Personal Trainer Levels Explained (UK)

personal trainer levels

We get it, understanding the various personal trainer levels can be confusing, especially if you have no prior experience. This is why we’ve created this ultimate guide, to cover topics such as: 

Before we get started, check out our article on how to become a personal trainer for a step-by-step guide on how to get started with this career!

Why Are Personal Training Levels Important?

personal trainer levels 2

Before we outline the various personal training levels in the UK, let’s first address why they are so important. 

In England, all personal trainer qualification levels are set by Ofqual

Ofqual is the Government body responsible for setting the frameworks for vocational courses- including personal training. They are also tasked with ensuring that all awarding bodies adhere to those frameworks, providing consistency across the industry. 

If a course is Ofqual-regulated, it will be labelled according to its level, such as ‘Level 3’ or ‘Level 4’. 

pt levels 4

Choosing an Ofqual-regulated personal training course therefore gives you peace of mind that you will be receiving the highest standards of training in the industry. 

A course which is labelled by a ‘level’ therefore acts like a ‘stamp of approval’ that your course meets the highest standards of training in the industry. This means that all Ofqual-regulated courses will provide you with the same level of training, ensuring consistency across the industry. 

Choosing an Ofqual-regulated personal trainer course will also improve your employability. 

If an employer reads that you have an Ofqual-regulated qualification, this indicates to them that you have been trained to a high standard, making them more likely to hire you! 

What Level Personal Trainer Qualification Level Do You Need to Become a PT?

personal trainer levels

If you’re thinking about becoming a personal trainer there are two key qualification levels you will need:

If you don’t currently have any qualifications, the quickest and most cost-effective way to become a personal trainer is to take a Personal Training Diploma with OriGym

This combines both the Level 2 and Level 3 courses, qualifying you as a personal trainer in as little as 4 weeks! 

Check out our guide to how to become a personal trainer for more information about what these courses involve. 

What Can You Do With A Level 2 Qualification?

personal trainer levels 3

As an entry-level course, a Level 2 Gym/Fitness Instructor Qualification is suitable for those who currently have no qualifications and are wanting to take the first step into the fitness industry.

A Level 2 Fitness Instructor course is ideal for those wanting to either:

  • Find a job as a fitness/gym instructor
  • Take the first step towards becoming a personal trainer, since it is a prerequisite for a Level 3 Personal Trainer course

OriGym’s Ofqual-regulated course topics such as the principles of exercise, health and safety and human anatomy. 

You will qualify with a strong foundation of knowledge, skills and practical experience to work as a fitness instructor, or to progress onto a Level 3 personal trainer course. 


Get Qualified as a Personal Trainer!

Enquire about OriGym's industry-leading personal training courses

What Can A Level 2 Fitness Instructor Do? 

As we have said, upon completion of this course, you will be fully qualified to work as a fitness instructor in a gym, fitness centre or online!

This involves completing duties such as instructing group fitness classes, helping gym members and other gym-based tasks such as leading inductions. 

Enjoying this article so far? Here’s 3 more that we think you’ll love:

What Does ‘Level 3 Personal Trainer’ Mean?

personal trainer levels 4

A Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification is the minimum personal trainer qualification level required to work as a PT in the UK. 

Not only will employers require this qualification from applicants for vacant jobs, but it is also needed for getting personal trainer insurance. 

This course builds on what you will have learnt on your Level 2 course, giving you an advanced knowledge and understanding of topics such as anatomy, nutrition, exercise programming and the business of personal training. 

Upon completion of a Level 3 course, you will be qualified to create and deliver bespoke exercise programmes for clients on a 1-to-1 basis in a gym, fitness centre or online.  

You could choose to work on a contracted or freelance basis for an employer, or alternatively become self-employed and start your own PT business. 

Since it is endorsed by CIMSPA, OriGym’s Level 3 personal trainer course is also internationally-recognised. This means that you are able to work as a PT abroad!

Check out our guide to what a personal training course involves for more details about this level of personal training. 

What Is The Difference Between A Level 3 and Level 4 Personal Trainer?

Level 4 is another one of the ‘main’ personal trainer levels.

Whilst there is no such thing as a ‘Level 4 personal trainer course’, these qualifications allow you to specialise in a particular area of fitness, demographic or niche. 

Here at OriGym, we offer a range of Level 4 courses, including:

Here are some more differences between these two levels of personal trainers: 

pt levels 2

To learn more about this topic, check out our guide to the differences between Level 3 and Level 4 personal training here

Is There Such Thing As A Level 1 Personal Training Course?

personal trainer levels 5

Often referred to as a Level 1 Personal Training course, a Level 1 qualification briefly covers the principles of exercise and fitness.

This course does not qualify you to work as a personal trainer, to become eligible for this position you will need a minimum of a Level 3 personal trainer qualification. 

A Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification is actually an entry-level course that can provide a deeper knowledge and understanding of fitness. Whatsmore, the Level 2 will also ensure you are qualified for a wider range of job roles, and further certifications. 


Get Qualified as a Personal Trainer!

Enquire about OriGym's industry-leading personal training courses

What Is A Level 5 Personal Trainer?

personal trainer levels 6

If you’re wondering, ‘what is the highest level of personal trainer certification’?, you may have tried to search for Level 5 personal training courses. 

But in fact, there is no such thing as a Level 5 personal trainer course in the UK!

The only way you would see a ‘Level 5 personal trainer course’ is in Ireland, where personal training levels are assigned a level higher than in the UK. 

For example, a Level 4 personal trainer course in the UK would be called a Level 5 personal trainer course in Ireland. 

We have a whole article here explaining what a Level 5 Personal Trainer is here


Get Qualified as a Personal Trainer!

Enquire about OriGym's industry-leading personal training courses

Which of The Personal Trainer Levels is Right For Me?

Now that we’ve covered the different levels of personal training, you might be wondering which one is right for you. Here is a quick summary to help you decide where to begin:

pt levels

Whatever your starting point, OriGym offers courses in a range of personal trainer levels to help you achieve your career goals. 

As the leading fitness course provider in the UK, all of our courses are Ofqual-regulated, so you can guarantee that you will gain all the skills, knowledge and experience to start a successful career in the fitness industry!

You can also check out our comparison of the best personal training courses in the UK, so you can decide for yourself! 

Become a Personal Trainer With OriGym!

Ready to start a career as a PT? Enquire today about OriGym’s industry-leading personal training diploma, or download our free course prospectus here

Written by Abbie Watkins

Fitness Content Manager, OriGym

Join Abbie on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Holding an MA Marketing Communications and Branding as well as a BSc Psychology from the University of Liverpool, Abbie’s experience encompasses the retail, hospitality and fitness industries. Since joining OriGym, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and gone on to complete a specialist qualification in advanced Sports Nutrition. Abbie’s main focuses cover staying up to speed with YouTube fitness influencers, identifying successful and innovative content formats. She has contributed to various publications, including the Daily Express. Beyond OriGym, she enjoys going on scenic runs and upbeat exercise classes, and often found on the front row of a Saturday morning spin class. 

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