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Personal Trainer Courses Compared

This article will make comparing personal trainer courses easy for you.

So you have come to the conclusion that starting a career as a personal trainer is the right choice for you. As a former personal trainer with 15 years experience, I can honestly say that it was the best career choice that I have made. Being a personal trainer is one of the most exciting, social and dynamic careers currently within the contemporary job market.

However, before becoming a highly successful personal trainer you will need to gain your personal trainer qualifications. Firstly, you need to find the correct course provider for you so you can begin your personal training education. However, the questions begs, which is the best company for you to study your PT qualifications with? What fitness accreditation do you really need? It is easy to become overwhelmed by the price differences, the alternate learning methods and sales jargon on all the training provider websites. This is why we have compiled all of the useful information in easy to digest graphics and summaries. This will enable you to take in all the information easily.


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What do you need to understand?

Origym have compiled a thorough dissection on each company’s reviews, service, career support and accreditation. We have also taken into account many more factors that will give you a real evaluation of how personal training courses compare against one another.

But first… need to really understand what you as a customer should value, before choosing what personal trainer course to enrol on.

What is value?

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

This does not mean the cheapest personal trainer course holds the best value or that the most expensive personal trainer course holds the best value either. They both could be, but it depends on what you are getting in return for your investment. The same principle applies for any product or service available within the open market, you tend to pay for what you get. However, that being said there are few bargains where the quality of the product or service will be sold for a genuinely low price. Companies who know there products worth are far more likely to inflate their prices because customers will happily pay for quality.

We have made this article for you!

At Origym we sell an average of 10 courses per month to students who have unfortunately, been let down by other training providers. This is because they have bought a cheap personal trainer course that is also lacking in quality. Sadly this is all too common an occurrence within the personal trainer industry and we do not want to see you make the same mistake. This article will help you avoid such mistakes because it enables you to compare the large amount of personal trainer courses against each other. It will also tell you what you are really getting into for the cost of each course.

Remember more often than not you are only purchasing your personal trainer qualification once, so make sure you do your research, due diligence while inspecting the most important factors for yourself when comparing gym instructing and personal training course together.

Mandatory Requirements

1. Awarding Body

When trying to find a suitable personal training course many people look at the accreditation and that alone, without thinking about what governing body is printing their certificate.

So what is the difference and what personal training certification is the best?

The governing body is the organisation that actually provides your qualification. A fitness accreditation is provided by a company who endorses (or rubber stamps) these qualifications. Firstly, when looking for the correct qualification, you need to find a company that provides qualifications through a legitimate governing body. Secondly, you need a qualification that has the correct accreditation. Without either you may as well burn that paper because it will not qualify you for a personal trainer position.

2. Location

It is pointless to know the price of your course provider if the course provider does not operate near you. You need to take location and travel into account when choosing your course provider. You are highly likely to incur travel fees because all practical assessments have to be completed in house.

Whatever option you choose, location is an important factor in any students decision.

3. Study Method

Another one of the most important areas you need to consider when choosing your course is which study method best suits your learning methods. You should know how to most effectively learn, whether its face to face in a classroom setting or a more varied alternative such as the blended learning experience. This options enables you to work closely with a tutor by being part of a group. You can also just come in house to do your practical evaluation via a distance learning PT course. This affords you more freedom and time when completing the courses modules.

Do not be confused by different names.

Training providers will have multiple name for these types of learning. This can really confuse novice applicants when they are in the process of comparing personal trainer providers. To help you out, we have indicated under each type of learning a few alternatives names for these courses. This will enable you to cross translate prices from one company to another. However, do keep in mind that you cannot compare PT courses from one learning method to another, they have completely different financial outlays. So for example, compare an online personal training course to a full time one. Every provider has to pay for both a functional venue and an experienced tutor; for the duration of a full time course, this is never cheap. Due to this, the cost of the personal trainer course would significantly increase, so do keep this in mind.

Home Study PT Course:

A Home Study PT Course is also known as self-study, online learning, distance learning and e-learning personal trainer courses.

