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What Qualifications Do You Need to Work in a Gym?

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If you want to work in a fitness facility, you might be wondering ‘what qualifications do you need to work in a gym?’

Well, there are many positions available in a gym each requiring different levels of qualification, so we'll be covering:

Before we start, if you want to work as an instructor in a gym then the best qualification you can get is a Diploma in Personal Training which combines a Level 2 Fitness Instructor and a Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification.

We’ll cover the details of this later in the article but for now you can download and browse our free course prospectus to see the range of personal training courses we offer.

Can I Work in a Gym With No Qualifications?

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Before we dive into some of the specific fitness roles, do you always need qualifications to work in a gym?

The answer is no, not if you’re interested in just being in a fitness environment rather than working with clients or class members.

In fact, most positions will just require you to have an English and Maths GCSE in order to apply.

There’s a few roles that you can take as long as you have basic administrative experience and good written and verbal communication skills.

Examples of roles available in the gym, that don’t require any fitness-related qualifications, include:

  • Gym receptionist
  • Gym cleaner

The receptionist will mostly complete the following tasks throughout the day:

  • Greeting visitors to the gym
  • Organising bookings for classes and sessions
  • Using software to manage memberships

There will sometimes be additional responsibilities related to social media and working towards upselling membership packages.

Here’s an example of some typical responsibilities of a gym receptionist:

reception role what qualifications do i need to work in a gym image

As stated, the only qualifications you’ll be asked for for roles like these will be a GCSE in English and Maths.

This is mainly to ensure you’ll be confident managing payment records and to ensure you have competent communication skills for such an outward facing role.

For the cleaning role you won’t be asked for any formal qualification, just the appropriate skills:

cleaner what qualifications do you need too work in a gym image

As you can see, the only formal thing you’ll need is a valid right to work if you’re not a UK national. 

Different Qualifications You'll Need for Different Roles in a Gym

There are a variety of roles within a gym that each require different qualifications to be obtained before you can be employed in these positions. 

We’ll go through the fundamental roles you can fulfil in a gym and cover the relevant qualifications you’ll need for each one!

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Fitness Instructor? 

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If you want to get a job as a fitness instructor in a gym, then you must be qualified with a Level 2 Fitness Instructor course, as it’s a legal requirement for the role.

The main parts of the fitness instructor job description are:

  • Teaching a range of different fitness classes
  • Helping people with equipment on the gym floor
  • Completing gym inductions

When you’re selecting a course, you need to ensure that it’s CIMSPA-endorsed this means that the course content is certifiable of high quality by a nationally recognised organisation whose responsibility is to maintain high standards of teaching within the fitness sector.

You also need to ensure that the course is Ofqual regulated. 

Ofqual are responsible for regulating courses across all providers in the UK to ensure that the actual content is consistent, so no matter where you choose to study, you’ll still cover the same modules with a basic Level 2 Fitness Instructor course in this case across the board. 

As you can see below, all fitness instructor positions will want you to have at least a Level 2 qualification:

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This is the baseline qualification required for all fitness related roles in a gym, as it serves as a necessary foundation for additional qualifications required for other positions, such as becoming a personal trainer.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Work in a Gym as a Personal Trainer?

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If you want to work one-on-one with clients you’ll need to complete a Level 3 Personal Trainer course after you’ve qualified as a Level 2 Fitness Instructor.

As you can see, this qualification is a requirement to become employed as a personal trainer in a gym: 

what qualifications do you need to work in a gym

This is because this role is more advanced than the Level 2 Fitness Instructor as you’ll have individual clients you work with, designing a bespoke fitness programme for them.

This will include an exercise programme, overseen by yourself, and nutritional advice depending on how in-depth the programme is. 

Just like with the Fitness Instructor course, you’ll need to make sure that whichever course you choose is endorsed by CIMSPA and Ofqual regulated. 

As stated, you need to have completed a Level 2 as an entry requirement to this course, but you can combine the two with a diploma in personal training

So, if you came here to find out what qualifications do you need to work in a gym as a fitness professional, combining these two courses will save you money and get you working as soon as possible!

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Kickstart your fitness career now with our Personal Trainer Diploma.

What Qualifications Do You Need for a Gym Manager Position?

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If you want to become a gym manager, this is something you’ll progress to once you’ve gained experience as a PT and have worked in a gym environment for a while.

Most positions will require you to have completed at least a Level 2 Fitness Instructor course, with a Level 3 as ‘desirable’.

On top of this, however, you’ll need to have some business understanding and experience in a managerial position handling sales, as these skills directly translate into some of the key gym manager roles:

sales targets what qualifications do you need to work in a gym image

This is why a course like our personal training business course will help you develop some of the key skills needed for these roles. Whilst this course isn’t a requirement for the position, it can certainly give applicants a major advantage in the application process.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Teach Yoga at a Gym?

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For this role, you don’t need the foundational Level 2 Fitness Instructor qualification- you can just jump straight into Level 3 yoga with no prior entry requirements.

A Level 3 Yoga Qualification like ours will give you all of the foundational knowledge and skills that you’ll need to get employed as a yoga teacher in a gym.

Though this isn’t an absolute necessity for working in a gym as a holistic instructor, it will give you the edge with employers, as they’re very unlikely to consider a candidate without a qualification over somebody who is qualified.

