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How to become a Specialist Instructor

What is a specialist instructor?

Specialist instructors are usually experienced in a particular sport or activity and want to pass their ability and intuition on to other people. Instructors will work with people of all ages and all abilities and will have to be able to adapt accordingly. These sort of roles are particularly suited to someone with who wants to do some extra evening or weekend work around an existing job.

What qualifications do I need to become a specialist instructor?

Usually instructors can pick up initial qualifications very easily by searching online for their sport’s governing body and working from there. In addition to the basic qualifications it’s often very advisable to make sure you get a DBS check to work with children and pick up a first-aid qualification. Having both will significantly improve your employability.

What skills/experience will an employer look for?

It’s generally advisable to instruct in a sport or activity you have extensive experience of playing. The techniques and skills you’ll pick up from playing will benefit you hugely when coaching. On top of that any previous coaching experience or a history of working with children will be an advantage. A specialist sports instructor will need to be in good physical shape, energetic and a good motivator.Communication is also an important part of the role if you are to be successful.

Who might employ a specialist instructor?


-Sports clubs

-Health and fitness clubs or gyms

-Holiday resorts


What salary can I expect?

Specialist instructors are usually paid by the hour and this can vary hugely depending on what and where you’re coaching. As a rough guide, newly qualified instructors can expect a starting rate of about £15-£20 an hour.

What is my career progression?

Instructing or coaching experience can lead to careers in sport or PE education. The leadership, organisational and motivational skills you develop can also be used to help your career develop into management positions in a wide range of industries.

What are the best things about being a specialist instructor?

Working in an industry and environment you love is always a huge plus. Instructing is a flexible role so you can work around a full-time job or your studies, doing as much or as little as you like. You’ll be working with lots of people who you have a shared interest with and the activity will help keep you in great shape.

Are there any drawbacks?

Sports instructors often have to work in all conditions and might find they aren’t always provided with the best equipment. If you chose to work freelance this might involve a lot of travelling.

Why not view our latest sports coaching 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:

For more information on sports coaching and instructing, visit the Sports Coach UK website.

Have you seen our information on how to become a sports coach? Specialist instructors often have all the necessary skills to be a sports coach as well.