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How to become a Health and Fitness Instructor

What is a health and fitness instructor?

Health and fitness or gym instructors are usually responsible for running fitness classes at gyms or leisure complexes. They regularly lead sessions put on for a varied group of clients and are responsible for planning and organising these to maximise enjoyment as well as improving fitness. These sessions can be based on a wide range of themes – from spinning to Pilates and yoga – so instructors have the option to specialise if they choose.

What qualifications do I need to become a health and fitness instructor?

To qualify as a fitness instructor you can either take an accredited course, through a college or one of the private companies which offer training, or join a gym as an assistant and train on the job. There are a lot of different courses available, so it’s worth checking with the Registry of Exercise Professionals first to make sure you’re choosing a valid one. It’s also very important to make sure you get public liability insurance and a first aid certificate before you start work.

What skills/experience will an employer look for?

It’s vital that a fitness instructor is in great shape themselves and has a real passion for healthy living. You’ll need to be sociable and outgoing as well as able to motivate people. Fitness instructors will create programs for a wide range of different people, each with different aims, meaning you’ll have to be adaptable and sympathetic to the changing needs of your clients. Being able to demonstrate how to exercise properly and safely is also a crucial aspect of the role, so knowledge of the body and your environment is definitely an advantage.

Who might employ a health and fitness instructor?


-Fitness centres

-Leisure complexes


-Holiday resorts

What salary can I expect?

Full-time instructors can earn between £13,000 and £20,000, while someone self-employed could earn around £15 or £20 an hour.

What is my career progression?

There are various further qualifications available for someone looking to specialise or move into personal training and become self-employed. With experience fitness instructors can train new instructors or move into management positions within the leisure industry.

What are the best things about being a health and fitness instructor?

Becoming a fitness instructor is the perfect role for somebody who loves helping others improve themselves. You’ll get the chance to be active and work with people all day, you’ll improve your own fitness as well as those in your classes and you’ll get to meet a whole host of like-minded people. There’s also the option to specialise and focus on the things you enjoy the most or become self-employed for even more freedom in your career.

Are there any drawbacks?

Being a fitness trainer can be tiring, after all it involves working out all day! Initially the salary can be a little on the low side and you have to be able to be positive and upbeat all day, every day. There is also the potential, as with every public service role, of having to deal with difficult customers.

Why not view our latest training and fitness vacancies or sign up for job alerts.

More information:

For more information, advice and guidance about careers in PE, Sport, Training and Fitness and Activity Holiday Jobs, visit our careers advice centre; including job hunting tips,  CV guide and much more.

Useful links:

The Register of Exercise Professionals can provide useful advice and guidance throughout your career.

Have you seen our information on how to become a personal trainer?