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What Qualifications Do I Need To Become A Personal Trainer?

Avatar for Hadyn Luke Hadyn Luke posted this on Friday 15th of July 2016 Hadyn Luke 15/07/2016



A career as a personal trainer or fitness instructor can be very rewarding, but what’s the best route in?

The qualifications and skills you need will depend on the role, but here is our guide to help you decide.

Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing

An entry-level qualification, the level 2 gym instructor qualifcation is required for instruction roles. It is the minimum qualification you need to gain employment in the health and fitness industry and provides options for progression on to other qualifications.


No formal qualifications. However, it’s expected that you will have a good level of physical fitness, the ability to perform exercises and a keen interest in the health and fitness sector.


A passion for helping people and for the job; good communication skills; a willingness to learn.


How to gather client information and to write and deliver exercise programmes at a gym or health club. Course elements include cardiovascular training, resistance training and warm up/cool down exercises.


Following the completion of the L2 Gym Instructor qualification you could complete additional Continual Professional Development (CPD) courses such as the Level 2 Awards in Instructing Studio Cycling to teach spin classes and Level 2 Award in Instructing Kettlebells

Once you have your Level 2 Gym qualification(s), there are further Level 3 qualifications you can take to progress your career in the health and fitness industry.

Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training

Personal trainers can offer 1-2-1 training programmes for clients in a gym or home environment, in addition to teaching fitness classes (see our blog on Personal Training: How to attract new clients).


Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing (or equivalent qualification)


The ability to communicate and connect with clients, and to complete theoretical exams and practical workshops. A good level of physical fitness.


Through exams and workshop attendance you will learn how to gather client information, design and deliver individual exercise programmes based on each client’s needs. This will range from how to carry out static fitness assessments to how to apply advanced cardiovascular and resistance training methods as well as be able to prescribe nutrition for physical activity.


The other Level 3 choices you can take include:

For more detailed information on these courses, please refer to the relevant pages on our website. You might also find the following blogs useful: Sports Massage – The effects and Benefits, Weight gain during pregnancy, Nutritional supplements – Yes or No?

In all cases, you will need to first pass your Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing (or equivalent qualification). However, it’s optional whether you want to also take your Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training before you embark on these courses.

A Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral is a prerequisite to progress to any Level 4 qualifications. They are designed to lead into work with special populations, for example those who have specific medical conditions such as lower back pain, high blood pressure or mental health issues. These courses include the Level 4 Certificate in Exercise for the Management of Lower Back Pain and the Level 4 Certificate in Physical Activity and Weight Management for Obese and Diabetic Clients.


Whatever qualification you choose to study for, make sure it’s recognised by Ofqual under the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). Qualifications for personal trainers are managed by awarding bodies such as Active IQ, CYQ, OCR and City & Guilds, while training providers such as CMS Fitness deliver the courses.

At CMS Fitness Courses, we focus on the quality of teaching and flexibility of delivery, with weekday and weekend gym instructor and personal training courses, and 1-2-1 tutor support via phone, email and webinar. This has led to our 5 star rating on Facebook .

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