How To Become A Trainee Fitness Instructor

trainee fitness instructor

If you've been looking to break into the booming fitness industry, you may be interested in becoming a trainee fitness instructor.

OriGym has curated this guide to give you all the information you could possibly need to get started!


If you’re set on taking the first steps of your career to eventually become a personal trainer, get started with OriGym’s industry-leading L2 Fitness Instructor qualification. We offer unlimited, 7-days-a-week support both during and after your course, as well as guaranteed post course interviews and a bespoke learning platform.


Take Your First Step Into The Fitness Industry With OriGym's Courses!

Start training as a qualified fitness instructor with OriGym's prestigious fitness instructor courses!

What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Trainee Fitness Instructor?

Before we fully dive in, it’s important to note that a trainee fitness instructor and an apprentice fitness instructor are the same things - it’s just a matter of semantics!

You become a trainee fitness instructor by observing and shadowing a fully qualified fitness instructor who has usually been teaching for at least two years. This allows you to experience and learn the roles of a gym instructor in an active environment.

Because this is an entry-level apprentice fitness instructor position, it offers a simple way to learn on the job whilst gaining practical experience.

A crucial piece of information to note at this point is that any trainee fitness instructor will be working towards, or have already completed, a Level 2 Gym Instructing course. This is the bare minimum necessary to work in any fitness setting.

You will also be expected to have a minimum level of GCSEs, for example, two or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) or equivalent. These are the same qualifications you need to apply for a Level 2 course.

The Skills You'll Need To Succeed As A Trainee Gym Instructor

how to train as a fitness instructor

We’ve just examined the roles of a trainee fitness instructor, as well as what you can expect to achieve, but it’s also important to be aware of the skills and traits that would make you an ideal candidate.

We’ve outlined a few of the key qualities you’ll need to possess to be a successful and forward-thinking beginner fitness instructor.

Successful Trainee Fitness Instructors Demonstrate Excellent Verbal Communication

Gym members are your business, so you need to understand them in order to succeed! You’ll need strong communication skills to build rapport and trust in order to help them reach their health and fitness goals. You also need to be able to motivate them when and where they need it.

Communication skills also go a long way in professional working relationships and marketing or recruitment efforts. Check out the job posting below that states ‘good written and communication skills are essential’.

trainee fitness jobs

The Best Apprentice Gym Instructor Is Reliable

This doesn’t just mean that you can be relied upon with your knowledge of form and posture corrections, but that you can keep appointments, be on time for work, and be organised and prepped for each day.

When you demonstrate reliability, you’re also showing your employer that you can be trusted to be a good representative of the gym when you do complete your fitness instructor apprenticeship. This job posting example below states a ‘dedicated approach to customer service’ is required.

trainee fitness instructor jobs

Punctuality Is Key For Your Fitness Instructor Apprenticeship

Punctuality is about more than just arriving on time; it also means that you familiarise yourself with the class schedule so that you can greet gym members before classes and build rapport.

It also means understanding your shift patterns so that you can effectively communicate with your colleagues and other trainee fitness instructors when something changes. For example, if you’re off sick, you know who to contact to fix the situation as soon as possible.

See the example below, which states that to be a reliable instructor, ‘punctuality is of the utmost importance’.

trainee gym instructor

Apprentice Fitness Instructor Jobs Require Empathy

Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a key skill for a trainee gym instructor, as it helps you to sense when a client is feeling frustrated, disappointed, or unmotivated. It gives you the self-awareness to realise that just because you find it easy to train and eat healthily whilst avoiding temptation, not everyone does!

Another element of empathy is understanding your client’s needs in the moment, whether it be some tough love, words of wisdom, or even a hug. All of this can make a massive difference to your client’s motivation and longevity. 

See the example below, which looks for someone who can ‘provide motivation and support to customers’.

trainee gym instructor jobs

You Need Patience To Thrive As A Trainee Gym Instructor

Often, gym members are in a rush to achieve visible results, but this means their patience can dwindle into frustration fairly quickly. It is, of course, completely natural for your class members to want to see results as quickly as possible.

But it’s your job as an apprentice gym instructor to bring some calm and patience back into the proceedings. Be prepared to constantly remind your members that gradual, sustainable improvement is what they should be aiming for.

Check out the example job listing below, which lists patience as a required skill for the fitness instructor role.

gym instructor apprenticeship

Where Can I Apply For A Fitness Instructor Apprenticeship?

Once you’ve got your CV sorted (remember, you can demonstrate the skills above from work experience at school or from an event that occurred), it’s time to start looking for and applying for trainee gym instructor jobs! 

There are a few ways to go about this, primarily by searching on job boards or government websites. Job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor are great places to start, as well as the National Careers Service.

apprentice gym instructor trainee

On job boards, you need to search for the term ‘trainee fitness instructor’ or ‘apprentice gym instructor’, and select the city or postcode where you are searching for open positions.

You have a number of other methods of refining your searches, such as the date posted, salary estimate, and education level.

how find trainee fitness instructor job

Once you've found a posting that fits what you're after, such as the above paid apprenticeship from Universal Fitness Fenton, it's as simple as clicking 'Apply Now'.

