What Qualifications Do I Need To Teach Fitness Classes?

what qualifications do I need to teach fitness classes

After searching for answers, we are here to answer your question - what qualifications do I need to teach fitness classes?

Not only will you find your answer here, but you’ll see exactly what qualifications can enhance your career and even where you can work. Jump to the most relevant area for you below, or start from the top with us:

Before we get straight to it, if you’re looking to get qualified to teach fitness classes, your first port of call should be with our CIMSPA-endorsed Personal Trainer Diploma. You can get qualified as both a fitness instructor and personal trainer in just 4 weeks!

Find this and many more health and fitness courses here in our downloadable prospectus.

Can You Teach Group Fitness Without a Certification?

What qualifications do I need to teach exercise classes?

The simple answer is no, you cannot teach group fitness classes without a certification. 

But why, you may ask?

The most obvious point is that a certification required to become a group fitness instructor and teach fitness classes educates you properly, meaning you’re much less likely to cause injury or misdirect others. 

Not only that, but you have no reason for a class to trust your teachings if you haven't even been through education.

However, it gets a little more serious than simply having no trust between yourself and the class goer. 

Insurance as a fitness professional is the most important thing about operating as a legitimate business or employee.

Certification to teach fitness classes 

So what has this got to do with you being qualified? Well, without certification, you simply will not be eligible for public liability or any kind of insurance that you need to have in order to practice as a fitness instructor.

So no insurance, and practising with no qualification, are two big no-nos. There are serious repercussions for those who are liable for a client and have no insurance, and the only way to protect yourself is to gain a recognised qualification and get insured. 

Plus, you will definitely struggle to find any gym that will hire you as a fitness instructor with no qualifications, let alone teach a class. 

So, there is your answer to your central question, but let’s now take a look at the courses you do need to teach so you don’t fall into the dangerous world of teaching fitness classes without certification!

Foundational Qualifications Needed To Teach Fitness Classes

Teaching fitness classes without certification

Now that you’re well aware that you certainly need a qualification, you’re probably wondering exactly what qualifications do I need to teach exercise classes?

The most popular approach to becoming certified with a recognised qualification is to opt for a level 2 in gym instructing.

Level 2 In Gym/Fitness Instructing

Can you teach group fitness without a certification

First and foremost, this is the recommended course for anybody whose ultimate goal is to teach fitness classes. 

This qualification is recognised by gyms in the UK and almost always what they require for you to be considered to work for them. 

You should remember that a Level 2 grants you the eligibility to teach classes but does not allow you to work 1 on 1 with clients

To be able to do this you would need to study a Level 3 in personal training. However, the things you can do on completion of a level 2 are:

This course doesn’t take a long time either, on average, full time students take 2 weeks of study and part-time students take 6-8 weeks. 

This is an average due to a variety of choices when it comes to study methods. You can study full-time which is intense learning over 2 weeks or you can take your time with an online course as you pace yourself. 

Whatever you choose, the education is still all the same, it is simply warped to fit what suits you best.

Level 2 in Exercise to Music

Can you teach group fitness without certification

Similar to a level 2 in fitness instructing, a course you should take to teach a fitness class is an exercise to music course (ETM).

Employers will often consider a Level 2 in Exercise to Music as an alternative to the more traditional Level 2 Gym Instructing qualification we've just discussed

This is because this course provides you with the opportunity to learn how to compliment your fitness classes with the right music choices and the technicalities of doing this correctly. 

This is still a level 2 course though, and so can be recognised by employers as a stand alone qualification if they're looking for fitness class instructors specifically. 

However, you may find that they also require a Level 2 in fitness instructing as well, depending on the job requirements for each role.

what qualifications do I need to teach gym classes

An ETM course with OriGym takes on average 8 weeks to complete, thanks to the blended learning approach that we mentioned earlier. This allows for freedom and flexibility around your current job or lifestyle so you can get qualified in your free time.

With a stand alone ETM qualification, you could not only potentially be hired by a company who has this course as their only requirement, but also, if you do decide to obtain a combination of both a level 2 in fitness instructing and the ETM course - you will be more than qualified for even more roles.

This way you would make for a very attractive candidate against other applicants who only have one qualification under their belt. 

Let's look at an example, take a look at this job ad below that is from David Loydd clubs, a giant in the gym industry!

Can you teach group fitness without a certification

As you can see, they clearly state that you need a Level 2 CIMSPA or Exercise to Music teaching qualification. 

The good news is, that with OriGym you will be qualified with a CIMSPA endorsed ETM qualification. 

