The 12 Best Personal Training Courses UK Compared

Best Personal Trainer Courses Compared

Trying to compare the best personal training courses in the UK but unsure where to start? OriGym has got you covered!

Comparing courses and qualifications by scouring through personal trainer course reviews can be a lot of hard work if you don’t know what you’re looking for. 

That’s why we’ve put together this full guide explaining exactly what to consider in order to find the best course to kick-start your new career.

Want to save some time and enquire with a trusted course provider that signs up over 700 students a month? Enquire about OriGym’s Personal Training Diploma or check out our range of personal trainer course packages here.

Alternatively, you can find out more about our courses by downloading our FREE course prospectus


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Key to The Best Personal Training Courses: Value

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Just below, we have compared a range of PT courses and course providers, sharing exactly what to look for in order to determine whether a particular course is right for you.

Before we get stuck in, there’s one thing that we really need to discuss - value!

As a customer, value is the number one thing that you should look for from any product or service, and your search for the best personal training certification should be no different.

Value is defined as “the worth of something compared to the price paid or asked for it".

This does not mean that cheap or free personal trainer courses hold the best value, but it certainly doesn’t mean that the most expensive personal trainer courses are of the highest value either. 

They could both be great courses, but that won’t be the result of price. The value of a product or service completely depends on what you, the customer, get in return for your investment.

Companies who know what their products' are worth are more likely to inflate their prices because customers will happily pay for quality, and you do usually pay for what you get.

That said, there will always be cases where you will find bargains where a company will offer a quality product or service at a genuinely low price. 

What we’re trying to say is, don’t let price be the biggest factor influencing your personal training course comparison. Instead, stick with us to read all about the exact indicators of value and quality that you should look out for!

Whilst you're here, feel free to download your guide to a "Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer":

How to Find the Best Personal Training Course

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At OriGym, we often have students come to us after being let down by another training provider. This is usually because they have bought a cheap online personal trainer course that is poor quality and essentially worthless. 

Sadly this is an all too common occurrence within this industry.

We really don’t want to see more people make this same mistake, which is one of the main reasons that we decided to put this article together.

Below, you’ll find all of our advice for comparing personal trainer courses reviews, covering everything that you need to look for from a course and provider.

1.  Course Accreditation

When researching the best UK personal training courses, one of the most important things to consider is whether a course is regulated and accredited by a reputable company.

First things first, you will need to look for a qualification that is regulated by an Ofqual approved awarding body.

The awarding body is the organisation that actually certifies you as a Level 3 Personal Trainer and provides you with your qualification. Some reputable awarding bodies include Focus Awards, YMCA Awards, and Active IQ.

So, look out for these logos when carrying out your personal training course comparison:

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Without the stamp of approval of one of the awarding bodies above, your certification will be worth no more than the paper that is printed on.

Having a regulated qualification is a requirement of all employers in the fitness industry, and it's something that personal trainer insurance providers will want proof of, too.

Basically, if a course isn’t regulated by Ofqual, completing it is a total waste of time.

Once you’ve established that a course is regulated, you’ll also want to ensure that it is accredited by a reputable company within the fitness industry. 

Whilst course accreditation isn’t a mandatory requirement (unlike Ofqual regulation), REPs or CIMSPA endorsement is still something that will add value to your qualification. 

REPs (the Register of Exercise Professionals) and CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity) are both well-recognised and respected within the industry, and so having a qualification endorsed by either of these companies can place you at a real advantage when it comes to looking for a job.

You can find out more about our range of REPs endorsed online Personal Training course here.

2. Location

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The next thing to consider in your search for the best personal trainer qualification, is the location of the PT course company. 

Knowing how much a PT course costs is pointless if that course provider doesn’t haven’t a centre near to you.

To carry out a thorough comparison, you need to find out where the course is located, think about how you are going to travel there, and how much that travel will cost.

Even if you’re here comparing the best online personal training courses, travel fees are inevitable because all practical assessments have to be completed in house.

