How to Become a Personal Trainer

7 Steps to Becoming a Personal Trainer

Changing careers can be daunting and with so much information out there, it can be overwhelming and difficult to know exactly where to begin. We have therefore put together this guide which details the seven steps to becoming a Personal Trainer. It requires a combination of the right qualifications along with a passion for fitness, amongst other things. Rest assured though, once you complete a Fitness Industry Education personal trainer course, you'll be ready to commence your amazing career in the fitness industry.

The seven steps to becoming a personal trainer include:

  • Step 1: Think & Plan
  • Step 2: Research
  • Step 3: Get qualified
  • Step 4: Get insurance
  • Step 5: Gain experience
  • Step 6: Seek employment
  • Step 7: Build your client base

Step 1: Think & Plan

While you may have already decided to become a personal trainer, the first thing you should do is think about a few of the following things:

  1. Who do you want to train? Think about the type of client you would like to train. Are you wanting to train people who have the main goal of losing weight, or would you prefer to train someone looking to compete in competitions such as body building or physique competitions? Knowing this information will help you decide on the best personal trainer course package.
  2. Where will you train your clients? You will want to make sure where you train your clients have the equipment suitable for the type of training you'll do with your clients. For example, if you want to do Strength & Conditioning style training, you'll need to make sure you have access to an Olympic Lifting platform.
  3. Will you want to give nutritional advice? Fitness & nutrition go hand-in-hand. While most personal trainer courses include a small element of nutrition, if you want to offer nutritional advise to your clients, you may want to consider doing a more in-depth nutrition based course, such as body fx.
  4. Are there any other services you'd like to offer your clients? On the basic personal trainer course, you'll learn how to design and deliver general resistance & cardiovascular programmes to your clients. If you you'd like to offer things like HIIT Training or Strength & Conditioning programmes, you may need to do additional courses or look for a package course such as our Specialist or Master Diploma, which includes several other units beyond the basic PT qualification.
  5. What will you charge? Personal trainers can earn greatly varied amounts depending on where their based and the qualifications they have. PTs working in Central London tend to charge more than those is less populated areas, but not always. Your earning potential will also depend on your experience and qualifications. Therefore, if you'd like to charge more, you'll need to consider a course that includes more recognised qualifications and be willing to study more once you've gained your initial personal trainer certificate.
  6. How many sessions per week do you need to do to earn a good living? Now you know how much you will charge your clients you can calculate how many sessions you'll need to do per week/per month in order to earn enough to be happy with. And don't forget, HMRC will get their cut.

Armed with this information, you'll then be able to start your research into the courses and qualifications you'll need.

Step 2: Research

Now you have a plan, it's time to implement it. In step 3, you "get qualified". Therefore in step 2, you need to research the best possible course that's going to meet the needs of your plan. The personal trainer course you choose should meet all the needs of your plan, or at least put you on the right path.

When researching the best course for you, also consider:

  1. Face-to-face/In-person learning Vs Distance Study Vs Live Virtual: The option you choose will depend on both how you learn best and accessibility to locations/venues. If you prefer face-to-face learning, is there a venue near you? If not, then Live Virtual may be a better option as it has the best of both worlds, face-to-face learning with a tutor, but done from the comfort of your own home with no travel.
  2. Full time Vs part time Vs evening: If you are looking to attend i.e. not distance study, then think about the time you have available and the date you've set for course completion. Are you able to take time off work, Monday to Friday? Full time can be intense, but you will complete the course in the shortest possible time. If you can't get time off, then a part-time Saturday or Sunday course may work better with your commitments. If you don't want to interrupt your weekends, then maybe a part-time evening course would work better. 
In-person, Distance, Zoom-based study options available on all Fitness Industry Education courses
In-person, Distance, Zoom-based study options available on all Fitness Industry Education courses

When researching courses, make sure the qualification you get in the end is recognised by CIMSPA. All Fitness Industry Education courses, via cAmpus, are certified through Focus Awards and recognised by CIMSPA.

