How to Become a Personal Trainer

Personal Trainer

A personal trainer works with clients to improve their fitness. They will go through various exercises and lifestyle choices and have an active role in the client’s progress.

Personal trainers work in gyms and clients’ homes to help them become fitter and healthier. They will work with clients on a one to one basis. Initially, they meet with clients and assess their needs before creating personalised fitness plans. They will then be in constant contact with their client while they use the fitness plan. They may even work actively with their clients as they exercise.

Personal trainers will work with the goals that a client has. These are often to lose weight or gain muscle, but some clients have other particular goals that they will want assistance with. A personal trainer has a more advanced role than a gym instructor, and they will have a stronger knowledge of the benefits of specific exercises.

The duties of being a personal trainer include: 

  • Working with clients to find both short and long term goals related to their fitness.
  • Assessing their current fitness level and evaluating how long it will take them to reach their goals. 
  • Coaching clients on a one on one basis to help them achieve their fitness goals. 
  • Offering expert advice regarding health and nutrition. 
  • Going through workouts with clients. 
  • Recording the progress of clients. 
  • If self-employed, marketing their business.

Personal trainers don’t necessarily need a degree, but some relevant personal training degrees can boost a job application. Non-graduates should have a college qualification, preferably one that is accredited. 

Entering the field by taking an apprenticeship is also an option. Candidates applying for apprenticeships should have secondary level qualifications in physical education and a good knowledge of the human body. Furthermore, some candidates enter the profession as a fitness coach or gym instructor and develop their skills to become a personal trainer. 

Even candidates with qualifications would benefit from work experience. Casual jobs are easy to acquire at leisure centres or gyms – the candidate could work as a receptionist or lifeguard at first, and then express interest in moving into personal training. 

Personal trainers should have undertaken a first aid course and may be expected to have a CPR certificate. While this is not a legal requirement, it will be insisted upon by some employees. If they are working on a self-employed basis, having extra qualifications will increase their chances of employment.

There are several necessary critical skills that personal trainers should demonstrate. As this is a client-focused role, they should be friendly and personable. Their job requires them to be inspiring and motivating, so they should naturally exhibit these characteristics. 

Personal trainers must be patient and able to deal with demanding clients who may be frustrated if they are do not get the results that they desire. They should also be able to accept criticism, particularly at the start of their career. 

Teaching abilities are also highly important, as this is a coaching role. They should be able to act with the responsibility of a mentor, but in a friendly manner. Organisation and punctuality is crucial. Furthermore, as personal trainers will be seen as an inspirational figure by their clients, they must maintain their own health and wellbeing.

Personal trainers work in a variety of places. They may operate in a gym, their client’s home, a park, or a resort. They could be employed by a range of industries – from the armed forces to large organisations with health programmes – but many personal trainers are self-employed. 

Some personal trainers embark on self-employment initially, working with an agreement with a gym or visiting clients in their homes. Candidates doing so may need to put in a lot of hours while they build up their client base.

Most personal trainers work irregular hours, as they work around their clients’ schedules. Their working week will typically include evenings and weekends. 

Personal training is an increasingly popular industry, and its popularity is set to rise as people continue to take their health more seriously.

What degree is most commonly held by a Personal Trainer ?


  • BA of Health and Physical Sciences
  • Ba of Sports and Exercise
  • BA of Personal Training

Career Transportability across Countries


Transportability: Medium
While it would be challenging for most people to work abroad as a personal trainer without a visa, language abilities, and cultural knowledge, there are opportunities for personal trainers to work for resorts and cruise ships. Opportunities will typically arise in companies that operate from their own country, but offer holidays in other parts of the world. Competition for these positions can be strong, so most personal trainers who are applying should demonstrate strong skills and plenty of previous experience.

What is the Salary of a Personal Trainer ?

ExperienceAverage salary | year
AU$UK£US$
Personal Trainer1-2 years$35,000£19,800$45,000
Seniors Sports Coach3-5 Years$43,870£25,000$55,000
Sporting Activities Director> 5 Years$100,000£65.000$125,000

What skills are needed to become a Personal Trainer ?


  • Personal Training
  • Fitness
  • Customer Service
  • Fitness Training
  • Nutrition
  • Coaching
  • Strength Training
  • Training
  • Leadership
  • Wellness
  • Public Speaking
  • Management
  • Sports
  • Social Media
  • Weight Training
  • Microsoft Office
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Sales
  • Wellness Coaching
  • Marketing
  • Time Management
  • Functional Training
  • Fitness Instruction
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Strength & Conditioning

Personal Training Courses

Personal trainers need to have training in a variety of topics, such as human biology and nutrition. Therefore, candidates should take some relevant courses to boost their application. At FutureLearn, we have plenty of courses for prospective personal trainers, including food as medicine.
  • Exercise Prescription for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease

    Discover how physical exercise can help patients including those with cardiovascular disease mental health problems and cancer

  • Emergency and Disaster Training and Exercising: An Introduction

    Explore the role of training and exercising for emergency preparedness and how it can help you respond to disasters effectively

  • Nutrition: Eating to Live Well

    Explore the importance of nutrition and learn how eating well can support humans to live longer healthier lives

  • Nutrition and Wellbeing

    Demystify the complex and conflicting messages we hear about nutrition health and lifestyle today on this free nutrition course

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