0333 344 2126 user My account Basket

Find your perfect course

How to Become

How To Become A Personal Trainer

How To Become A Personal Trainer

How to Become a Personal Trainer

There is more to being a personal trainer than knowing how to eat right and exercise correctly. To succeed as a personal trainer you also need to pair the right plan of action with the right training/qualifications.

What is a personal trainer?

Personal trainers fill a variety of roles; however, their primary function is to show clients how to stay fit and healthy. They achieve this by creating tailored exercise plans to suit the needs and health requirements of their clients; while also teaching them how to manage their weight and eat the correct foods.

Through this combination of exercise and nutrition, clients can lose weight, build muscle and if they are an athlete, prepare for their next competition.

What do you need to do to become a personal trainer?

If you dream of helping others to become better versions of themselves, then working as a personal trainer could be the job for you.

Daily you will work with numerous individuals as they aspire to shift those excess pounds, tone their bodies, increase their muscle mass and become physically fitter and capable of taking on athletic challenges.

Yet, what skills and credentials do you need to become a personal trainer?

Below we have outlined 5 simple steps that will enable you to pursue this career path and make a positive difference to the people in your care.

Step One: Complete your pre-requisites

Before you can get certified as a personal trainer, there are a few things you need to tick off your list first:

  • You must be 18 years or older
  • You need GCSEs and at least 2 A-levels
  • You need to be trained in CPR, the use of defibrillators and be able to provide emergency Cardiac Care

Step Two: Find a Certified Personal Trainer Course

There are numerous personal trainer courses out there, and whilst most follow a fairly similar syllabus, you will encounter differences between them. Because of this, when picking a personal trainer certification, you must consider which is the best one for you.

For instance, do you want to offer both nutritional and physical training advice? Or do your interests lie in working with professional athletes? If either of these is the case, then you will need to be very selective about which course you choose to do.

If, on the other hand, you haven’t decided yet on what you want your specialty to be, then the following question could help you to narrow down your course choices:

How do you learn best?

Do you thrive better in an in-person, classroom environment or do you find it easier to manage your learning within the confines of your own home?

If you prefer the structure of a classroom and the physical presence of a teacher, then we suggest attending a college or university for your courses. With in-person training, you can experience the security of knowing that you won’t stray off the path or be tempted to leave your work until the last minute.

If on the other hand, exams and set deadlines/schedules un-nerve you, then there are a variety of online courses you can explore which will give you the freedom to tailor your studies around your current commitments (work and social) and spend as little or as long as you want on each module. And this is great news if you need longer than a single lesson to absorb the syllabus. Instead, you can determine when you are ready to move on.

Relevant courses include:

How much time do you have?

Are you looking to get certified as soon as possible, or do you have time to attend college/university to get the qualifications you want?

Online courses can again afford you the flexibility to manage your own study time and learn at a time, pace, and location of your choosing. This means, if you are committed to getting the course done quickly, you could potentially complete it within the recommended 12-24 months.

Naturally, with colleges and universities, not only will they take around 2-5 years for you to complete, but they will also be more expensive. For this reason, you need to be certain of timescales so you can effectively manage your time and make sure you get all the work done on time.

Do you have the right kind of education?

There are five different routes you can explore to become a personal trainer:

  1. You can get certified by a company
  2. You can go to college
  3. You can complete a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
  4. You can do an online course
  5. You can train internally with a gym

Each of these paths can supply you with the educational program and certification you need to get recognised as a personal trainer. You just need to make a decision on which best suits your long-term goals.

For instance, the first three options are always accredited and can assure you of a guaranteed job at a corporate gym. The last two options can vary, meaning they haven’t always got the backing of an awarding body. Because of this, you will need to be careful and do your research first to ensure you don’t sign up for an unaccredited course by accident.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t complete an unaccredited course. For example, if you’ve already got an established client base or don’t want to work at a corporate facility, then you could do these courses instead.

Step Three: Choose an exam date and prepare

Once you’ve located the course you want and have determined your desired learning frame, you need to select your exam date and begin preparing for it.

Now, most programs will make this decision for you and give you a set date straight away – so you don’t get tempted to put it off. However, if you’ve got the option to choose your date, you will need to be realistic and not set it too early.

To help you establish a realistic timeframe, here are some pointers for you to remember:

  • You will need 75-100 hours to prepare and complete your studies. Depending on your schedule, workload, and other obligations, you will want to give yourself at least 3-6 months to prepare.
  • Most courses will give you a guideline of their study expectations, but most say 80-100 hours (on average)
  • A lot of online courses give an average completion time of 12 months, but some offer 24-month options
  • You need to understand your learning habits and split the course modules/chapters into segments based on your learning abilities i.e. you need to decide how long it will take you to absorb each module.

If you want to complete it faster than average, then the following tips can help:

  1. Read for one to two hours a day
  2. Create concise notes on each chapter
  3. Use study guides to review and focus your notes
  4. Listen to audio lectures to help you review and memorise the information whilst you’re driving/working out
  5. Take practice tests on each chapter
  6. Group the chapters i.e. 5-10 chapters and test yourself on these every few weeks. Keep track of the areas you’re not sure of.
  7. Only take the test when you consistently get 85% on your practice exams

Step Four: Pass your exam

Passing your exam is your final step to attaining your dream, so once you’ve done the work, revised, and practiced, you can take the real thing.

Step Five: Land a job as a personal trainer

You’ve revised, you’ve done the exam… now you’re ready to work. However, before you apply for every personal trainer job out there, you need to know what you want.

So take the time to ask yourself the following:

  1. Where do you want to work?
  2. Do you want to train large groups or work with clients on a one-to-one basis?
  3. Would you prefer to work in a hotel or a country club?
  4. Do you fancy starting your boot camp/studio?

If you’re looking to gain experience first, then your best option is to look for openings at local gyms/clubs. Once you have built up your skills, confidence, and experience, you can begin to be more selective.

Likewise, with this experience, you will have the portfolio you need to start your own business.


Choosing to become a personal trainer is just the first step to making your dreams a reality. Getting the right training and experience is the second. Fortunately, there are many paths you can explore that will get you through the door. So if you’re serious about becoming a personal trainer, then why not take the first step today and take a look at our range of online courses?

At home or college, you can make it happen.

For more information, visit our website today.

Trusted partners we work with

ncfe logo ncfe cache logo tquk logo nioq logo

From our Blog

qcf cache tp