Step 3: Get Qualified

Your research is done and it's now time to study and pass your assessments. You'll start by studying the Level 2 Gym Instructor course, which is a pre-requisite to the level 3 personal trainer section of the course. All our personal trainer course options include level 2 gym instructor. If you already hold a recognised level 2 gym instructor certificate, you will be exempt from this unit. Talk to our advisors for more information.

After level 2, you move onto level 3 personal trainer unit.

Then, if you have chosen a Specialist or Master Diploma, you will move onto the remaining units in the course. As soon as you finish the personal trainer unit however, you can start work as a personal trainer.

Step 4: Get Insured

As a personal trainer, it's imperative you protect yourself against lawsuits and claims against you which may arise should a client injure themselves. Insurance for personal trainers is a specialist type of insurance offered by a number of companies. Insurance companies will want to see your recognised qualification prior to issuing your policy.

There are two types of insurance you must have:

  1. Public Liability: This will protect you against any damage to property you or your client may cause when training in a health club. The health club may sue you should you or your client damage any equipment or property of the club. If you pay a rental to the club, the club will insist you have your own public liability insurance.
  2. Professional Indemnity: This insurance cover any advice or guidance you give your clients. If the client injures them self while following your advice and guidance, they may sue you. Professional indemnity insurance covers this.

Other insurance you may also want includes Personal Accident Insurance, which covers any injuries you may get yourself, and Sports Equipment Insurance which covers any equipment you may own.

In partnership with TRAINFITNESS, we recommend Balens for all your insurance needs.

Step 5: Gain experience

You will learn a lot when studying your course, however nothing compares to real-world experience. Once you've gained your qualification, it's time to work with "real" clients. Family & Friends are always a great place to start as they will be more than happy for you to use your new-found knowledge and skills to help them improve their own health & fitness. Doing consultations with them to gather information, then designing their programmes and eventually taking them through the workouts you've designed is all great preparation for paying clients. You never know, some may take you on for regular personal training sessions, moving your one step closer to ticking off step 7.

Step 6: Seek employment

Back in step 1 you thought about and planned the type of employment you would be looking for once qualified. If you decided you wanted to be self-employed and not work out of a health club, but rather train clients in their homes, once again, friends and family is the best place to start. Training them will lead to referrals from them to their friends and so on. You will soon come to see how referrals will be your greatest form of advertising.

If your plan is to work in a health club, then take advantage of our Guaranteed Job Interview service. We work with many of the UK's leading health clubs in locations all over the country. In addition, you will find available positions listed on our job board embedded directly into the web-based Student Desktop & Mobile App so you can apply for jobs while you're studying with us.

Job board built into the cAmpus Student Desktop
Job board built into the cAmpus Student Desktop

Step 7: Build your client base

And finally, now your fully qualified and working as a personal trainer, your main aim is to attract more paying clients. You may have already had some referrals in step 5, gaining experience. As mentioned, gaining referrals is going to be your most effective form of advertising. Encouraging your existing clients to refer their family & friends will be one of the fastest ways to grow your client base. Think of creating a referral scheme where you reward clients for referring new people to you. It can be as simple as giving a free session for each new referral.

If you're working in a gym, getting to know the members is one of the best ways to meet potential new clients. If you completed the Specialist or Master Personal Trainer Diplomas, you will have additional qualifications such as Group Indoor Cycling & Circuit Training, which allows you to teach group classes. Teaching classes is a great way to meet members, show them your style of training and then offer them your PT services. You will find this a great way to build your business.

Become a Group Exercise Instructor with Fitness Industry Education
Teaching Group Exercise is a great way to meet potential new clients.

Best of Luck

Becoming a personal trainer offers you the opportunity to have an exciting and fruitful career in the fitness industry. If you've decided it's a career you'd like to pursue, then following these steps will make the process simple and easy.

Qualifying with Fitness Industry Education will ensure you have the support throughout the entire process. Just give us a call and chat to our career advisors and they'll be able to help you choose the package that's right for you.

We wish you every success!

A Free Start

Enrol for free with cAmpus & then when you're ready to be assessed, purchase a Training & Assessment Package from Fitness Industry Education.
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