What Is The Best Personal Training Degree?

What is the best personal training degree

There are many reasons to study for a personal training degree, from expanding your knowledge to learning about your passion in an academic setting.

To help you make the best decision, this article will cover:

But before deciding to head off to university, why not check out our range of personal trainer courses? Our Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training takes you from no prior qualifications to a fully fledged PT, setting you up for a career in personal training.

Download our course prospectus to find out more or enter your details below.

What Degree Do You Need To Work As A PT?

what is the best personal trainer online degree

For those searching online, you may be asking ‘what is a personal training degree called?’ Most universities don’t offer a degree solely for personal training as you don’t actually need a degree to work as a PT. 

Instead, the only qualifications needed to become a PT are:

Both of these certificates can be achieved by completing a personal training diploma, after which you’ll be well equipped to train clients, and provide bespoke workout programmes.

Through a Level 3 Personal Trainer course, you’ll become certified as a PT, and able to apply for positions across the fitness industry.

Most jobs will specify this qualification on their advertisement, such as this ad from Stars Gym in London:

personal trainer degree job ad

However, while a personal training qualification is the only requirement needed to work as a personal trainer, this doesn’t mean you can't study for a degree in addition to having this qualification. 

There are plenty of degrees available to provide you with advanced knowledge on topics related to personal training, as well as knowledge on the human body, exercise, and nutrition that can help support you and your clients.

For those asking ‘what degree do I need to become a personal trainer’, let’s look in more detail at how these degrees work alongside your PT qualification.


Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Prepare yourself for an exciting career in the fitness industry with our Level 3 Personal Training Course!

Personal Training Degree vs Vocational Courses

online personal trainer degree vs vocational

Although graduating with a degree in your chosen subject is an excellent achievement, it isn’t necessary to work as a PT. 

Now, this isn’t to say fitness degrees aren’t valuable - it’s just that employers don’t list personal trainer degrees as requirements.

Even with a degree, a vocational personal training course is a compulsory requirement for a career as a PT. Vocational courses focus more on practical learning than exams, training students for a particular job or career sector, like personal training.

There are many benefits to vocational courses compared to a personal fitness trainer degree and one of the main ones is it’s much quicker to just complete a Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training than study for a three year degree before this.

Vocational Courses Are Quicker Than A Degree In Personal Training

masters degree in personal training time

Depending on your preferred method of study, it can take as little as 2 weeks of full-time study to complete one of these courses. This is ideal if you have family commitments, or simply want to get started in your career faster.

As we’ll go on to discuss below, most university degrees in personal training or fitness-related subjects are an average of three years, such as this BSc (Hons) Physical Education degree at the University of Chester:

personal trainer degree duration

Although university degrees can be studied part time, the length of time it takes to complete them means it’s an option most people either don’t want to commit to or simply can’t. A three year full time degree can take as long as six or more years to complete when studied part time.

Studying a vocational personal training course either part time or online means you’ll be qualified within a matter of months, long before even the first year of a university degree will be completed.

Vocational Courses Are Cheaper Than Degrees In Personal Training

online personal trainer degree cost

On average, personal training courses cost anywhere between £1000 and £2000. OriGym’s Level 3 Personal Training Course falls at the lower end of this average, costing just £1,049.

This means that, aside from being much quicker to complete, it also costs nowhere near as much to work as a PT by taking vocational courses.

For example, below is the cost of tuition fees for a Sports Science Degree at the University of Salford:

personal trainer degree online price

As this is a three year course, students will be left owing £27,750 after graduation. With a vocational course, even paying for the course all at once will still be significantly less than what you’d pay for a degree.

Vocational Degrees Don’t Need Entry Requirements

personal trainer online degree requirements

Another positive is that most vocational courses don’t have entry requirements, aside from a passion for health and fitness. 

To advance onto courses such as a Level 3 Personal Trainer, you must have completed a Level 2 Gym Instructor Course. Fortunately, while there is a prerequisite course, you can combine the two with a Personal Training Diploma, which costs just £1,299.

This is still a substantial saving over your degree and even after combining the two courses above, it only takes an extra two weeks when studied full time to achieve your qualification.

When it comes to university degrees, you need to have either completed traditional A-Levels or a ‘fast track’ course to get onto an undergraduate degree. 