We have spoken about the foundations of building a repertoire of recognised qualifications, so find out next about what CPD courses can expand your career prospects and ultimately, maximise your income.

CPD Qualifications That Can Expand Your Career Prospects

become a group fitness teacher

CPD courses, or continuous professional development courses, are exactly that - they make you as a professional a more valuable asset to any client or business.

Thus, if you’re looking up how to get certified to teach fitness classes, you have the basics, but these are the courses that show that you’re willing to go the extra mile and become the best in your sector. 

Here is an example of one course that will help you when it comes to teaching fitness classes!

Kettlebells CPD Qualification

what qualifications do i need to be a fitness class instructor

You’re likely to almost always find a kettlebell class in a commercial gym, it is a popular class with minimal equipment and maximum effort. This would pair seamlessly with a level 2 in gym instructing qualification and would make you stand out from those who only have the minimum requirements. 

For example, take a look at this job advertisement below for a fitness instructor.

best courses to be a class instructor fitness

As you can see, there are two parts of this job that may stand out to you after the qualifications that we have spoken about, these are:

  • Kettlebells
  • Gym instructor
  • Exercise to music

Along with other described qualifications like yoga, this encapsulates the requirements of a holistic fitness instructor and what is typically expected of you. 

It is an incredibly broad job role and, among your other responsibilities, it is likely that a kettlebell class will find its way onto your schedule.

This being said, a one-day course in kettlebell training is going to be advantageous. You should note however, that to enrol onto OriGym’s kettlebell CPD, you must first have a level 2 in gym instructing.

Within this CPD, you go through: 

  • History of Kettlebell Training
  • Kettlebell Movements
  • Planes of Motion and Lifting Styles
  • Observational Assessment

This is something we would certainly recommend for instructors, it will prepare you for job roles and to be well informed for teaching the classes. 

- - - -

For more useful information on qualifications to make you the best in the business, read our articles below!


Get Qualified with OriGym!

Enquire now about our Personal Trainer Diploma and qualify as both a fitness instructor & personal trainer.

Qualifications Needed to Teach Les Mills Fitness Classes

certificates needed to be a class fitness instructor

If you are looking to become a fitness class teacher, you may have heard of Les Mills. So, are you wondering - can you teach group fitness without a certification in Les Mills? Allow us to explain.

Les Mills classes are popular, they are in a nutshell, a choreographed routine that is practised internationally and all have varied themes. However, in order to place the Les Mills trademark on your classes you must obtain a Les Mills qualification.

Below, you can see all of the branded classes that you can take in order to call yourself a Les Mills instructor.

What qualifications do I need to teach exercise classes?

With over 15 different classes to choose from, you’re probably wondering where to start. The thing is, that with Les Mills qualifications, you have to qualify separately for each type of class, so you’re going to have to prioritise which ones are going to be your first courses. 

This can be a pretty easy condition to meet considering the most popular classes are pretty obvious. 

Body Pump and Combat are hugely popular in many commercial gyms and private ones alike.

certifications needed for fitness classes

Though there are no qualifications required to get onto the course, you will need a level 2 fitness instruction as a minimum to work in most gyms so, regardless of the course you choose, you will have to do the two courses at some point to actually put your education into practice. 

The courses cost depend on where you live, for example in the US, the basic registration cost is $299.

So though they aren’t hugely expensive, it is dependent on how many courses that you want to have under your belt - of course, the more the merrier!

Below, we have taken a section from a job advertisement looking for a Les Mills Body Pump instructor, a widely popular class.

What qualifications do I need to teach exercise classes?

As you can see, the requirements state that you must be qualified in Les Mills Body Pump, but also have fitness qualifications, which are essential.

he same is true for this advertisement for a BodyCombat instructor, which requires to possess both a Level 2 Gym Instructing qualification, and the specific BodyCombat certification

Below, you can see the same goes for a BodyCombat job role, the specifications are the same.

What qualifications do I need to do exercise classes

Though they don’t specify, it is likely that you’re going to need either a diploma in personal training or a level 2 in gym instruction as standard. 

Getting trained as a Les Mills instructor is one way that will maximise your salary and make you an extremely valuable asset to any gym that is wanting to advertise that they offer these trademarked classes.

Where Can You Work With a Certification to Teach Fitness Classes?

best courses to become a class fitness instructor

So, your question of what qualifications do I need to teach exercise classes? has been answered, whether it is in a gym, freelance or as a Les Mills instructor you know that yes, certifications are most definitely necessary! 

