How to Become a Personal Trainer in 6 Steps

When you first start looking into becoming a personal trainer, the sheer amount of information online can be daunting. Watch our video on how to become a personal trainer or read the article below.


Eager to start your new career? Enquire about our Personal Training Diploma now or download our free course prospectus to find out more.

About The Personal Training Job

what do i need to become a personal trainer

Before we discuss the requirements to become a certified personal trainer, let’s take a look at the role. 

The main role of a PT is to create and deliver tailored training programmes to help clients reach their fitness goals. Learn about the other roles & responsibilities of a personal trainer here.

A personal trainer's schedule is pretty varied. They often work mornings, evenings, and weekends to capitalize on client demand.

According to Glassdoor, those who become a personal trainer in the UK can potentially earn between £16000 and £55000. The average personal trainer salary is £29200

Exactly how much you earn depends on factors such as your location, experience, and how many hours you do. For example, you’ll earn more if you work in London or if you have a lot of experience. 

Step 1: Get Qualified as a Personal Trainer 

how to qualify as a personal trainer

To become a personal trainer in the UK, there are two qualifications you need:

The fastest and most affordable way to get qualified is with a Personal Training Diploma, which combines both of the above qualifications.

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

Ofqual is the government body responsible for regulating vocational qualifications in England. This regulation ensures that a Level 3 Personal Trainer course provides the same level of training regardless of what training provider you choose.

CIMSPA is a professional development body that works with course providers and awarding bodies to ensure that fitness professionals qualify with a high standard of knowledge.

personal trainer course

Level 2 Gym Instructor course

This entry-level course qualifies you to work as a fitness instructor. You must complete this qualification whilst you train to become a certified personal trainer before moving onto the Level 3 training course.

Level 3 Personal Trainer course

On completion of the Level 3 course, you’ll be a fully qualified personal trainer with the necessary knowledge and training to plan and deliver training programmes. 


Become a Personal Trainer

Turn your passion for fitness into a career with our CIMSPA-endorsed personal training diploma! 

Step 2: Find The Best Course Provider For You

becoming a personal trainer uk

The course provider you choose can make a huge difference to both your experience while studying, and your career prospects once you become a personal trainer. 

Here are some things to consider: 

What study methods are available? PT courses can be taught via one of three study methods: online, part-time, and full-time. At OriGym, we offer all 3 of these options to ensure that we can cater to you, regardless of how you learn best. 

What post-course support is available? Choosing a course provider that offers post-course support and careers services makes it much easier to land your first job in the industry.

OriGym offers an extensive range of free career services, including CV analysis and interview prep. We even guarantee a job interview for all personal training graduates! That's why we have the highest work placement rate among our competitors.

What do past students have to say? Check out independent review sites like TrustPilot and Google Reviews to find out what past and current students have to say about their experience with the course/ provider.

Find more tips on comparing personal training courses here or watch the video:

Step 3: Map Out Your Personal Training Career Path

how to get qualified as a personal trainer

As you near the end of your course, it’s time to think about your personal training career options. Personal trainers either work on an employed basis, at a gym for example, or in a freelance or self-employed capacity.

Typically, newly qualified personal trainers work on an employed basis as this allows them to earn a stable income whilst gaining experience and building their reputation. 

Within this role, you’ll be employed directly by the gym. You’ll have a pre-existing client base, made up of gym members, and a fixed wage. This is a great place to start when you first qualify as a PT. 

Once you have a list of regular clients, you can then transition to working on a freelance or self-employed basis. Most PTs take this route as these opportunities have a much higher earning potential.

Working for a gym on a freelance basis offers more freedom. If you become a freelance personal trainer, you’ll pay rent to a gym in exchange for using their facilities to train your clients.

Being a self-employed or independent trainer offers complete control over working hours and job structure. You can buy your own equipment, open up your own gym, or work from several locations.

Step 4: Get Insured to Work as a Personal Trainer 

how to become a personal trainer uk

Once you become a PT, you need to get personal trainer insurance. 

