Whether you’re an established fitness instructor, or a personal trainer looking for the next
move in your career, this brand new guide for 2018 has all the tips you need if you’re
researching how to become a fitness tutor.
In this guide you will learn:
We’ve put all the time and effort into this guide in order to ensure it is the most comprehensive online, so you no longer have to worry.
There’s no time like the present, so let’s jump right in…
Step 1: What is a fitness tutor?
A fitness tutor is a holistic term given to a qualified teacher and assessor in the delivery of vocational fitness qualifications.
This can include fitness instructing, personal training, sports massage or advanced level 4 diplomas.
When looking at how to become a fitness tutor, you need to be qualified in the discipline you are wishing to teach and assess. For example, if you want to help qualify people who are looking to do their qualifications in personal training, then you must also be a qualified personal trainer.
Step 2: Are you cut out to be a fitness tutor?
There are so many skills that apply to both personal training and fitness tutoring.
However, one of the most overlooked areas in research surrounding how to become a fitness tutor is the exact skills and areas that help great personal trainers become even better fitness tutors, and visa versa.
This is because the two fields, while connected, are still distinct in and of themselves. What we’re saying is, while there are many fantastic fitness tutors out there who are also great personal trainers, there are an equal number of personal trainers who are not cut out for fitness tutoring.
Knowing what skills to identify and develop will therefore put you ahead of the game when it comes to becoming a fitness instructor:
What skills are needed to become a fitness instructing or personal trainer tutor?
If you feel you’re ticking most of those boxes, then great!
You have what’s called “soft skills”, and having just a handful of the ones outlined above will place you in a great position to become a fitness tutor.
So, now that you have the skills, let’s learn about how you’ll be applying them on a day-to-day basis.
Step 3: The responsibilities of a fitness tutor
When finding out how to become a fitness tutor and assessor, you need to know what a fitness tutor’s responsibilities and day to day requirements are.
This may sound obvious, but you’d be shocked as to how many personal trainers and gym instructors dive into a career in fitness tutoring, just because they believe they have the necessary experience of the industry to do so.
What they find when they get there, however, is a career that has a range of challenging obstacles which they have not researched or prepared for (obstacles that, with the right preparation, can be overcome and provide and immensely rewarding career for a better candidate).
So you can make sure you are fully prepared, here’s the rundown of the key responsibilities of a fitness tutor:
Typical fitness tutor job description (for Finda Recruitment on Indeed.com, accurate as of September 2018)
And just so you’re aware of what a fitness tutor might be required to prove in a professional employment context, check out the job advert pictured below:
Step 4: What is the demand for fitness or personal trainer tutors and assessors (UK)?
The good news is that demand is in your favour!
It is no secret that there is a shortage of motivated, skilled fitness tutors, especially given the increasing number of colleges and private course providers offering fitness courses for prospective personal trainers and gym instructors.
With this shortage in supply, the industry is desperately trying to find the best ways of attracting fitness professionals who have the skills and instincts to become great fitness tutors.
For you, the prospective fitness tutor, this means offers of flexible working hours, employee benefits, and a great position with which to bargain for a higher wage.
In terms of adding to your existing wage then, you may find that supplementing your existing personal training business with some fitness tutoring work can be a great way to maximise your income, while not adding to your client hours.
So, it might not necessarily be a case of how to become a fitness tutor, but what can you do with a fitness tutoring role in addition to your existing career in the fitness industry.
Why do people become fitness tutors?
Step 5: What are the salaries and working hours of fitness tutors in the UK?
You don’t need us to point out why knowing your earning potential is an advantage before diving straight into how to become a fitness tutor.
You, of course, need to balance your potential earnings with your current earnings, and also your existing timetable.
You might not want to, for example, ditch all of your clients to take up a fitness tutoring role, only to find out you’ll be earning less money, and that you’ve alienated all your reliable clients for the foreseeable future (yes, believe it or not, we have seen this happen)…
Now, fitness tutor salaries do vary between organisations and locations, but in our research, we found a reliable average by splitting our findings between London and the rest of the UK.