Grade requirements also differ between universities, meaning it can be more difficult to gain a place on specific courses, especially if they’re popular.

Entry requirements for university degrees vary depending on how difficult it is to get onto a particular course and how prestigious the university is. These entry requirements can often be very high and those who don’t meet them are unlikely to gain a place.

For example, the entry requirements to study Sport & Exercise Science at the University of Bath are high:

online personal trainer degree requirements

However, to study a Strength & Conditioning in Sport degree at the University of Lincoln, the grade requirements are lower at BBC:

online personal training degree requirements

As you can see, grades differ greatly between universities and their individual courses. When examining different personal trainer degree programs, it’s best to take each course on a case by case basis as it depends on the universities ranking and course popularity.

Although vocational courses still have requirements and students need to have a level of academic interest, it’s much easier to get onto these courses as practical experience and interest are prioritised over grades.


Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Prepare yourself for an exciting career in the fitness industry with our Level 3 Personal Training Course!

More Flexible Study Methods With Vocational Courses Than Personal Trainer Degrees

online degree personal training study

One of the benefits of studying vocational courses is not being as constricted when it comes to how you choose to study. 

While universities differ, most degrees can be studied either full time or part time. Most universities don’t have the option to study a degree entirely online, certainly if it’s fitness related.

In comparison, most Level 3 Personal Trainer Courses can be studied either:

  • Online, which takes 10 weeks
  • Part Time, which takes 6 weeks
  • Full Time, which takes just 2 weeks

Regardless of how you choose to study, none of these ways are as much of a commitment as a personal training degree. Choosing online or part time study means students will still be qualified in a matter of months.

This is great for those who have family or work commitments and need to base their study around these responsibilities. A shorter amount of time to get qualified also means you can get on the path towards your career much quicker.

Vocational Courses & Personal Trainer Degrees Have The Same Career Prospects For Becoming A PT

online personal training degree vs vocational

Contrary to what you may believe, those who complete personal training degree programs won't have the same career prospects as those who complete vocational personal training courses.

While a degree in a subject such as Sports Science provides students with plenty of knowledge about physiology and the principles of exercise, you’ll need a Level 3 Personal Training qualification to be employed as a PT.

Although these degrees qualify graduates for roles such as lecturing or being an exercise psychologist, when it comes to personal training, you’ll need more a vocational qualification dedicated to just personal training.

As mentioned earlier, most job ads for personal trainers specify having at least a gym instructor qualification as well as experience as a personal trainer. For example, this ad from SB Fitness specifies a Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification as essential:

personal trainer degree online job ad

As you can see, there’s no specification for those who wish to apply to have a degree in a related subject. 

The bottom line is there isn’t really a ‘best’ degree for personal trainers. While having a degree in a related field is great for expanding your knowledge and developing skills, it should only be pursued if you’re passionate about the subject, not because it will qualify you as a PT.

If you’re looking for a quicker and cost efficient way to land your dream job in the fitness industry, completing personal training courses as soon as possible is your ideal option.

Best Degrees To Become A Personal Trainer

While there isn’t necessarily a single choice for the best degree to become a personal trainer, there are some that can help you develop your knowledge specific to what you will need to succeed both on a vocational PT course and in your career. 

#1 - Sports Science Degrees Are A Popular Choice For Personal Trainers

sports science personal trainer degree

A sports science degree is one of the most popular degrees people look into when thinking of the degrees needed for a personal trainer. These are often among the first choice for those looking for careers in the health and fitness industry.

Sports science is the scientific study of a combination of subjects such as:

  • Physiology
  • Biomechanics 
  • Psychology
  • Nutrition

It’s about understanding how the human body responds to different types of pressure. This can be with elite performance sports, or just among the general public.

One of the main reasons this degree is so popular for those interested in the world of fitness is because it gives students an understanding of fitness and exercise as a whole. 

This includes how sport and exercise is viewed in society, as well as the social role of sport in ethics and philosophy.

Having this prior knowledge when it comes to studying for a personal trainer qualification also means you’ll find it much easier to complete the course. 

sports science degree knowledge

By studying anatomy and physiology during your degree, you’ll have an immediate advantage when studying for your PT qualification as this is a key module on any Level 3 Personal Trainer Course.