All personal trainers are legally required to have the following policies:

  • Public liability insurance 
  • Professional indemnity insurance

Even if you land an employed role at a gym, you’ll still need to get insurance as you won’t always be covered by the gyms policy.

If you’re working on a freelance or self-employed basis, you will absolutely need to take out both of the above policies. Failing to do so could have significant legal and financial consequences.

Learn more about what personal trainer insurance you need here.

Step 5: How to Expand Your Client List 

become a pt uk

Now that we've answered 'how can I become a personal trianer', let's discuss how to be a successful.

As a personal trainer, expanding your client list will be one of your main priorities. Afterall, the more clients you have, the more money you make!

You can reach new clients using digital marketing strategies such as establishing a social media presence, creating a Google My Business page, or building your own website.

One of the best ways to get new clients is by asking for referrals from existing clients.

By incentivising referrals - for example, offering a free session for each new client that signs up - you can expand your client base and increase your earnings.

Our guide on how to get more PT clients explores 17 ways to get new clients. 

If you study with OriGym, you’ll also get access to our Business & Marketing course as well as tons of useful resources designed to help you with:

Step 6: Upskill With Specialist Training & Boost Your Income

how to become a certified personal trainer

Once you’ve qualified as a personal trainer and landed the job you want, there are tons of opportunities to progress in your career.

By completing a Level 4 Personal Training course, you can become an expert in a specialist area of fitness. 

Having an advanced qualification will help you to attract new clients and stand out as a personal trainer. Plus, many clients are willing to pay more for specialist services, so you’ll earn a higher wage, too.


Become a Personal Trainer

Turn your passion for fitness into a career with our CIMSPA-endorsed personal training diploma! 

Let’s explore how to pursue these specialisms in more detail:

Level 4 Advanced Nutrition

You can meet the requirements to become a certified personal trainer and nutritionist by completing this course. By becoming a nutrition coach, you can attract new clients, charge more for your personal training packages, and help clients reach their goals faster Level 3 Sports Massage Therapy

Get qualified to deliver sports massage and help clients to decrease muscle soreness, including aches and pains, improve injury management and rehabilitation, and enhance sporting performance. This is a great qualification to complete if you're looking to become a personal trainer and nutritionist.

Level 3 Exercise Referral

Become an exercise referral specialist, tailoring fitness programmes to support those with chronic physical conditions or illnesses to improve their health and wellbeing, often taking referrals from GPs, the NHS or private medical practitioners.

Level 4 Obesity & Weight Management

Learn how to become a PT with a specialism in delivering tailored, safe and effective exercise programming targeted at assisting obese clients with long-term weight loss and management, building a tangible, long-term improvement in their quality of life. 


How long does it take to become a personal trainer?

This depends on a range of factors, such as the study method you choose to complete the course.

If you study full-time with OriGym, you can complete your level 3 qualification in just two weeks. Alternatively, our part-time students take around 6 weeks to complete the level 3 course and online students typically complete the course in an average of 8 weeks.

Read our article 'how long does it take to qualify as a personal trainer?' to learn about the other factors that can influence how long it takes to qualify.

How old do you need to be to become a personal trainer?  

You must be at least 16 years old to complete a personal training course and/or work as a personal trainer in a gym.

Think you're too old for this industry? We answer important questions like 'am I too old to be a personal trainer?' here! 

Are there prerequisites to becoming a personal trainer? 

It's essential that you have a level 2 gym instructor qualification before going on to complete the level 3 personal trainer course.

This is why a OriGym's diploma in personal training, which combines both the Level 2 & 3 qualifications, is the best option if you don't already hold any fitness qualifications.

Ready to Kickstart Your Personal Training Career?

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

Download our course prospectus for more information on the range of health and fitness courses we offer or enquire about our Personal Training Diploma here.


Become a Personal Trainer

Turn your passion for fitness into a career with our CIMSPA-endorsed personal training diploma! 

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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