Requirements and Qualifications to Become a Personal Trainer

The qualifications and requirements to become a personal trainer

Getting Started

Do you like the idea of an active job working in personal training helping your own clients? Then it’s important to understand what’s involved, the education needed and what qualifications you should study. This will ensure your career is on the right track right from the very start.

To work as a UK based Personal Trainer you will need a CIMSPA industry accredited level 3 personal training qualification. This should be studied through an established UK awarding body.

You will then be eligible for CIMSPA membership, a key indicator to your future clients of the standard of your personal trainer qualifications and that you are fully credible to practice.

These are the main industry requirements you will need to meet.

If you’ve decided personal training is the right career path for you it can be tempting to look for the fastest possible route to becoming qualified. But a quick note of caution. It’s important not to be tempted to take short cuts with your studies or you could end up wasting your money, time and effort on qualifications that don’t meet industry requirements.

Whilst it might seem easy to cut a few corners to get qualified as fast as possible remember that your future career, livelihood and reputation are at stake. So make sure that you choose a personal trainer qualification that is of the right calibre and that there’s plenty of support on offer every step of the way.

Here at the Academy of Fitness Professionals, our qualifications are industry recognised through UK Active and PD Approval. We also work with the NCFE and CACHE awarding bodies who have been established for over 150 years which means you can study with confidence that you’re learning with a reputable, established company.

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We’re here to provide the personal trainer qualifications needed to be an industry recognised personal trainer

Level 3 Personal Trainer Certification

Choose between our complete, specialist, ultimate and fast-track PT course options.

Qualify as a recognised level 3 personal trainer

Public Liability Cover

Arrange your insurance and you’re ready to work as a Personal Trainer.

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      Qualifications in Personal Training

      You will need both your fitness instructor and personal trainer qualifications to work in the industry. Our students at the Academy of Fitness Professionals benefit from two study pathways, combined PT package courses or a fast-track level 3 PT certification.

      Personal trainer package courses are ideal if you’re starting out in your journey. They lead to both your level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing and your level 3 Certificate in Personal Training.

      What’s more our packages include additional fitness training in specialist areas, including, kids fitness, exercise to music and kettle bells. This means you can tailor your learning perfectly to the type of clients you’d like to work with.

      Alternatively, the fast-track Personal Trainer certificate course is just the ticket if you have already gained your level 2 and are now ready to advance your career into personal training.

      Choose the study route that’s best for you

      personal training diploma complete package

      PT Package

      Perfect if you are starting your personal trainer education

      personal trainer diploma specialist package

      PT Package

      Suits those keen to work with adults and children

      personal trainer diploma ultimate package

      PT Package

      Ideal if you’re keen to run your own PT business


      Fast Track
      PT Course

      For already qualified level 2 fitness instructors

      Your Pathway to Success


      Choose your course & study method

      Choose from our Complete, Specialist and Ultimate PT qualifications which can be studied online or part-time.


      Gain your personal training certification

      Your study is now complete and you’ve become a Personal Trainer with CIMSPA and REPs recognition.


      Fully qualified personal trainer

      You’re ready to start personal training working for a gym or running your own PT business.


      clients &

      You’re enjoying working with your new clients and are growing your client base, hours and earnings.

      What's Included?

      What else comes with our qualifications for Personal Trainers?


      Fully inclusive course fees from enrolment through to certification


      No exams, we focus on workbook and practical learning to build your skills


      Weekly enrolments so you can start when it’s best for you

      Awards & Recognition

      We know a thing or two about becoming a Personal Trainer

      UK Active

      We are a UK Active Supplier committed to the highest of industry standards.

      What Makes a Great Personal Trainer?

      The best personal trainers are fantastic coaches, motivators and communicators. They offer a client led service packed full of inspiration that delivers results, tailored to client goals.


      Personal training is all about coaching. You can’t do the work for your clients, instead you are leading, supporting and guiding them to implement ongoing change and achieve the desired results.