You will have been provided with plenty of valuable knowledge by the time you gain a personal trainer qualification, as the modules for a sports science degree will go into great detail.

#2 - A Kinesiology Degree Is A Great Option For A Personal Trainer

kinesiology personal training degree online

Kinesiology studies the mechanics of movement, and the impact they have on our health and wellbeing. You’ll learn to identify stress in the muscles and release tension by relaxing the muscles, improving our health, mood, and wellbeing.

Specialists use their knowledge of physiology and movement to help aid a patient’s mobility and use exercise to improve their lives.

Areas of study such as the principles of motor skills can inform future decisions on how you can aid clients in setting the right goals for their range of motion. 

This helps you keep your clients health and safety as a priority too, as you’ll better understand the limits of their movement when it comes to more intensive exercise.

By studying a degree with modules dedicated to understanding how exercise can be used to help the body and the benefits it has is great for those wanting to work as a PT.

online personal trainer degree for special groups

Studying areas such as health and exercise across the lifespan allows students to gain an understanding of the best ways to help different groups of people, such as:

  • Children
  • The elderly
  • Those with disabilities

Although kinesiology is based more on an energy model of health, it’s one of the most medical types of degree on this list. 

Understanding physiology and movement at such a deep level is ideal for knowing the best way to help future clients.

With an emphasis on helping people better manage their condition, this makes it an ideal degree for those with a passion for fitness and an interest in health sciences.

#3 - Business Management Degrees Are Great For PTs Wanting To Start Their Own Business

personal trainer business degree

For those looking to work as a PT, this may not be the first degree you think of. 

However, for those with the ultimate goal of starting their own personal training business, this can be a great choice to help you succeed in the industry.

This degree also provides students with plenty of transferable skills, centred on the industry at a professional level, rather than those focused on health and fitness. 

This involves better understanding the marketing of being a personal trainer, which feeds into:

  • Better lead generation strategies
  • Improving client retention
  • A greater understanding of financial management

Students on business degrees will be introduced to problems and challenges they are likely to face and given the knowledge of how to solve them. 

business personal trainer online degree

Graduates of a business management degree are given the skills, confidence, and business awareness to succeed with their own ventures. 

When it comes to studying advanced personal training courses, a business degree will provide an advantage when it comes to modules focused less on fitness and more about running your own PT business.

Learning aspects of business at a much deeper level like the fundamentals of marketing can give you the skills to improve your own personal trainer marketing strategies once you qualify after your Level 3 Personal Trainer Course.

business marketing online personal trainer degree

Having business knowledge that extends beyond focusing on just personal training means by the time you complete a personal trainer course, you’ll already have the business acumen necessary for success and can focus on the more physical aspects of the course.

While you may not have much health and fitness knowledge before enrolling on a vocational course, you’ll be a lot more confident when it comes to marketing yourself to clients and how to be a successful personal trainer.

#4 - Sports Coaching & Development Is An Ideal Degree For Personal Trainers

sports coaching personal trainer degree online

From the degrees in our list, this one most closely resembles a career as a personal trainer. 

Modules are made up of both theoretical and practical learning to help students develop their skills as a sports coach. Sports science degrees give students a range of skills and knowledge specific to coaching. 

Areas of study include subjects such as:

  • Management 
  • Sports Policies
  • Principles of Sports Coaching
  • Sports Psychology
  • Anatomy 
  • Physiology

Through cultivating a comprehensive understanding of coaching others, you’ll be better equipped to guide your personal training clients to their SMART goals, as well as offer guidance if they’re struggling along the way.

sports coaching personal training degree online

By studying these modules at degree level, you will be more than prepared for understanding the subjects you’ll learn on a Level 3 Personal Trainer Course

This degree also has some crossover modules with what you’ll study on a PT course such as the fundamentals of coaching and the science of movement, which you’ll already have plenty of relevant knowledge on. 

This gives graduates an advantage, as many of the more coaching-related aspects of the course will be subjects you’ve already studied.

Knowing how to coach athletes and sports teams will give you plenty of experience when it comes to helping individuals reach their goals.

Studying this degree will provide you with the confidence to plan and deliver future personal training sessions as you’ll have spent three years preparing for this already.