We conducted an analysis of over 1,000 fitness tutor jobs advertised online and in gyms throughout the country.
Here’s the overview of the results we received:
We also wanted to know the average number of hours a fitness tutor works…
Looking at wages and salaries only paints half the picture: we don’t, for example, know if the above wages are based on a 50 hour working weeks, or a 35 hour working week. Your working hours, perhaps even more so than your wage, are going to determine whether it is realistic for you to become a fitness instructor.
In terms of hours then, here’s an overview of what we found:
Salaried fitness tutor hours – 36 hours average
Freelance fitness tutor hours – 48 hours average
Again, all training providers operate slightly differently, and we’re going to go into more detail on working hours in a second.
This means they pay differently too. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that fitness tutors can earn a living, depending on the contract they choose:
What hours do fitness tutors work? A closer look…
As we mentioned, personal training and fitness tutoring hours are determined by the company you work for, and the style of delivery that that college or training provider deploys.
Before you start applying for personal tutoring jobs, you need to know what the hours of work are, which means you need to ask some questions of the recruiter regarding how the organisation structures their fitness tutors’ timetables.
Colleges when hiring NVQ or RQF assessors tend to stick to college based hours. This means you should be finished teaching at no later than 16:00.
The same applies to training providers that run full time personal trainer courses: these tend to run from 9am – 5:30pm, 5 days per week.
Note: In addition to your working hours and contact time with students, most colleges and course providers will expect you to mark personal training portfolios outside of your working hours. You should therefore factor this in to your working hours and potential earnings.
This does not mean that the two above scenarios are the only avenues for employment when it comes to fitness tutoring…
Most providers run evening or weekend personal trainer courses that need tutors and assessors. This is because many students are only available at these times, meaning anyone with a flexible schedule will quickly find themselves inundated with job offers.
Fitness tutoring hours can also be performed sporadically through one to one tutoring sessions. In the same way someone might hire a maths tutor one to one, fitness instructing or personal training tutors can earn money delivering a course on an individual basis.
What’s key to remember is that when becoming a freelance fitness tutor, you can choose what tutoring hours you wish to work, but providers are well within their rights to require you to cover work at certain times, and want you to be flexible.
If you are unable to teach during those times on a consistent basis, you may find that you will receive fewer calls for work from that supplier.
Can you claim expenses as a fitness tutor?
This should be agreed prior to delivery of any tutoring work for any establishment.
If you are having to travel any sort of distance to a venue or to meet a student, it is your responsibility to negotiate travel expenses in the early stage of discussions with that provider.
The same applies if you wish to try and claim for expenses such as food or drink.
Remember, be smart about this: give your new employer plenty of notice that this would be the case, but perhaps don’t lead into a discussion saying that travel expenses are make or break for you.
Step 6: How soon after getting qualified as a fitness tutor can you teach students?
Unlike many fitness qualifications, you actually do not need to be fully qualified in your teacher training or assessing qualification to actually become a fitness tutor, you simply need to be working towards your certificates.
This means as soon as you enrol onto your fitness tutoring qualifications, you can start working with real students and get employed by a college or training provider. Bear in mind that after signing up, you have 12 months to get both your teaching and assessing course complete.
It is also worth keeping in mind that, while you don’t have to be qualified in order to start teaching, most colleges and course providers won’t consider you until you have at least demonstrated that you’re nearing completing your qualifications.
What will you be learning when studying how to become a personal trainer tutor?
Once you’ve started your fitness tutoring and personal training tutoring qualifications, the pathway to work is quite straight forwards.
Step 1: Complete your qualifications
Step 2: find stable work, or work that fits around your personal training timetable
In the middle of all that, you have the small hurdle of passing your qualifications. To get an idea of what you’ll be learning, here’s some of the core modules from most fitness tutoring qualifications we have encountered:
When becoming a fitness instructing or personal trainer assessor, which qualifications should you get?
Tutoring and assessing qualifications have changed shape more times in recent years than can be kept track of.