For example, this personal trainer position asks you to have yoga experience:

need yoga what qualifications do you need to work in a gym image

So, if you want to become a yoga teacher you could give yourself an enormous advantage when applying for roles as both a PT and a gym instructor.

If you want to specialise as a yoga teacher, in particular yoga styles, you can develop your skills with a Level 4 Yoga Teacher Training course.

With a course like ours you would deepen your understanding of the history of yoga and its philosophy, as well as being given the opportunity to specialise in one of the following yoga styles:

  • Hatha
  • Ashtanga
  • Iyengar
  • Hot

You’ll need to have completed a Level 3 Yoga course to be eligible for this one as you’ll be building on those fundamentals you learned.

It’s more common for yoga studios to ask for these qualifications, and familiarity with different styles, but higher-end gyms will also ask for you to have a specialisation.

Hot yoga in particular has become popular in gyms as a more fitness focused style.

As you can see, more specialised and boutique gyms such as David Lloyds will ask you to be familiar with particular styles:

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So, if you want to know what qualifications do you need to work in a gym like this, offering more specialised services, you should complete a course like our Level 4.

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If this is a helpful read, why not check out our other articles to land your ideal job? 

Additional Qualifications to Consider for Working in a Gym

What other qualifications do you need to work in a gym? There’s quite a few that will be holistically useful, no matter what the position is that you’re going for.

Though some of these aren’t a necessity they will often give you the edge over other applicants and help you to secure a role within a gym. 

We’ll look at these in more detail now so you know which roles specifically you can apply for with these qualifications.

Completing a First Aid Qualification is Desirable for Most Positions in a Gym

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If you’re wondering ‘what other qualifications do I need to work in a gym’, the most important additional one you should complete is a first aid course. 

You can imagine this course only being essential for a PT or fitness instructor, but even if you’re working as a receptionist, many gyms will ask their staff to have completed a basic first course:

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There’s a few different providers but the most recognised and popular are St. John’s Ambulance and The British Red Cross.

The most basic qualification is an Emergency First Aid at Work course. It’s a one day course and it’s valid for three years covering:

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This is important for most roles in a gym because there’s a lot of health and safety risks. If you’re working in a class you may have to assist somebody in a number of medical situations including fainting or tripping on equipment.

First Aid for personal trainers is important because you’ll be working one-to-one and so it’s your responsibility to help somebody if they become ill or injured during training. 

 

Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Kickstart your fitness career now with our Personal Trainer Diploma.

Gyms May Also Ask for a Swimming Safety/Pool Responder Qualification

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As well as the first aid qualification, what other qualifications might be helpful to work in a gym?

Another qualification that will be asked for in some different roles is a pool responder or pool safety qualification:

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There are two different types of qualification you can get. You can either get an NPLQ (a National Pool Lifeguard Qualification) or a standard pool responder qualification, depending on the role you’re applying for. 

For both you’ll be expected to be able to swim for a certain amount of time and be able to surface dive to be eligible for the course.

The NPLQ is a step up from the standard pool safety qualification however, and for higher-up positions you’ll need to be able to do the following:

  • Swim 50m in less than a minute
  • Swim 100m on your front without stopping and the same on your back
  • Tread deep water for over 30 seconds
  • Surface dive into the deepest part of the pool
  • Climb out of the pool without any assistance 

Similar to the first aid qualification most facilities with a pool will ask for these qualifications to ensure that, whoever gets there first, if there’s an emergency then all staff are trained to help.

Of course, this will only be asked for in facilities with a pool, meaning it will mostly be health clubs that ask for these qualifications in their job advertisements. 

So, whatever position you hold, you should invest in one of these qualifications to be eligible for work in advanced fitness facilities. 

You’ll Need Les Mills Qualifications to Teach Certain Gym Classes

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There’s several popular classes in the gym you’ll be familiar with that require a specific Les Mills qualification to teach- these cannot be taught with a Level 2 fitness instructor qualification alone.

These classes include:

  • BodyCombat
  • BodyPump
  • BodyBalance
  • Les Mills Barre

If you want to become a Les Mills instructor you’ll need a separate qualification for each individual class that you want to teach. 

This will often be listed explicitly by title in a job application, like with this one below:

les mills working in a gym what qualifications do i need image

However, plenty of gyms will have their in-house version that doesn’t need an official Les Mills qualification.

For example, Pure Gym have their own version of BodyPump just called ‘Pump’:

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With gyms where this is the case you would only need your fitness instructor qualification to teach these classes.

Before You Go!

Hopefully now we’ve answered ‘what qualifications do you need to work in a gym’ and you know exactly which ones you’ll need and where to find the best options!

Don’t forget, gyms will want you to have at least your Level 2 Fitness Instructor qualification with most asking for you to at least be working through a Level 3 Personal Trainer courseHowever, you can combine both with our Personal Training Diploma to get everything you need and save money in the process.  

You can find all of our other personal trainer courses here or find out more by downloading our free course prospectus!

Written by Jessie Florence Jones

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Jessie has a 1st class honours degree in English Literature from University of Leeds and an MA in English Literature from Durham University. Naturally Jessie has a real passion for writing especially about film, culture and wellbeing. Outside of writing she loves hiking, country walks and yoga, which she has been doing religiously over lockdown.

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