      Behind the scenes this involves using your programme design skills to the maximum. Here you’ll be researching and creating exercise plans geared to client fitness levels, goals, exercise preferences and personality.

      Great coaches are highly self-aware and client-aware. They are able to adapt their style so that each client is treated as an individual and offered solutions that get the best out of every fitness session.

      Thinking about the people who inspire you the most is a great place to start. What is it that made you connect with them and what made them invest their time in you?


      Personal trainers are communicating a whole host of things all the time. Top of the list of course, are your clients. They need to understand when their sessions are, what they need to do, the right exercise techniques, enjoy the training session, receive feedback on progress and feel empowered to do well.

      But personal trainers are communicating with lots of other people as well. For example, client prospects, third party specialists, gym teams and business networks.

      These key skills combined with the right personal trainer qualification for your needs,that fully meets industry requirements, will set you well on your way to success.


      Personal trainers generally work with one client at a time. If you are freelance or self-employed, running your own business there’s no boss telling you how to do things. Instead it’s up to you. The nature of the work suits those who are able to motivate themselves to do well.

      If you’re driven by establishing your own client base, shaping your working hours and have the drive to succeed then a PT career has a lot to offer.

      As well as motivating yourself, you also need to be able to motivate your clients. This will turn them into loyal customers who turn up for their sessions on time, work hard and follow your advice for in between appointments.

      People are unique and will be motivated by different things. One person may enjoy a fun chatty style and really connect with their exercise programme with this approach. For someone else, this may be too relaxed and they need a more disciplined ‘tough love’ format.

      Which route should I take to become a Personal Trainer?

      Take the package route if you’re starting out and the fast-track route if you already have a level 2 fitness qualification.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Popular questions about personal trainer qualifications and industry requirements to become a personal trainer

      How to get your personal trainer certification?

      Popular study routes to get your personal training qualification include full-time study, part-time study and flexible ‘at your own pace’ learning. We’re often asked which study route is the best and the good news is there’s no right or wrong answer here.

      What’s most important is to choose the learning method that suits your preferred learning style, the time you can commit, your budget and the speed of career change you’re looking for.

      Choose from full, part-time and go at your own pace online learning options with attendance or video evidenced practical’s.

      If you prefer to take your time with your study or have other commitments or a busy lifestyle, the online qualification route works really well. This allows students to ‘pick up’ and ‘put down’ their course work as needed, whilst still making incremental progress towards gaining their personal trainer qualifications. On the other hand, if you have plenty of time you can commit and are keen to become qualified as quickly as possible the full-time and part-time options are ideal.

      Whichever study method you decide on your course covers all the education you need to become a Personal Trainer. This includes full course content, theory, practical’s, tutor support and assessments. When everything’s complete you will receive your level 3 certificate in personal training in the post, endorsed with awarding body logos, so you always have the original hard copy to hand.

      Where to get your personal trainer certification.

      With so many course options it’s not surprising that many students tell us about being a little bamboozled with where to start! Our advice, make sure your personal trainer certification is fully industry recognised and provided through a credible awarding body of long standing. These are the industry requirements to become a personal trainer so it’s vital your qualifications are up to scratch.

      Here at the Academy of Fitness Professionals our training is fully industry accredited, recognised by CIMSPA and REPs, and endorsed by our awarding bodies the NCFE and CACHE. With over 170 years of awarding body service and experience you can be confident in the quality, standards and expertise of training you will receive.

      If you’re not sure where to get started why not request a copy of our becoming a personal trainer guide, packed full of helpful hints and tips.

      What qualifications do you need to be a personal trainer?

      You need two industry specific qualifications for personal training. These are a level 2 fitness instructor certificate and a level 3 personal trainer certificate.

      If you’re starting your career then we have two options you can choose from.

      The first is to take a combined PT package course which leads to both the qualifications you need. The benefit of this study option is that courses are available at all inclusive prices with additional training included, saving you money and leading to extra skills. This works well if you are able to devote plenty of time to your studies, can budget for your education and know that a level 3 role is where you’re headed.

