Connecting to LinkedIn...

Banner Default Image

How to become a Personal Trainer

What is a personal trainer?

A personal trainer is a health and fitness professional who runs one-on-one or small group sessions for their clients. Working either independently or as part of a major chain, a personal trainer is dedicated to improving the long-term fitness of those they work with. Usually this involves organising regular sessions to fit into an overall plan, based on the aims of the clients involved.

What qualifications do I need to become a personal trainer?

Usually personal trainers are already qualified as fitness instructors, although there is a Level 3 Personal Training diploma for anyone looking for specific qualifications. There are many companies who offer relevant training courses, whether you have previous experience in fitness instructing or not, but it’s a good idea to check they are properly accredited with the Registry of Exercise Professionals before signing up.

What skills/experience will an employer look for?

Although prior experience in fitness instructing isn’t a necessity, it would be beneficial and often personal trainers begin their careers as fitness instructors before specialising. Employers will look for candidates who are excellent motivators and can communicate their ideas clearly. They want someone who’s organised and who can plan ahead, as well as adaptable to the differing needs of their potential clients.

Who might employ a personal trainer?

-Health clubs

-Leisure or fitness centres



-Cruise ships


What salary can I expect?

There is no set salary for a personal trainer and incomes can vary enormously. Generally one employed by a gym or fitness centre can expect to earn between £16,000 and £20,000 while those who are self-employed have greater earning potential. How much greater depends as much on the attitude and dedication of the trainer as it does on the location and number of potential clients based in their area.

What is my career progression?

Generally personal trainers have been fitness instructors and often see the next step as becoming self-employed. There are plenty of opportunities to further specialise in various fitness areas like weight-training or nutrition and pick up experience and qualifications along the way. Taking that path can lead to a move into sports physiotherapy or related field.

What are the best things about being a personal trainer?

Personal trainers get to work in an industry they love. They spend their days helping people improve their fitness and well-being and can take great satisfaction from being the driving force behind positive change. Becoming self-employed offers the chance for an individual to have far more freedom and control over their career, as well as flexibility in when and where they work.

Are there any drawbacks?

Sometimes the hours can be a bit anti-social as it depends when clients are available and working freelance usually requires a reasonable amount of travelling. Being independent of a major chain can be an advantage in terms of earning power but might take away access to quality equipment and working space, so sometimes you might need to be creative in locations which aren’t ideal.

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 health and fitness trainer