Whatever study option you choose, location is definitely something that you need to consider prior to signing up for a course!

Undecided on which study option is best for you? Don’t sweat it! We’re about to explain the various kinds of study methods and how to determine which way of learning best suits you.

3. Study Method

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Another one of the most important areas you need to consider when choosing your course is which study method best suits your learning style. 

The majority of course providers will offer the following three study methods:

  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • Online

When comparing different study methods, you should think about how you learn most effectively - do you like to be left to your own devices or do you favour practical learning?

Whilst full-time courses (sometimes called fast-track courses) involve a lot of face-to-face learning in a classroom setting, online courses are entirely self-led and require a lot more motivation to get through the course content.

Whilst some people enjoy practical learning and being able to converse with a tutor, plenty of aspiring personal trainers enjoy the freedom and flexibility of studying online.

Struggling to decide which mode of study is right for you? Part-time PT courses are definitely worth considering.

Part-time courses offer a blending learning approach, combining the benefits of both full-time and online learning.

If you want to know which option is best, the answer is that it really does depend on factors such as your preferred way of learning, how fast you want to get qualified, and how much time you have to dedicate to the course.

Training providers have multiple names for the various types of study, which can really confuse applicants who are in the process of comparing personal trainer qualifications. 

To help you to make a more informed decision about which study option is best for you, we’re going to talk about each mode of study in a little more detail and discuss the various names that training providers use for each study method.

This should help you to better compare prices and give you a better idea of what exactly you’re getting for your money - here goes!

Want to know more about what to expect from a career as a PT? Read about the personal trainer job description over on our recent blog post.

Home Study PT Course (Online Learning)

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A Home Study PT Course is also referred to as a self-study, online learning, distance learning, or an e-learning personal trainer course.

Regardless of what name a course provider uses to define its home study course, if you enjoy learning from home and working independently, then this is the right course for you. 

Online or ‘distance learning’ courses will provide you with the freedom to get aspects of the course completed in your own time so that you can learn at a pace that you find manageable. 

This method of study never normally has a set start date which means that you can get cracking with your learning from the day that you enrol. 

This kind of course rarely has any deadlines or set dates for exams, and so some aspect of self-motivation is important if you want to get through the content at a reasonable pace.

Think you have the motivation to work online or at home? Why not look into becoming an online personal trainer!

Whilst this is a very independent way to study, you will still have access to tutor support if you choose a high-quality course provider.

For example, all OriGym students are able to get in touch with an experienced tutor via an online live chat box, via email, or over the phone.

Any reputable company will also offer the option to upgrade to study a course with some practical learning, too. If you like the sound of online study but think that you would struggle without any element of practical learning, then a blended course might be a better option!

Blended Learning Personal Training Courses

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Blended learning, also known as part-time learning, flexible learning, immersion training, and mentored learning, is a kind of study that combines online and practical learning.

A typical part-time course consists of access to online resources as well as the option to attend practical workshops run by experienced PT tutors. 

There are many forms of blended learning, for example, some providers will require that you attend a certain number of practical days with mandatory attendance and will set deadlines for the completion of online coursework. 

Other providers, like ourselves, offer a much more flexible way of studying. OriGym students have the option to attend as many weekend workshops as they feel necessary and also have access to unlimited tutor support over the phone, via email, and via our live chatbox feature.

Check out our recent articles where we answer common questions about a career as a PT:

Full-time Personal Trainer Courses

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Also known as a fast track, classroom, or intensive learning course, full-time PT courses require you to attend a training centre for a set number of weeks. 

Despite the flexibility that comes with online and blended learning courses, opting to study a classroom-based course is still a very popular way of learning among aspiring personal trainers. 

On this type of course, you will learn from experienced fitness tutors on the gym floor as well as within a classroom. 

The average full-time personal trainer course is delivered over a period of 4 weeks between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Typically, you will spend the first 2 weeks completing your Level 2 certificate in Fitness Instructing and the final 2 weeks on your Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification.