The good news is that all previous qualification formats are still valid.
Here are some of the most common qualifications for fitness tutoring and personal trainer assessing jobs:
- Level 3 Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTTLS)
- Level 3 Assessing Vocational Achievement (formerly A1 assessor award)
- Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA)
- Level 3 Award in Education and Training
Step 7: Find the right company for your course needs
Just like finding the right job to suit your skills and needs, finding a course provider that suits you is important.
In fact, we’d estimate that a good portion of potential fitness tutors fall short because they haven’t researched their course provider, and find that the learning method they have chosen is ill-fitting.
Obviously this is a worst case scenario, but it is true that there are quite a few factors you need to consider before choosing to undertake a fitness tutoring course.
Here’s a breakdown of all the important factors to consider when selecting the right course for you:
Location, location, location! This is so important with regard to who you choose to study your qualifications with. Even if you choose to do an online fitness course, you need to be able to access a local venue in order to take your practical assessments.
As we know when we buy anything online, checking reviews is a must. You want to see other people’s genuine reactions to a product or service, and you should therefore look at three things when looking at reviews:
A. Where the review is written
You should only look at the reviews on independent platforms that you can trust. Websites such as Trustpilot.com, Feefo, and Review Centre all verify their reviews, both good and bad, so you know there are no fraudulent claims being made.
B. Overall company reviews
An overall score or star rating is there to help you. It allows you to see, generally, how a company runs as a business, what their general customer care is like, and what levels of support you will receive in terms of receiving exam results, certificates, and learning materials.
C. Specific review of the fitness tutoring course.
If you want more detail, you can try and filter results by specific mentions of a course or module. This is important, as a course provider may be international, so they may have some great venues and tutors, and some mediocre ones. You should therefore always look for reviews that specifically mention the course you are interested in applying for.
Fitness tutoring accreditation
When becoming a personal trainer tutor, the level of accreditation that comes with the qualification is incredibly important, as it can affect your employability further down the line:
B) The course should be Ofqual regulated.
Here are the logos you should look out for:
Fitness Assessing and Tutoring Course Learning Methods
If you think about most professions that require qualifications – be it medicine, or law, or even marketing – virtually all of them require you to have finished your qualifications to be able to go out and practise in that field.
Fitness teaching and assessing, however, are one of the few exceptions to this rule.
This means that you can start teaching and assessing real personal training students as soon as you enrol onto your course.
Many course providers make use of this caveat, and it is reflected in how companies deliver their fitness tutoring certifications.
Online fitness tutoring and assessing course
The online tutoring and assessing course is the most popular method of delivery for training providers. This is because the course requires you to be working with real students, so that you can put the theory into immediate practice, allowing you to work at the same time as your studies.
Blended learning tutoring and assessing course
Another route to consider is to find a blended learning tutored course. This is where you will complete theory from home and then attend class days or workshops at set times to help with your learning experience.
If you feel you learn best with some face to face contact, then this option would suit you.
How much support will you receive, and what are the quality of resources on your fitness assessing course?
As seen above, many companies operate online and blended learning fitness tutoring courses.
However, this does not mean that all courses are built evenly.
Like your working hours influencing your final decision on where you should work, the availability of course support should play a large part in your decision-making process when it comes to choosing a course provider.
Before signing up with a course provider, here are some questions you might want to consider asking their enrolment team:
This part of the process also requires you to read between the lines.
If a course provider has a set timescale for returning your portfolio, then you can probably assume that speed and punctuality is high on their list of priorities for students, so you will therefore not have to worry about things like lengthy delays for exam results.
Regarding the learning materials, bear in mind that some training providers only provide one or two of these aspects.
What is key to remember is flexibility.
We all learn differently, so having the right style of learning for you is critical to enable you to maximise your potential during the course.
Look for a course provider that is flexible.
How much do fitness tutoring courses cost?
