How Often Do You Have To Renew Your Personal Training Certification

How Often Do You Have To Renew Your PT Certification?

Regardless of whether you’re a newcomer or seasoned expert, it’s natural you’d wonder ‘do you have to renew your personal training certification?’.

We’ll explain everything you need to know, including:

But first, if you’d like to gain your personal training certification, you can get started by enrolling on our Personal Trainer DiplomaThis will help to provide you with advanced skills and knowledge required to attract a specialised group of clients. 

Alternatively, download a FREE prospectus to learn more about the courses we offer at OriGym!


Do You Need to Renew Your Personal Training Certification in the UK? 

To be immediately clear, you don’t need to renew a personal training certificate in the UK.

This is because vocational training in the UK is set and regulated by Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation).

This ensures a level of standardisation among all Level 3 Personal Training courses across the UK, and guarantees that each qualification, regardless of provider, adheres to Ofqual's regulations.

Once a course is approved by the regulating body, Ofqual will then be able to dictate: 

  • The course curriculum schedule
  • What is taught on the qualification 
  • How this information is taught

This means that every PT qualification provider in the UK, ourselves included, will teach the same approved curriculum, consisting of modules such as: 

  • Anatomy, physiology and kinesiology for exercise and health
  • Principles of health and wellbeing for exercise, fitness and health
  • Applying nutritional principles to personal training
  • Programming personal training sessions
  • Delivering exercise programmes for personal training sessions

Upon completing all of these modules and graduating from their respective course, every personal trainer in the UK will have the same qualification.

What will differ, though, is how the course is delivered from provider to provider. For example, at OriGym, some of the aspects that set us apart from competitors include:

  • 7 days a week support from our Tutor support team
  • Access to our award-nominated e-learning platform 
  • Free resits on examinations
  • Option to study full-time, part-time, or online 
  • Post course career support 

All regulators of PT courses in the UK are listed on Ofqual’s official register. This register naturally includes OriGym’s regulator, which can be seen below listed as a ‘Focus Awards Level 3 Diploma Specialist in Gym Instructing and Personal Training (RQF).

You will not be required to renew ANY personal training certificate that’s listed on this register. However, there are two scenarios where this could change. Let's explore these briefly now, and why they're highly unlikely:

  • If Ofqual goes out of business - Ofqual is a branch of the government, and receives substantial funding and support every year. They regulate all qualifications (including GCSEs, A Levels, and Degree-level courses), and are exceptionally unlikely to be scrapped or underfunded to the point of collapse.
  • If Ofqual adds in "refreshment" measures - This would mean that PTs would be required to complete refresher courses. Because Ofqual bases the curriculum on fundamentals that never change (like key exercises, and how exercise affects the body), it's extremely unlikely you'll ever have to update or refresh your understanding of these concepts.

The easiest way to think about the reasoning behind not having to renew your personal training certificate is to think of it in the same way as a driving licence.

Although the content of lessons and tests may change over time, the fundamentals of driving consistently remain the same, and are set out by the DVLA.

Similarly, once you have obtained your Ofqual approved Level 3 PT qualification, the fundamentals of teaching clients will never change, which is why you’ll never have to renew.

Another factor which contributes to this is that Ofqual is the main regulating body in the UK.

This means that your qualification will always be recognised as a legitimate certification, and won’t be called into question by another individual or third party.

However, this isn’t the case worldwide, and if you have a non-UK certification, you’ll need to abide by different rules.

Do Non UK-Based Personal Training Certifications Expire?

When searching questions such as ‘how often do you have to renew your personal training certification?’, you will likely be met with resources from other countries that use something called Continued Education Credits (CECs).

This simply means that those who studied in this country will need to renew their personal training qualification, or attend refresher courses.

These courses will be the deciding factor in how many CECs they obtain, with providers requiring their graduates to obtain a specific amount in order to renew their qualification.

For example, The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) state:

The CPR/AED certification alone requires holders to pay $45 in order to attend the refresher classes every 2 years. On top of this, the CEC sessions can range in price from $329 - $2,999 with topics such as:

  • Wellness Coaching
  • Sports Nutrition Certification
  • Virtual Coach Specialisation 

This obviously differs from course providers in the UK, who don’t require you to attend mandatory renewal sessions.

Instead, qualifications in the UK (such as a Level 4 nutrition course) will be viewed as an advanced certification, which is entirely optional. 

But why is this process so different from the personal training course providers in the UK?

