How to Become a Personal Trainer in 6 Steps

We get it - when you first start looking into becoming a personal trainer, the sheer amount of information online can be daunting. 

Watch our video on how to become a personal trainer or read the article below.


Eager to start your new career? Enquire about our Diploma in Personal Training now and get qualified in as little as 4 weeks.

About The Personal Training Job

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Before we get stuck into how to become a personal trainer, let’s take a look at the role. 

The main role of a PT is to create and deliver tailored training programmes to help clients reach their fitness goals. A personal trainer's schedule is pretty varied. They often work mornings, evenings, and weekends to capitalise on client demand.

According to Salary Expert, personal trainers in the UK earn between 26000 and €45000. The average personal trainer salary is 35577

Exactly how much you earn depends on factors such as your location, experience, and how many hours you do. For example, you’ll earn more if you work in London or if you have a lot of experience. 

Step 1: Get Qualified as a Personal Trainer 

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To become a personal trainer in the UK, there are two qualifications you need: 

The fastest and most affordable way to get qualified is with a Personal Training Diploma, which combines both of the above qualifications.

Your qualifications must be regulated by an Ofqual-approved awarding body, such as Focus Awards or Active IQ, and accredited by CIMSPA

Ofqual is the government body responsible for regulating vocational qualifications in England. This regulation ensures that a Level 3 Personal Trainer course provides the same level of training regardless of what training provider you choose.

Awarding Bodies such as Focus Awards and Active IQ provide accredidation for qualifications, and ensure they meet the standards and learning outcomes set by Ofqual.

CIMSPA is a professional development body that works with course providers, awarding bodies, training providers, and employers to ensure that fitness professionals qualify with a high standard of knowledge.

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Level 3 Fitness Instructor course

This entry-level course qualifies you to work as a fitness instructor. You must complete this qualification before moving on to a Level 4 Personal Training course.

Level 4 Personal Trainer course

On completion of the Level 4 course, you’ll be a fully qualified personal trainer with the necessary knowledge and training to plan and deliver training programmes. 

Step 2: Find The Best Course Provider For You

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The course provider you choose can make a huge difference to both your experience while studying, and your career prospects once you become a personal trainer. 

Here are some things to consider: 

What study methods are available? PT courses can be taught via one of three study methods: online, part-time, and full-time. At OriGym, we offer a range of study options to ensure that we can cater to you, regardless of how you learn best. 

What post course support is available? Choosing a course provider that offers post-course support and careers services makes it much easier to land your first job in the industry.

OriGym offer an extensive range of free career services, including CV analysis and interview prep. We even guarantee a job interview for all personal training graduates! That's why we have the highest work placement rate among our competitors.

What do past students have to say? Check out independent review sites like TrustPilot and Google Reviews to find out what past and current students have to say about their experience with the course/ provider.

Find more tips on comparing personal training courses by watching our video:

Step 3: Map Out Your Personal Training Career Path

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As you near the end of your course, it’s time to think about your career options as a PT. Personal trainers either work on an employed basis, at a gym for example, or in a freelance or self-employed capacity.

Typically, newly qualified personal trainers work on an employed basis as this allows them to earn a stable income whilst gaining experience and building their reputation. 

Within this role, you’ll be employed directly by the gym. You’ll have a pre-existing client base, made up of gym members, and a fixed wage. This is a great place to start when you first qualify as a PT. 

Once you have a list of regular clients, you can then transition to working on a freelance or self-employed basis. Most PTs take this route as these opportunities have a much higher earning potential.

Working for a gym on a freelance basis offers more freedom. If you become a freelance personal trainer, you’ll pay rent to a gym in exchange for using their facilities to train your clients.

Being a self-employed or independent trainer offers complete control over working hours and job structure. You can buy your own equipment, open up your own gym, or work from several locations.

Step 4: Get Insured to Work as a Personal Trainer 

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Once you become a PT, you need to get personal trainer insurance. 

All personal trainers are legally required to have the following policies:

  • Public liability insurance 
  • Professional indemnity insurance

Even if you land an employed role at a gym, you’ll still need to get insurance as you won’t always be covered by the gyms policy.

If you’re working on a freelance or self-employed basis, you will absolutely need to take out both of the above policies. Failing to do so could have significant legal and financial consequences.

Learn more about what personal trainer insurance you need here.

Step 5: How to Expand Your Client List 

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Now that we've answered 'how can I become a personal trainer', let's discuss how to be a successful one.

As a personal trainer, expanding your client list will be one of your main priorities. Afterall, the more clients you have, the more money you make!

You can reach new clients using digital marketing strategies such as establishing a social media presence, creating a Google My Business page, or building your own website.

One of the best ways to get new clients is by asking for referrals from existing clients.

By incentivising referrals - for example, offering a free session for each new client that signs up - you can expand your client base and increase your earnings.

At OriGym, we recognise just how important it is for a personal trainer to know how to help spread the word about their business and get new clients, which is why we provide all students with free access to our Business & Marketing course as well as tons of useful resources!

Step 6: Upskill With Specialist Training & Boost Your Income

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Once you’ve qualified as a personal trainer and landed the job you want, there are tons of opportunities to progress in your career.

By upskilling with a Level 5 Personal Trainer course, you can become an expert in a specialist area of fitness. 

Having an advanced qualification will help you to attract new clients and stand out as a personal trainer. Plus, many clients are willing to pay more for specialist services, so you’ll earn a higher wage, too.

Let’s explore how to pursue these specialisms in more detail:

Online Sports Nutrition Course (online)

Develop the skills needed to offer nutrition coaching alongside your personal training services. By becoming a nutrition coach, you can attract new clients, charge more for your personal training packages, and help clients reach their goals faster.

Level 4 Sports Massage Course

Get qualified to deliver sports massage and help clients to decrease muscle soreness, including aches and pains, improve injury management and rehabilitation, and enhance sporting performance.

Exercise Referral Qualification (Level 4)

Become an exercise referral specialist, tailoring fitness programmes to support those with chronic physical conditions or illnesses to improve their health and wellbeing, often taking referrals from GPs, the NHS or private medical practitioners.

Level 5 Obesity and Weight Management

Learn how to become a PT with a specialism in delivering tailored, safe and effective exercise programming targeted at assisting obese clients with long-term weight loss and management, building a tangible, long-term improvement in their quality of life. 

Ready to Kickstart Your Personal Training Career?

One of the UK’s most trusted education providers in the health and fitness industry, OriGym specialises in assisting aspiring and experienced personal trainers in reaching their career goals.

Download our course prospectus to learn more about the range of courses we offer or enquire about our Diploma in Personal Training here.


Become a Personal Trainer

Turn your passion for fitness into a career with our CIMSPA accredited personal training diploma! 

Written by Luke Hughes


Luke is the CEO for OriGym, with a masters degree and 1st class honours degree in sport and exercise science and is a qualified personal trainer. Luke loves playing football and running, but his main passion is for cycling, where he can often be found cycling round the Lake District on a Sunday afternoon!