Classroom courses are almost always more expensive than their online or blended learning equivalents, mainly because of the increased overhead costs that training providers have to cover. For example, the cost of venue hire or employing an experienced tutor. 

This is just one of the reasons why a personal trainer course comparison is only possible when you compare the mode of study between providers. 

Comparing a full-time course with one company with an online course for another just isn’t possible. There are tons of influences on prices and indicators of value that make this kind of comparison near enough impossible.


Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer

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4. Contact Time

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Outside of your study method, another thing to look for in a good PT course is the amount of contact time that you are able to have with staff and experienced tutors.

There are various formats or mechanisms of contact offered by different course providers.

For example, some providers do not offer any face-to-face teaching, which means that if you sign up for an online course and struggle with the independent study, there’s no way to upgrade your cause for extra contact time.

Whilst good training providers (OriGym included) offer a range of means of contacting their tutors, such as email, phone call, or live chat, others only allow students to communicate with staff via email - and they can often take days to reply!

These variances in contact time can really determine the value of a course, so it's definitely something to consider when picking the best personal training provider for you.

As well as this, you should also check out a personal trainer courses’ reviews to see about the availability of tutors via these contact methods.

It’s all well and good finding a brilliant provider that is easy to get in touch with, but if those tutors are only available Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm, then that probably isn’t the best personal trainer course for anybody looking to study on evenings and weekends around a full-time job or other responsibilities. 

5. Career Support

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One of the most common questions that we encounter is ‘what career support do you offer post-course?’.

The reason this question is asked time and time again is that it is very important to a student’s initial success within the industry. A company’s support can act as a catalyst for a sustainable and successful career in the world of health and fitness. 

Career support massively varies between course providers, with some having absolutely no career support options and others offering an extensive range of services.

You need to ask yourself the question, where do you want to be when you have qualified? Only then can you relate it to the career support that you want and would benefit from. 

For example, if you know that you want to become a freelance personal trainer straight from the get-go, you need to consider whether a course will offer any advice or support with business, sales, and marketing your personal trainer business.

Prior to picking a course, check out a range of personal training course reviews, scour the web, and ask course providers directly about the level of support they offer. Bear in mind that good career services will cost providers a lot of money, and so cheap course providers will probably cut this added extra to save themselves some cash!

Don't forget to download your guide to a "Day in the Life of a Personal Trainer" for more on what you can expect from this career:

6. Tutors and Staff Knowledge

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If you are planning on paying for a classroom-based course or to train with a one-to-one mentor, you’ll definitely want to find out who is teaching that course, what credibility they possess, and what qualifications or experience they have that qualifies them to teach you.

If post-course support is something that has sold you on a course, don’t be afraid to ask about who runs that service, and what qualifications or experience they have that make them an expert in providing career advice and guidance. It is not rude to ask, you need to know it!

Want to know more about the process of getting qualified as a PT? Check out the following articles:

7. Resources

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As we mentioned when we discussed the study method, we all retain and learn information in different ways. 

The resources that benefit you most won’t necessarily help another student, and that’s ok, as long as you choose a course that provides the right resources and teaching methods to suit your preferences.

It is important that you know the resources that you will be working with to complete your qualification effectively - never assume the type of resource that you will be given. 

This is especially true when comparing online personal trainer courses as the phrase “e-learning” is very broad. 

The last thing you want is to sign up for an e-learning course, only to learn that the ‘resources’ consist of a link to a dropbox file of PDFs.

The quality of a course provider's resources says a lot about the professionalism and commitment they provide to their students, so it's a really big indicator of value!

To give you an idea of what you should expect from a good course provider, these are some of the resources available to OriGym’s online students:

  • E-Books & Electronic Manuals
  • Access to an Award Nominated Interactive Learning Platform
  • Interactive Quizzes
  • Online Lectures
  • Videos Tutorials for Guidance and Demonstration

8. Trusted Providers

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All too often we have students come to us after having lost out on money by choosing a course provider that has either gone out of business or simply not provided the service that the student signed up for.