The answer is straightforward. In countries such as America, there are no independent regulating bodies akin to Ofqual

This means that the provider is solely in charge of dictating aspects of their course, such as:

  • What modules are included in the course
  • How the subjects are taught 
  • Whether graduates need to renew or attend refresher courses
  • The number of CECs clients need to obtain

This means that no two courses are the same, with the final qualification graduates receive also varying from one to the other. 

To highlight this lack of regulation, let’s look at two of the main course providers in the US.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)

The NASM curriculum is made up of modules such as:

  • Professional development and responsibility
  • Client relations and behavioural coaching
  • Basic and applied sciences and nutritional concepts
  • Exercise technique and training instruction

In total, applicants will have to pay $699 to enrol on the course along with the aforementioned fees of:

  • $45 for a refresher course 
  • $329 - $2,999 for multiple CEC sessions

These fees are non-negotiable and must be paid in order to renew a US personal training qualification.

On average, this process takes a total of 15 weeks to complete, but NASM will only give students 180 days to pass. Should they fail and pass this time limit, they will need to pay for re-enrolment.


American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

ACSM’s approach to qualifying students as personal trainers immediately highlights the lack of general regulation within American course providers.

Instead of providing a full course, ACSM simply charges clients for the exam itself ($279 - $349) -  there is no direct teaching involved in this course

The rest of the process is largely up to the students themselves, as they will be placed in charge of creating their own study guide.

These guides will be created from ACSM’s materials, which the students will also have to pay for. The recommended reading alone is made up of 8 books, the most expensive of which will cost $90.

Whilst the ACSM course itself may be cheaper, these additional fees can see you paying just as much in total.

Another key difference is that student’s on ACSM will also have no specific time restrictions placed on them for completing their assessments. Instead, they will pay for the test whenever they feel prepared for it. 

To renew this personal training qualification, you will need to retake the ACSM exam after 3 years. In addition to this, you will be required to earn a total of 45 CEC points by:

  • Attending The ACSM Summit
  • Attending Regional Chapter Meetings
  • Logging On To ACSM ceOnline

As you can see, there are no real similarities between the two American courses that have been discussed. This is why there is so much confusion regarding questions such as ‘how often do you have to renew your personal training certification?’. 

This lack of regulation means that every course can drastically differ from one to the other. 

This could lead to a variety of further complications, such as a particular provider's approach being called into question, or refused altogether when applying for a job.

Overall, we can say that the UK’s approach to regulating personal training courses is more efficient and prompts standardised results across the board.  

Studying outside of the UK could also mean that you’re paying more money for the rest of your career, as you will need to consistently attend refresher courses and pay for additional CEC classes.

- - - -

When questioning ‘Do You Need to Renew Your Personal Training Certificate’ these other OriGym articles will be of interest to you:

Will I Need To Renew My Personal Training Certificate If My Provider Goes Out Of Business?

With so much misinformation online, you need to be careful when researching any topic related to your qualification, especially if you’re asking ‘do you need to renew your personal training certification if your provider goes out of business?’.

For complete clarity, if you hold an Ofqual-regulated personal training qualification you will never need to renew, even if your provider goes out of business.

Again, this is because the Level 3 personal training qualification has been regulated by Ofqual - the provider of your course just offers you the opportunity to learn.

Let’s again relate this process back to having a driver's licence. If the instructor who conducted your test suddenly changes career or retires, this does not invalidate the licence.  

Once you have been certified by the DVLA to drive, this approval is for life, and that same principle applies to a personal training certificate.

Should your providers go out of business you will still be legally and professionally recognised as a personal trainer. The only thing that will change is that you won’t be able to go to the same provider for further training.

How Can I Continue My Personal Training Education?

In the UK any form of training beyond your Level 3 PT certificate is optional rather than compulsory.  

Whilst you’re under no obligation to take advanced training, it can be incredibly beneficial for your professional development as a personal trainer. 

These courses will provide you with new skills and knowledge that can then be used to attract new clients, and diversify what you offer existing ones .

Advanced training will also allow you to earn more money as a personal trainer, as you will be able to charge clients a higher price in order to access this advanced form of training.

By taking these advanced courses you’re able to build upon your existing knowledge, whilst simultaneously being recognised as a more experienced trainer.

Please be aware that all of OriGym courses have been regulated by Ofqual, meaning that you won’t have to renew any of the training we provide. But what advanced courses should you consider enrolling on? 