If you'd prefer to search on government websites such as GOV.UK, you’ll see a similar search system:

how find trainee gym instructor job

Use the same search terms as before, and select the maximum distance you’d be happy to travel to work. The GOV website even has an option for the apprenticeship gym instructor level you’re after, covering Intermediate, Advanced, Higher, and Degree, depending on your level of education.

trainee fitness instructor job post

Once you’ve found your ideal position, such as the above post from Bolton Arena for an Apprentice Health & Fitness Instructor, you’ll just need to sign in with your GOV account and apply.

How Much Do Trainee Fitness Instructors Get Paid?

junior gym instructor

Now that you know the skills you’ll need to gain a gym instructor apprenticeship and how to apply to your dream jobs, it’s time to dig into what you can expect to be paid.

Unfortunately, the answer may be a little disappointing, as fitness instructor apprenticeships (as with all apprenticeships) are capped by the National Minimum Wage.

This essentially means that the maximum rate per hour for those in their first year of being a trainee fitness instructor is £4.81, which cannot increase until after a year of being an apprentice fitness instructor.

After this first year, for those over the age of 23, this increases to be in line with the National Living Wage of £9.50. The table below explains how this increases incrementally as you get older, depending on your having completed the first year of your fitness instructor apprenticeship.

For instance, if you’re 19 after you’ve completed your first year as a trainee gym instructor, you’ll only be entitled to £6.83 per hour.

Compare this to the wage of a fitness instructor who qualified using a Level 2 Gym Instructor Course.

The average hourly wage for a fitness instructor, regardless of age, is £13.71. This wage can only increase, too, and you’ll be earning that amount immediately after you qualify, compared to the year of your apprenticeship, where you’ll only be earning £4.81.

This gulf in wage is often a deciding factor when it comes to choosing between a fitness instructor apprenticeship and completing a Level 2 Gym Instructor Training Course, but there are other points you might want to consider.

Once you have completed a Level 2 course, you can move away from the trainee fitness instructor jobs and search for jobs looking for a full qualification. Check out this job posting below that is offering £50,000 for a qualified fitness instructor.

fitness instructor jobs

Interested in learning more about the wages of a fitness instructor? OriGym’s comprehensive explanation of fitness instructor salaries fully explores what you’ll be earning and how you can earn even more.

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Once you’ve read this article, here are a couple more you might find useful:

What Alternatives Are There To A Gym Instructor Apprenticeship?

If apprentice fitness instructor jobs aren’t grabbing your attention, you can always look for different options. For example, you could gain a Level 2 Gym Instructor Course with a private training provider, such as ourselves. 

With this, you achieve the exact same level of qualification necessary to become a certified fitness instructor.

People often choose a fitness instructor course over a gym instructor apprenticeship because the entry requirements and the way you learn are very similar. There are no entry requirements beyond being aged 16 or over, and you’ll learn through practical elements.

Private training providers like OriGym even offer what is known as a Personal Trainer Diploma, which combines both the Level 2 Gym Instructor and Level 3 personal Trainer course within one qualification. This is particularly useful for those interested in broadening their services and increasing their annual salary.

There are a few key aspects of a Level 2 Gym Instructor course that make it better than a fitness instructor apprenticeship, the most obvious of which is wage.

As mentioned previously, you’ll be earning £4.81 per hour as an apprentice in the UK, which equates to an annual salary of just £8,300. Compare that to the average salary of a qualified fitness instructor which is £13.71 per hour, or £25,000 per annum.

Along with this massive wage boost, there are a myriad of other benefits, such as getting qualified quicker. A gym instructor apprenticeship can take anywhere from 15 to 24 months to complete, during which you’ll be on the apprentice wage.

Completing a Level 2 vocational gym instructor course is also much quicker than completing a fitness instructor apprenticeship. With numerous study methods available, you can be fully qualified in as little as:

  • Full-time students: 2 weeks
  • Part-time students: 6 weeks
  • Online students: 8 weeks

Another benefit of studying with a private training provider is that you’ll learn from industry experts that know the ins and outs of the industry. 

You’ll receive specialised training specific to the fitness industry as well as tons of useful resources that go beyond the bare minimum curriculum you may find in college.

Now that you know how to become a fitness instructor, there’s nothing stopping you! Get out there and start your new career!

Before You Go!

Whether you were looking for guidance on your future career, or were apprehensive about taking that first step into fitness, the aim with our guide was to clear up the misconceptions that often surround becoming a fitness instructor.

And regardless of whether you opt to become a trainee fitness instructor, or get started much quicker with our Level 2 gym instructor course, it’s important to choose the option that’s right for you.

Or if you’ve got your heart set on a lucrative fitness career, then the ideal option is OriGym’s L2 Fitness Instructor qualificationLearn more by downloading our FREE course prospectus!


Take Your First Step Into The Fitness Industry With OriGym's Courses!

Start training as a qualified fitness instructor with OriGym's prestigious fitness instructor courses!

Written by Chris Allsobrook


Chris is a former English teacher, turned content editor. He holds a first-class honours degree in English Language and Creative Writing from the University of Central Lancashire, before going on to complete his teacher training, and obtain a PGCE at Liverpool John Moore’s.

Chris is a keen runner and is currently undertaking both his fitness instructing and personal training qualifications here at OriGym. 

Outside of fitness, you’ll often find him gaming, watching the football, cooking, or spending time with his family.

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Become Fitness Instructor