As much as this is something that is really unfortunate for the individual, it's a situation that is easily avoided by simply doing some research into the trustworthiness of a course provider.

Seeing as you’re here searching for a rundown of the best personal trainer courses compared, it's safe to say that you are taking the necessary steps to find a good course provider and avoid being in the unfortunate situation outlined above.

Want advice on what to look for from a provider? Here are 3 ways to do your own trust check!

Once we're done here, why not do some research into the different types of professional development for personal trainers.

A) Research Personal Training Course Reviews

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Reviews, reviews, reviews!

Online reviews are one of the most influential factors in any modern purchase, and for good reason!

One of the best ways to get a true understanding of the trustworthiness of any business is to look at reviews on neutral review sites. 

The best review site to check out is probably Trustpilot as it is a completely neutral site and only shows reviews from real accounts by verified customers. Therefore, looking at these reviews can give you a real feel for the quality and service that you will receive.

If you can not find reviews of a company on Trustpilot, or if the only reviews are the ones on their website, it's likely that the company is neither genuine or trustworthy. 

Internal reviews can easily mislead you as the company can pick and choose which of its reviews to display. It can be hard to identify internal reviews as they are often designed to look like they are Google Reviews.

Noticing a lack of reviews on neutral sites or only finding personal trainer course reviews on the companies own website shows that the company has actively disabled its reviews.

Consider this - why would a company disable their Trustpilot reviews and stop potential customers from seeing all of the great things that past and present students have to say about them? They wouldn’t!

Therefore, a lack of reviews is a real sign that the company either doesn’t exist or that they’ve received a lot of negative reviews that they don’t want you to find. 

B) Check out Companies House

The large majority of training providers fall under the banner of Limited Companies which means that their companies house information is readily available online.

This is really useful as it means you can find out whether a particular company has had any outstanding court cases or financial problems, and you can see how long the company has been operating. 

Knowing that a company is being run correctly and that it has been operating successfully for a number of years provides peace of mind that it is unlikely the company will go into liquidation - something that would cause you to lose out on every penny you had paid them.

C) Governing Body / Skills Active Register

As we covered earlier on, it's imperative that you choose a personal trainer course that is regulated by the appropriate awarding bodies and accredited by REPs or CIMSPA.

If you’re unsure about the credibility of a company and whether they’re accredited, you can always check them out on the Skills Active register. 

Alternatively, you can go straight to the governing body and find out the company’s test centre number as this information is readily available within the public domain.

9. Check The Small Print

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When comparing PT courses, remember that every provider is trying to sell to you. Regardless of whether you speak to a careers advisor or a member of the enrollment team, ultimately, that individual is trying to sign you up for their company's fitness course.

If there is a small detail that doesn’t work in the provider’s favour, that sales rep can easily skip past that point - unless you ask about it!

The last thing you want is to be hit with a hidden charge when you have already had to pay anywhere up to £3000 for a course. Fortunately for you, we’re going to share some common additional personal training course fees that you might want to ask about prior to enrolling on a qualification:

A) Exams 

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Believe it or not, some providers will actually charge you an additional fee to take your assessments!

It would be easy to assume that since your exams are an essential part of the qualification, they’d be included in the cost of a course. Unfortunately, some companies will take any opportunity to market themselves as a low-cost provider only to ask for additional fees once you have already committed to their course.

B) Re-sits 

If you’ve already looked into a couple of personal trainer courses compared, you might have noticed that many fitness training providers have really different stances on resit costs.

Some course providers won’t offer free resits at all, others will have a limit on how many times you can resit for free, and a couple will actually allow you to resit your assessments as many times as you like.

Having to pay for a practical resit (which can set you back up to £150) on top of having failed the assessment in the first place, is just not a situation that you want to put yourself into. So, prior to signing up and paying for a course, ask whether they offer free resits and if so, how many!

Even if you’re confident that you’ll pass your exams the first time around, it's always reassuring to have that peace of mind.