If you enjoy learning from home, a home study PT Course is the correct course for you. This course will provide you with the freedom to get aspects of the course completed in your own time so you can learn at a pace that you find manageable. This method of study never normally has a set start date and you can get cracking with your learning from the day you enrol. Any reputable company should provide some practical implementation, just because it is a home study course it does not mean it is  learnt exclusively online. This is called a blended learning course.

Blended Learning PT Course:

Also known as part-time learning, flexible learning, immersion training and mentored learning.

There are many forms of blended learning, with some providers having days with mandatory attendance. There will also be other times that you need to complete theoretical work online. Other providers like our selves utilise a one to one mentoring scheme to make your learning more tailored and therefore, more effective.

Classroom PT Course:

Also known as fast track, full time and intensive learning course.

Electing to go for a classroom based course is still a very popular way of learning among aspiring personal trainers. This is where you will be taught on both the gym floor as well as within a classroom. A Classroom PT Course is normally delivered between a duration of 4 weeks and 8 weeks between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday depending on which training provider you choose.

4. Contact Time:

Separate to the learning method, there is contact between similar type of studying when trying to see which personal trainer course is best for you. This can be in various formats or mechanisms of contact.

For example some course providers do not provide any face to face teaching with their online courses, where as others have mentoring sessions or practical training days. Some providers only allow you to communicate via email and they can often take days to reply. On the other hand there are other companies who you can ring on Skype and other companies who provide you 24-hour access to a qualified tutor. These variances are what determine value. This is what you need to be aware of when picking the best personal training provider for you.

5. Career Support

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 because 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 career. Career support massively varies from some providers having no career support options and some having very extensive ones.

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 need and would benefit from. For example if you want to freelance as a personal trainer straight from the get go, you need to factor in if there is any support with business, marketing or sales aspects within your course? What level of support are you being given? How long for? These service elements cost providers a lot of money, thus why cheaper personal training courses cut off these additional aspects.

6. Tutors and Staff Knowledge

If you are planning to enrol onto a classroom based course or whether you are planning on having a one to one mentor, find out who is taking your course and find out the creditability of that tutor, what are they qualified to actually teach you. You should ask the staff at head office whether they are qualified to offer you career advice or guidance beyond your course. If they are, ask them what qualifications they have. It is not rude to ask, you need to know it!

7. Resources

We all can retain and learn information in a number of different ways. 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. The phrase “e-learning” is very broad and this could mean that you are sent a drop box of PDF’s. The quality of an course providers resources will indicate to you the amount of professionalism and commitment they provide to each on of their students. 

8. Trusted Providers

I used to have sympathy for people when they said they had lost money to other providers, or that a provider had gone out of business and they did not receive their diploma in personal training or that they had awful service. The truth is YOU need to do YOUR due diligence to ensure that you are getting what you thought you were paying for. Hopefully since you are reading this you are taking the first steps to find the best personal training provider for you. Here are a few factors to YOU need to see if a provider is a trusted company:

A) Reviews

Reviews, reviews, reviews!

Online reviews are one of the most influential factors in any modern purchase. Look at reviews on neutral review sites like Google, Trustpilot, Yell, Facebook and Yelp. These sites are neutral and they link to real accounts. By looking at all of them you get a real feel for the quality and service that you will receive.

If you can not find reviews on a company or if there only reviews on their website, this company is probably un-genuine. Companies can disable reviews on any of these sites, which mean’s they disable all their bad reviews and “good ones”. Let’s think about this logically, are they disabling their personal trainer course reviews as they are so good that it would give them an unfair advantage? Of course not! They are disabling them for the exact opposite reason. They have something to hide.

Also when you read, “Barry said we were great” on their site, as it is not linked to a real account like on Facebook, there is no proof that Barry exists.

B) Companies House

The large majority of training providers fall under the banner of Limited Companies. Du to this you can find their companies house information whenever you want. This tells you if the company has had any outstanding court cases, financial problems or how long the company has been operating. You need to ensure that the company is being run correctly and that it has been operating successfully for a number of years as otherwise if you pay for your course and then the company goes into liquidation, you will lose every penny you have paid and there is nothing you can do about it.

