How to become a Personal Trainer in the UK - CCCG
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How to become a Personal Trainer in the UK

Learn how to become a certified personal trainer. We explore training, qualifications, and top tips to kickstart a rewarding fitness career.

The Roman poet Virgil wisely said, ‘The greatest wealth is health.’ His sage advice rings true now more than ever as we strive to balance work, rest, and play. It’s no surprise, then, that the fitness industry in the UK is booming – meaning that demand for personal trainers continues to grow.

If you are interested in learning more about health and fitness courses and helping others achieve their goals, then a career in the fitness industry could be worth exploring. We’ll dive into the exciting world of personal training in the UK, outlining the roles, responsibilities, qualifications, and rewards of this dynamic profession.

How to become a Personal Trainer in the UK

Personal training and fitness careers

Personal training is one key area of the fitness industry – offering a fulfilling and client-focused career path – but it’s not the only option. Other roles include:

  • Gym Instructors: Deliver group fitness classes like aerobics, Zumba, or spinning, motivating the class and ensuring their safety
  • Sports Coaches: Train players or athletes in specific sports, focusing on technique, strategy, and ways to improve performance
  • Nutritionists: Help people understand the relationship between food and health, creating personalised dietary plans to boost well-being
  • Yoga Instructors: Guide students through yoga poses and breathing techniques, promoting relaxation, flexibility, and mindfulness
  • Rehabilitation Specialists: Work with individuals recovering from injuries or with chronic health conditions, designing safe and effective exercise programs

What does a Personal Trainer do? The roles, responsibilities, and skills

Being a personal trainer is about more than knowing how to use every machine in the gym. Personal Trainers have a varied set of duties and responsibilities:

  • Motivating others: A good Personal Trainer can help their clients to expand on their limits, celebrate their achievements, and build confidence as they improve their fitness levels
  • Designing personalised plans: Once you’ve taken into account each client’s fitness levels, goals and limitations, you’ll create personalised workout plans
  • Teaching technique: Personal Trainers pay close attention to how their clients move, ensuring that they’re doing exercises safely and effectively, preventing injuries and maximising results
  • Providing nutritional support: If your client is open to it, you’ll provide basic guidance on healthy eating habits to support fitness goals
  • Educating clients: A personal trainer has a wealth of knowledge about anatomy, physiology, and exercise science. By sharing this with clients, you can empower them to make informed choices about their health

Being a Personal Trainer is often not a 9 to 5 job, with sessions taking place in the early morning, evenings and weekends. This offers great flexibility for those with daytime commitments as well as great variety, with no two clients being the same.

How to become a Personal Trainer in the UK

How much do Personal Trainers get paid in the UK?

A Personal Trainer’s Salary depends largely on experience and where you choose to work. Many personal trainers work on a freelance basis charging hourly rates and are self-employed. Hourly rates start at £20 per hour for less experienced Personal Trainers, rising to £40 per hour when you gain more experience. In some locations, trainers charge between £50 to £100 an hour.

Some gyms or fitness centres employ personal trainers, and starting salaries can be anywhere from £15,000 to £24,000 depending on location, rising to £35,000 with experience. A small number of elite personal trainers with specialist skills and well-developed reputations work with very high-profile clients, often earning up to £100,000.

What qualifications do you need to be a Personal Trainer?

Personal trainers in the UK are regulated by The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA). You’ll need to become a member in order to signal your dedication to best practices and show that you meet certain industry standards.

University qualifications

If you’re keen to become a personal trainer but also want a university degree, then opt for a course such as sports science. Many courses have built-in CIMSPA professional standards for being a personal trainer and gym instructor, which means you can join the organisation and hit the ground running once you’ve graduated.


For students who are keen to learn on the job, then a personal training apprenticeship could be the right pathway for you. You’ll usually be based at a gym and will work directly with clients while studying to get recognised personal trainer qualifications. Your real-world experience will come from shadowing other Personal Trainers and working under their supervision while you work towards your qualifications.

College courses

College courses offer flexibility and the chance to enhance your skill set by studying part-time in addition to your existing working hours. To work as a Personal Trainer, you’ll need a Level 2 Gym Instructing Course and a Level 3 Personal Training Course. These can be taken online or in person, and some providers offer these as one course. Remember, you’ll need to find courses that are approved by CIMSPA to work as a Personal Trainer once you’ve finished your studies.

At Capital City College Group (CCCG), we offer a range of relevant Level 2 and Level 3 sports and fitness courses:

How to become a Personal Trainer in the UK

How long does it take to become a Personal Trainer?

The investment of time needed to become a Personal Trainer depends entirely on which route you take and whether you choose full-time or part-time study. For example, CCCG offers a Level 2 Gym Instructing Certificate that can be completed in 18 weeks, which you can follow up with the 18-week Level 3 Personal Training Practitioner Diploma course, meaning you could get the personal trainer qualifications you need in under a year.

How hard is it to become a Personal Trainer?

Being a Personal Trainer is a great career, full of rewarding moments and meaningful interactions with others. Some of the essential skills for a successful personal trainer are:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills: Building trust and rapport, providing clear instructions, and being an active listener are key skills in this role
  • Strong knowledge of exercise science and anatomy: Understanding the mechanics of the human body and the impact of exercise is essential
  • Motivational and encouraging personality: Being able to inspire clients and support them as they work towards their goals is key
  • Business acumen: Having marketing skills, a strong sense of organisation and the ability to manage finances will help you build your reputation and your client base

You can choose to work as a Personal Trainer within a gym, freelance for a gym, or work independently as a self-employed professional. If you decide to work for a gym, you’ll benefit from a fixed salary and a ready client base. This offers stability but means that your earnings are limited to your agreed salary. However, you will be able to gain experience from working with other fitness professionals and become part of a team.

If you freelance for a gym, you’ll have greater freedom and earning capacity but you will need to invest time and resources into promoting and running your own business. As a self-employed Personal Trainer, you’ll have to manage everything yourself, from marketing to invoicing, and you’ll find that you have less financial security. However, working for yourself gives you complete freedom to create your own brand and unlimited earning potential.

How to become a Personal Trainer in the UK

Specialist sports and fitness careers

Once you’ve qualified as a Personal Trainer and have acquired some experience, you may find that you gravitate towards a specialism. There is a wide range of training opportunities for advanced personal trainers such as:

  • Level 2 Nutrition Course
  • Exercise referral
  • Fitness course assessment
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Exercise with clients with disabilities
  • Back pain management
  • Obesity and diabetes management

The fitness industry is constantly evolving and Personal Trainers can stay abreast of new developments by attending workshops, conferences, and online courses to stay updated on industry trends and best practices.

Becoming a Personal Trainer offers a great career for enthusiastic individuals with a passion for fitness. It offers challenges, rewards, and immense job satisfaction. So, now that you have the key information on how to become a personal trainer, why not apply now for our Level 2 Gym Instructing Course or Level 3 Personal Training Course?


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