Fitness tutoring or personal trainer tutoring course prices tend to vary, and normally the assessing course is slightly dearer than the fitness teaching qualification. Most companies that provide one certification will provide the other, so you might get a cheap fitness tutoring course if you can buy both together as a package deal.
As a general outline of what you might be looking to spend, we examined some of the price ranges of competing courses, so you can see what you would be expected to pay when becoming a fitness tutor.
Step 8: What type of students would I be teaching?
This is only a natural question, right?
After all, when we think about teachers, we don’t expect every teacher to be able to teach every kind of classroom. Some people are cut out for teaching primary school children, others secondary school, and other university-level.
In each of these contexts, the kind of students you’ll be encountering, and the challenges you’ll have to overcome, are completely different.
Essentially, the choice of who you work for will dictate who you end up teaching, and this is worth bearing in mind because, in fitness tutoring, student demographics can change drastically from institution to institution.
If this all sounds a little confusing and vague, don’t worry. Who you teach largely boils down to two factors:
How the institution you work for delivers their programmes
Who is paying for their course
As such, the most common demographics for fitness courses in the UK tend to comprise of the following groups:
Now, remember what we said about choice of employer.
If you’re working for a private course provider, you will expect to see more self-funded students and adult learners, whereas colleges tend to receive more young adults, apprentices, and funded students.
At all times then, try and suit your personal teaching style to your chosen institution.
Can I use my tutoring and assessing qualifications from another industry?
If you are already qualified as a teacher and assessor in another industry, you may well be able to utilise your existing qualifications in this industry.
In terms of qualifications you would need, you would have to ensure that you have attained your personal trainer qualifications…you can’t well go teaching fitness students without the requisite experience, can you?
However, as far as teaching and assessing goes, your existing qualifications should apply in this industry, which is good news if you want to get started right away!
Step 9: Do I need to be personal training for a certain amount of years before moving into tutoring?
This is a great question.
Technically you can qualify as a personal trainer and then enrol onto a personal trainer tutor course immediately, without even doing one hours worth of personal training yourself.
However, this is not what we recommend!
Think about this from a student’s point of view. If you are embarking on a personal trainer course, you are looking for advice on the practicalities of becoming a personal trainer, rather than just the core modules on things like anatomy and sports science.
As a tutor then, your role will be to teach students on how to be great personal trainers, not just the requisite knowledge it takes to become a personal trainer in general.
Like most things in life, experience and practice is fundamental to success.
Getting personal training hours behind you will allow you to understand the needs and requirements of those you intend to teach, as well as make the teaching process more natural.
What is also worth keeping in mind is that, in our experience, the best tutors are those who are still practicing. Employers also know this. A prospective employer is unlikely to hire a fitness tutor that has no experience in what they are teaching, and who does not intend to develop themselves as a personal trainer or fitness instructor.
How should I go about getting my first fitness tutoring job?
When deciding how to become a fitness tutor, you need to plan ahead!
Where do you envisaging working in the long run?
Is this a full-time career option for you?
Are you going to continue personal training, alongside your fitness tutoring responsibilities?
Remember, there is a shortage of tutors and assessors in the industry, so don’t undersell yourself when you are negotiating working hours!
Pro-activity and even being a little pushy gets you work in gym tutoring, but to be respected you have to enter negotiations with a figure in mind.
If you want to get an immediate head start in your job search, try some of the following:
Step 10: Who employs Fitness Tutors?
The final step!
You know what a fitness tutor is, you know what qualifications you need, how much you can earn, and what the demand is.
You may think that your research with regard to how to become a fitness tutor is all but complete, before hitting one obstacle…
That is, who is employing fitness tutors in 2018?
We have touched upon this already, when we talked about colleges and private providers, but these two avenues by no means make up a comprehensive list.
Let’s take a look at all the places we know currently hiring a significant number of qualified fitness tutors and personal training tutors.
Before you go!
And if you’re currently looking for a change in career and think you might be cut out for the fitness industry, get in touch via our enrolment team at firstname.lastname@example.org, give us a call at 0800 002 9599, or download our free personal trainer career prospectus.