C) Governing Body / Skills Active Register

If you are still feeling a little unsure on the credibility of a company you can check them out on the Skills Active register or go straight to the governing body and find out the company’s test centre number. This information is available within the public domain.

9. Check the small print

Remember every provider is trying to sell to you, they may call themselves careers advisors, the enrolment team or whatever other “non threatening” name they prefer. Ultimately they are they’re to sign you onto their companies fitness course. They are not going to tell you each fine detail and they are not legally obliged to do so. If a detail does not work in the provider or sales representatives favor and you have not asked the right question, then you might get a nasty surprise later on with hidden charges hitting you from every single angle. Luckily I am going to share with you some additional personal training course fees that you might want to enquire about prior to enrolling on your qualification:

A) Exams – Some providers charge you for taking your assessments. 

B) Re-sits – Fitness training provides have very different stances on re-sit costs and how many times you can re-sit. For example, some providers will enable you to re-sit your tests as many times as you like, where other providers will say if you fail a module three times, you lose the entire course fee. This is not ideal for an aspiring fitness professional who has left the comfort of their job to develop a new career. You can also find practical re-sits that cost up to £150, unless you have asked the question when your enrolling, you will get stung with and not pass your assessment. This is why you should be extra inquisitive when a company offers you unconditional support. Many companies have a hidden curfew to their support.

C) Certification Fees – Yes really! Companies will actually charge you to send out your fitness certificates and we aren’t talking about the postage fee.

D) Admin fees – Some training providers will charge you just for signing up. Every provider is going to want some form of down payment for you to enrol. The key is to know whether or not it is a surplus charge or whether it is taken off your original fee. If it is taken off your fee that is all well and good, but if it is a surplus charge you might want to think twice before handing over your money. Often providers will mask this fee of having a purpose by calling it a registration fee, so be warned!

10. Personal Trainer Course Cost

If you have now established that most of your criteria has been met and you are happy with the course format and service you are now are ready to talk about the cost of a personal trainer course. This varies hugely depending on all the above factors we have addressed. You can find courses ranging from £700 through to £5000.

11. Financing & Payment Plans.

Some of us are lucky enough to be able to pay the course fee’s upfront. However, for the large majority, this is not the case. Some training providers charge interest on re-payment. This interest can be as high as 39% APR and some will ask for a guarantors or credit checks before allowing you to enrol onto the course.

A competent company will offer their potential students short and long term payment options. Companies that offer flexible payment terms of re-payment are more accommodating to their students. This is why you should look for a company that is flexible. First time personal trainers are more likely to pass and succeed.

12. Fitness CPD’s and Additional Courses.

When comparing PT Courses you need to examine what other learning modules and additional qualifications you will receive from completing a certain course with a certain provider. Many people see “certificate in personal training” and assume this means that every provider is offering the same qualification. This is not true. The reality is that every provider has to offer a minimum of ten modules in coherence with the governing body regulations. These modules include nutrition, principles of exercise and anatomy. Not having these components would be like selling a car without its wheels or without an engine. It is completely nonsensical.

The added value comes from the modules that surround it, the fitness CPD’s. CPD (Continuous Professional Development) are fundamental for trainers to build up their knowledge. By practicing on different forms of training a trainer is able to create variety in their sessions so they can to meet REPs guidelines. This will enable them to sustain retain their REPs membership.

Always think about what is best for you and your progression as a personal trainer.

When enquiring into a company and a course you should see what extra qualifications and learning modules are attached to the program. Think about what areas of fitness you want to specialise in before enrolling.

To make your life easy we have done all the mystery shopping for you and compiled a list of training providers at different ends of the market so you can see all the points that have been addressed above. Then you should be able to compare personal training courses in one easy manageable format:

As you can see there is a wide range of quality and when you compare PT courses point by point, you can really see some of the key differences from provider to provider.

What do former students say? – Neutral Review Sites.

