, which he combines with his love for healthy cooking and writing. All of this led him to becoming a copywriter for OriGym.  

When he is not writing content for the site, James can be found researching new recipes, writing music reviews, reading and watching latest film releases.   

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