C) Certification Fees 

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Yes, really! Some companies will actually charge you for your fitness certificates and we aren’t just talking about covering the cost of postage.

It’s definitely worth ensuring that the cost of your certificates is included in the course price. If it isn’t, it says a lot about that particular provider!

D) Admin fees

Finally, you’ll also want to check the small print to see if a provider is going to charge you for any admin fees.

Some providers will charge you for anything, even adding a cost for a member of their admin team to simply sign you up!

Whilst you should expect to have to make some kind of down payment when you enrol, it's important to establish whether this is an additional charge or simply a deposit to secure your place on their course.

All you need to do is ask whether this initial payment is taken off the overall course cost. If they explain that it's a surplus charge, it might be best to rethink whether this really is the best personal trainer certification option.

10. Personal Trainer Course Cost

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By now, you should have a pretty good idea of the criteria that any good PT course should meet. You might be wondering how you can choose between course providers when they all satisfy the requirements above, well, here’s where the cost comes into it.

PT courses can cost vary greatly, with providers charging anywhere between £1000 and £5000. As long as you’re happy that all of the above criteria are met, that the provider is trustworthy, and offers all of the additional services that you want, then you can use prices to help you to determine the best personal training course for you.

Want to know more about how to properly compare courses by price? OriGym has a full article on personal training course costs in which we explain how to get the most for your money. 

11. Financing & Payment Plans

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Whilst some people are lucky enough to be able to pay the full price of their course upfront, not everybody has access to that amount of money.

If you’re in a position where you would need a payment plan in order to be able to afford a PT course right now, then this is also something to consider when comparing different personal trainer courses.

Some training providers charge interest on repayment, and this interest can be as high as 39% APR! Some providers will also ask to run a credit check or will require a guarantor before allowing you to enrol on the course.

Paying that percentage of interest is enough to turn what would be a great quality PT course to an overpriced option that can easily be beaten on price with a different provider!

Our advice would be to look for a training provider that offers interest-free, flexible payment plans!

12. Fitness CPD’s and Additional Courses.

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One final thing to look out for when comparing PT Courses, is what other learning modules and additional qualifications a provider will offer you alongside your Personal Training Diploma. 

Many people see “certificate in personal training” and assume this means that every provider is offering the same qualification, but that is not the case. The reality is that every provider has to offer a minimum of ten modules in order to adhere to governing body regulations. 

These core modules include an understanding of nutrition, principles of exercise, and anatomy & physiology. A course provider offering a Level 3 PT course without any of these components would be like a garage selling a car without wheels - completely nonsensical.

Some course providers go one step further, offering added value through free CPD (Continuous Professional Development) courses.

CPD courses such as a Group Exercise or Circuit Training CPD, are fundamental for PTs to build their knowledge and progress in their career.

By studying these different kinds of training, a fitness professional is then able to create variety in their sessions and maybe even find a niche - a really effective personal trainer marketing strategy.

Not only that, but completing CPD courses also allows personal trainers to retain their REPs membership! 

For all of the reasons above, choosing a course provider that offers free CPDs as part of a personal trainer course package should be a no-brainer.

Personal Training Course Comparison

Now that you know what to look for from a good PT course, your next step should be to go out and compare different personal trainer courses with the above criteria in mind.

To make your life easier, we have done that hard work for you. Just below, we’ve compiled a list of popular training providers and compared them using reviews from neutral sites so you can see what their former students have to say.

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These reviews were taken on 11/02/2021. They are subject to change after this date.

Before You Go!

As you can probably tell by now, there is a lot to think about when comparing personal trainer courses and fitness providers. 

However, having read this article, you’re in a great position to go ahead and read some personal trainer course reviews as you know exactly what to look out for!

Why not enquire about OriGym’s REPs and CIMSPA endorsed Level 3 Personal Training Qualification or find out more about our online personal trainer courses here.

Want to know more about the health and fitness courses that you can study with us? Download your FREE prospectus now!


Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer

Become a qualified Personal Trainer with OriGym

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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