Now let us see what the general public thinks. Which companies are overhyped? Which companies can provide a quality service at a level you deserve? What companies are actually better than they seem. The only way to understand this is to look at review sites that are neutral where real customers can comment and not be afraid to share their views. We have decided to look at the top three biggest review platforms for the UK: Google, Trustpilot and Facebook.


Trustpilot - 9.6/10
Facebook - 4.8/5
Google - 5/5

Train Fitness:

Trustpilot - Not on Trustpilot
Facebook - Reviews disabled by company
Google - 3.9/5

The Training Room:

Trustpilot - Reviews disabled by company
Facebook - Reviews disabled by company
Google - Reviews disabled by company


Trustpilot -
Facebook- Reviews disabled by company
Google - 3.2/5


Trustpilot - 9.2/10
Facebook - 4.7 / 5
Google - 5/5 - 1 review

Be A Better You

Trustpilot - Not collecting on Trustpilot
Facebook - Reviews disabled by company
Google - 4.1 / 5

Future Fit Training

Google - 5/5 – 1 review
Trustpilot - 8.5/10
Facebook - 4.1/5


Trustpilot - 7/10
Facebook - Reviews disabled by company
Google - 4/5


Trustpilot - 4.4/10
Facebook - 5/5 – 2 reviews
Google - 3/5


Trustpilot - Not on Trustpilot.
Facebook - 4.2/5
Google - 3.4/5

Diverse Trainer

Trustpilot - Not collecting on Trustpilot
Facebook - Review disabled by company
Google - 5/5 – 4 reviews

Focus Training

Trustpilot - 6.6/10
Facebook - Reviews disabled by owners
Google - 4.5/ 5 – 2 reviews

These reviews were taken on 27/07/2017. They are subject to change after this date.


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As you can see when you break down the reviews of some of these providers they are nowhere near the quality of what there marketing makes you believe. Some of these companies have even disabled their reviews on certain platforms, which for Facebook you have to actively do. At Origym we are proud to show off our reviews on neutral platforms. We allow our customers the freedom to share their experiences, whether they are good or bad.

Ironically most of these providers are double our price for the same qualifications through the exact same awarding body.

Listen, because this part is really important!

Beware of the internal reviews. They are a scam that can easily mislead you.

You might not know this, but in almost every sector companies are making internal reviews look like external ones, like on the platform mentioned above.

You know reviews are internal when you see them on the companies website strategically next to a product. However, this can be confusing because the reviews may be specially designed to look like they are Google Reviews, most of us have trouble telling the difference. In fact even when doing this article I almost credited one company for having exceptional reviews, but after a second glance I noticed that they were simply internal ones designed by them, this is why it can be so misleading.

Here are two examples of this:

As you can see they look like Google reviews as they use the same star symbol. The reality is they are internal reviews and unsurprisingly they look fantastic, despite the real reviews on neutral sites saying otherwise.

Do you think they are going to show you a collection of 1 and 2 star reviews? Of course not! The only way you will be able to see these reviews is on neutral platforms.

This practice is not illegal or misleading in the eyes of the law as they are not saying that these reviews are neutral or internal.

How can you improve your comparative skills?

This is easily created by anyone who has access to a web master. This is simple schema plugin to the website that pulls the internal reviews and represents what is called a ‘Rich Snippet’. These companies could literally give their 5 star rating to themselves and nobody would be non the wiser. Therefor, the company is giving themselves a perceived credibility when writing “Dave said we were good” even though there is actually no difference. We are not saying that these reviews are “fake”, but if they are real why aren’t the same people reviewing these companies on neutral sites? When you can review them on high authority platforms like Google and Facebook, there is no plausible excuse. We will let you come to your own evaluation.

There is a lot to think about when comparing personal trainer courses and fitness providers. You just need to weight up what is most important you as well as the service, price and amount of support from that company. If you have read this article from top to bottom, you have definitely put yourself in a good position to knowing where to start and hopefully you are a little savvier to how the marketing of fitness companies.

Enquire today with OriGym to Become a Personal Trainer with the most reputable brand in the UK! OR, go ahead and download our FREE prospectus for more info on what you could be learning!  

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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