#1 - Advance Your Education With A Level 4 Nutrition Course

On an advanced Level 4 Nutrition course, you will develop an understanding of the role a healthy diet plays in fitness. 

Through the completion of this qualification you will learn how to craft meal plans that help to facilitate the needs and goals of a diverse group of clients.

With this certification, you’ll explore complex topics and develop your expertise on key areas that include:

  • Macros and Micros 
  • Nutrition Legislation  
  • The Relationship Between Nutrition and Physical Fitness 
  • Sports and Exercise Nutrition for Athletes
  • Meal Prep and Planning

This qualification can help you to generate a higher income as you can charge your personal training clients more to receive a bespoke meal plan. 

A great example of how this can be implemented seamlessly comes from KT Fitness & Nutrition:

Here we can see that the providers of this PT course only charge £30 for training sessions, then increase the price to £50 for the inclusion of a daily meal plan

You can follow this approach, amending it to suit your business, while still offering customers different packages to suit their needs and budget.


#2 - Supplement Your Services With A Level 3 Sports Massage Qualification 

Completing a Level 3 Sports Massage qualification will open up an additional revenue stream as a personal trainer.

Similar to the nutritional course, this will allow you to offer your clients additional service that you can charge a higher price for.

On this course you will cover a variety of modules, such as: 

  • Anatomy & Physiology for Sports Massage Therapy
  • The Principles of Exercise, Health and Fitness
  • Understand the Principles of Soft Tissue Dysfunction
  • Professional Practice in Sports Massage
  • Sports Massage Treatments

These modules will equip you with vital skills that will assist in offering treatment to injured clients.

Typically, clients who suffer from a sports related injury will be unable to train for a designated period of time. 

This could result in a loss of income, but if you have an SMT qualification, you will be able to move the injured client onto a treatment programme to reduce the financial impact.

In doing so, you can ensure that your clients remain in your service even during times they’re not able to physically train. As a result, they will still be able to keep interacting with you during a period in which they’d otherwise have no contact.

Throughout this process you will strengthen the relationship with your clients, increasing the likelihood of them staying within your service for long periods of time. 

To understand how this advanced qualification can benefit you financially, let’s look at LMC Physio & Fitness, and how they combine SMT with personal training:

They then supplement these prices with similar rates for their personal training services:

If you charged a similar price to the example given above - e.g. £47 for both treatments, then you would not be out of pocket should a client become incapable of training, and instead require SMT.

You would also be able to double your overall profit to £94.00, should a client wish to combine both PT and SMT programmes.

#3 - Expand Your Services with a Level 4 Lower Back Pain Course

Lower back pain course - renew personal training certification

Gaining qualifications in areas such as Level 4 Lower Back Pain is important for continuing your education and attracting more clients. Many people who are recovering from injuries or suffering from debilitating conditions will seek fitness professionals with qualifications such as these.

On this course, you will study modules such as:

  • Identifying types of lower back pain
  • How lower back pain develops
  • Planning and delivering exercises for clients with lower back pain

By developing these skills, you’ll play a vital role in how your client manages their pain, crucial for the recovery process.

Specialist training also allows you to charge your clients a higher price per month. This is especially important if your competitors don’t offer this specific service, as potential clients will be willing to pay more for the unique opportunity.

You can continue providing your clients with specialised services by gaining qualifications in Level 4 Obesity & Weight Management Control or Level 3 Exercise Referral. Once again, this is a great way to continue expanding your skills & knowledge, allowing you to attract a wider range of clients by offering in demand services.


Before You Go! 

You now have a better understanding of why you don’t need to renew a personal training qualification in the UK.

This doesn’t mean that your professional career needs to remain stagnant, as there are plenty of professional qualifications that allow you to qualify as a personal trainer. Gain your personal training certification with our Personal Trainer Diploma and acquire a unique set of skills to attract clients.

You can also download OriGym’s course prospectus for FREE to learn more about everything we offer.


Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym

Gain your personal training certification by enrolling on our Personal Trainer Diploma!

Written by James Bickerstaff

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

James holds a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Film Studies and has recently gained a MA degree in Film, both of which he attained from Liverpool John Moores University. After taking up the couch to 5K challenge on a whim, James found a new passion for running, which he combines with his love for healthy cooking and writing. All of this led him to becoming a copywriter for OriGym.  

When he is not writing content for the site, James can be found researching new recipes, writing music reviews, reading and watching latest film releases.   

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