So now you know what course or courses to take, let’s see where you can put these into practice.  These are the most popular and secure career paths you can take as a fitness class instructor and what you can expect to earn.


Freelance Fitness Class Instructor

what training do i need to teach fitness classes

One of the most attractive things about a career in fitness is that freelance working and being your own boss is the most popular way to earn income. 

It allows for you to have an uncapped earning while being completely in control of your schedule and prices. Wanting to become a fitness class instructor, you may think that you have to be hired to take charge of a class with clients waiting for you, but this doesn't have to be the case.

If you wish, you could have multiple classes to teach throughout your work week. Plus, this is a really popular approach that gyms take to hiring class instructors. For example, a gym may only need an instructor for one circuit class a week, you could fill this spot.

So, you could have 7 different classes in 7 different gyms across 7 days a week if you wanted to! 

Being freelance can often be seen as insecure, when you compare it to a commercial gym, but having multiple revenue streams is a great way to find security in your freelance career.

Take a look at this job advertisement below and how you could fit the requirements if you chose a freelance career path.

how to be a freelance class fitness instructor

This is a good example of how organisations hire on a freelance basis, they tell you which classes you would need to teach and the frequency or dates you would be teaching them.

Plus, you can find the hourly rate that you would be paid. You wouldn’t find salaries on this kind of role, as the amount of hours you work is likely to fluctuate week on week. 

You could potentially apply for multiple job openings like this one and plan your schedule between different businesses. 

For example, maybe Monday - Tuesday you have free time for one or two gyms. Then, Wednesday - Saturday you dedicate to another lot of gyms. 

Whatever you decide to do, as long as you organise your time wisely, it is very much possible to have more than one revenue stream and earn a healthy income.

Working For A Commercial Or Private Gym

certificates needed to be a fitness class instructor

Another popular option in working as a fitness class instructor is working in a gym, hired as a class instructor. Also, if you want to be hired in a gym, it might be worth getting qualified as a personal trainer so that you have the ability to teach classes and in your free time away from class, train clients one to one, let’s find out how the two differ.

Working For A Commercial Gym 

Personal training in a gym is a great way to find private clients, as if they are a fan of your class, they may just trust you to be their personal trainer.

There are two kinds of gyms, your local private gym that may have a small capacity, or your big commercial gyms like PureGym or JD Gyms. 

Take a look at this job advertisement from PureGym for a fitness instructor below:

what training do i need to teach fitness classes

As you can see, they only offer this role to those who are actively working towards their level 3 in personal training

This is because like many big gyms, you won’t be hired to solely teach classes - you would be expected to dedicate any working hours you’re obliged to do as a personal trainer, to teaching scheduled classes. 

So if your ultimate goal is to personal train clients alongside teaching, this is a great opportunity as you can do both and maximise your income all the while.

Working for a Private Gym 

Similarly, working for a private gym can see you be successful in teaching classes as your sole purpose in the gym. 

Private gyms are run independently so you are hired to teach classes, and classes alone - for example, take a look at this advertisement for a job below that is hiring on the basis of specific classes. 

what training do i need to teach fitness classes

As you can see, this gym is hiring on an hourly basis and for two classes. Plus, they have the requirements of a level 2 qualification in either:

This just goes to reiterate how versatile this job role is, you should expect to be teaching various classes so the more you know, the better you will perform and in turn, the more you will earn!

Before You Go!

By now, you should know which course is your go-to, with so many directions to go in, you ultimately have a wide scope for choice when it comes to where to start. 

Nonetheless, following this guide will see you on your way to success and you will be more than qualified to teach in whichever environment you wish. 

If you want to start off on the right foot, the best way to do this is with our Personal Trainer Diploma. Depending on how you study, you can be qualified as a fitness instructor and personal trainer in 4 weeks!

If you’re looking for more information on the plethora of health and fitness courses that are on offer here at OriGym, download our prospectus now!

Written by Kimberley Mitchell


Having gained a B.A Hons degree in Media, Culture and Communications, Kimberley has gained experience in areas of web journalism, website production and marketing.

Alongside this, Kim expanded her knowledge and passion for fitness, by becoming a fully qualified fitness instructuor and personal trainer. Kim has also gained specialist qualifications in yoga, nutriton, spin and many more.

After working in the industry as a PT, Kimberley went on to study an MA in Digital Marketing and continues to expand her knowledge in the industry. Her main focus is to keep up with current trends and communications with a focus around health & fitness, writing and being creative.

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