- - - - 

While you may be wondering how to get a degree in personal training, check out these articles below to find out more about alternative options to break in: 

#5 - Sport Biomechanics Degrees Are Ideal For PTs With A Scientific Interest

degree in personal training and biomechanics

Sports biomechanics is essentially the physics of sport and an area of science focused on the analysis of human movement. This degree provides students with a greater understanding of performance in sport and fitness activity through analysing and measuring movements.

This is a scientific degree with elements of maths. The subject is centred around simulating movements using computers and mathematical models to reduce injury and enhance sport performance.

Biomechanics involves looking into exercises at a deeper level. For example, when people perform a squat, this involves considering the different position of the back, knees, and legs. 

By inviting a more indepth level of thinking during this degree, it will influence the exercise programs you later provide for clients as a PT.

personal trainer online degree exercise programs

This is especially important for those hoping to work with populations who need greater attention during training such as the elderly or those with disabilities.

For those asking what degrees do you need as a personal trainer, this is a great option if you have an interest in both physics and fitness. 

Helping people reach their fitness goals by training in the most suitable way is a key part of being a personal trainer. 

As this degree is focused on treating clients as individuals with different needs, understanding how to reduce injury and improve performance at a scientific level is perfect for helping people find success with their own fitness journeys.


Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Prepare yourself for an exciting career in the fitness industry with our Level 3 Personal Training Course!

#6 - A Degree In Strength & Conditioning Is Great For Those Interested In Training Athletes

online personal training degree strength and conditioning

For those looking for personal training degree programs centred around improving athletes performance, a degree in strength and conditioning might be the one for you. 

This applies science and research to training as a way to improve athletic performance, as well as push the body to its maximum potential.

Strength and conditioning focuses on improving both mental and psychological performance. It also helps athletes with injury prevention as well as teaching mechanics with sports performance and increasing endurance.

When it comes to personal trainer degrees in the UK, strength and conditioning has similarities to biomechanics degrees we’ve already mentioned. This focus on how to increase endurance thereby improving sports performance is excellent knowledge for training future clients.

strength and conditioning degree

Strength and conditioning is heavily focused on physiology and psychology, finding different ways to change athletes both physically and mentally to ensure they can train for longer and continue to push themselves.

This is great for those eventually completing personal training courses. While this may be on a smaller, less ambitious scale when it comes to ordinary people looking to improve their fitness, understanding how to help these people work towards goals and push themselves is crucial.

A degree such as this will help students understand how to improve athletes:

  • Speed
  • Endurance
  • Muscle size
  • Posture 

Knowing how to do this on a larger scale during a degree program for people whose career is centred around fitness means you’ll be more than knowledgeable when it comes to helping ordinary people reach their own goals.

Before You Go!

As you can see, there are plenty of options to further your education and point you in the right direction towards securing your dream career.

Before choosing to continue your academic education, check out our range of personal trainer coursesThe Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training is necessary for you to work as a PT, meaning you should complete this in addition to your chosen degree!

Find out more about what we have to offer by downloading our course prospectus or leave your details below.

Written by James Brady

Fitness Writer & Enthusiast

James graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. His desire to find a place where he could combine his passion for writing and love of fitness is what brought him to OriGym. He believes his passion for daily exercise, especially running, is imperative in keeping him motivated and productive. As a result, he has a particular interest in the psychology of health and fitness and the relationship between physical and mental health. Outside of work, James enjoys reading, swimming, writing short stories, watching classic movies and has a keen interest in journalism and filmmaking.

Recommended Posts

What Does a Personal Training Course Involve?

What Does a Personal Training Course Involve? 

Before qualifying, you'll want to know 'what does a personal training course involve?'. To explain these qualifications in greater detail, t …
How to Become a Personal Trainer in 6 Steps

How to Become a Personal Trainer in 6 Steps 

Contents:Step 1: Qualify as a Personal TrainerStep 2: Finding The Right PT Course Step 3: Map Out Your PT Career PathStep 4: …
Best Personal Training Courses in the UK

Best Personal Training Courses in the UK 

In this article, we compare the best personal training courses in the UK looking at key criteria such as accreditations, the quality of …

Download Our Guide to Starting an Online PT Business From Home

Download Our Guide to Starting an Online PT Business From Home