      The second option is to complete the qualifications separately. Here you qualify at level 2 and then continue onto level 3 when it’s best for you. With this study route you can start working in the industry as a fitness instructor and gain valuable experience whilst progressing to your level 3. This is a great way of budgeting for one course at a time and pacing yourself. However, you will lose out on the package benefits and cost savings and may find this qualification route takes you longer.

      Be mindful that your Personal Trainer certification should fully meet industry requirements, like ours here at the Academy of Fitness Professionals. It must be recognised by CIMSPA and REPs and be endorsed by an external awarding body, such as the NCFE. This will enable you to gain insurance so you can work in the industry and you can also work internationally via EREPS. It’s also an important indicator to your future clients of the high standard of training you have gained.

      If you have a sports science qualification or an equivalent degree in personal training it is well worth talking to us. We can help and advise you on if these meet industry standards, or if there are additional module requirements you need to meet.

      What is the best personal trainer certification?

      The best personal trainer certifications are endorsed by an independent awarding body and are industry recognised with CIMSPA and REPs. The ideal course also needs to be a great fit for you so you can make steady progress and develop your talents along the way.

      Personal training is about delivering carefully designed exercise plans that meet client goals. The key to success in your role is building a regular client base. This comes from having the expertise and talents to offer motivational PT sessions that deliver results.

      Here’s our checklist of things to consider when deciding if it’s the best personal trainer certification for you.

      • Does the study format fit well with my lifestyle?
      • Do I like the course content?
      • Can I afford the course fees?
      • Is there unlimited tutor support?
      • Are the fees fully inclusive?

      We don’t believe one course fits all, so we offer our students a range of personal trainer certification packages and fast-track courses tailored to your career goals and budget.

      How to get into Personal Training?

      It’s really straight forward to get into personal training. Once you have the gained your qualifications that’s it, you’re ready for the workplace.

      Towards the end of your course it’s the perfect time to start applying for jobs and securing your first personal trainer role. When you start working in personal training try to spend plenty of time on the gym floor interacting with gym members, offering helpful advice, hints and tips. This shows your expert knowledge in a friendly way and opens the door to a chat about how personal training can help.

      Once you’ve gained your first few clients, it’s the ideal time to start planning for the future. This might include becoming an advanced personal trainer, working with specialist clients or setting up your own business.

      Can you be a personal trainer without certification in the UK?

      In a word no. Don’t be tempted to take non recognised personal trainer certifications. You will be wasting your money and will end up having to start all over again. To succeed as a personal trainer you need regular loyal clients and this comes from training them safely and correctly. This starts with making sure your education and qualifications fully meet industry requirements. From here you can gain insurance, join CIMSPA and REPs and start work in the industry, knowing you’re properly trained and well set for success. Explore our personal trainer courses.

      What’s the quickest way to become qualified?

      We’re often asked about the quickest way to become a qualified personal trainer. While it’s great to be enthusiastic and keen to start work, our team will always want to understand why you’re in a hurry. If you try to rush through your personal training education or cut corners this will ultimately catch up with you. Suddenly you’ll be training your own clients in the real world and this is the real measure of your success. Our students set timescales of 2-12 months depending on the hours they can commit. Try to see your education and training as the start of your journey and a stepping stone towards success in your career. Investing the time now so you really understand the profession will reap rewards later on.

      What GCSE’s are needed to work as a personal trainer?

      The good news is that you don’t need specific GCSE’s or grades. Instead, employers will expect your personal training qualifications to be industry recognised and endorsed by an awarding body. Just like our courses at the Academy of Fitness Professionals.

      The Academy of Fitness Professionals provide the gold standard in accredited personal training courses with state of the art training. Our specialist knowledge features in the UK health and fitness media including the Mirror, BBC2 and Women’s Running. This is the ultimate learning destination for those serious about their education to be a personal trainer and long term career.

      Academy of Fitness Professionals - Personal Training Courses

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