Personal Trainer

Personal Trainer Job description

Personal trainers can improve the lives of the clients that they are working with, whether on a one-to-one basis or working with a small group. They can provide safe and comprehensive fitness programmes, and can specifically tailor these to achieve client goals. Personal trainers differ from fitness instructors in terms of the greater knowledge that they possess through further training and certification. They may also possess more specific knowledge such as working with special population groups, certain sports, or have more in-depth knowledge on training principles.

During client sessions, personal trainers provide their clients with a step-by-step guide, and will either assist clients to work out, or will work out alongside them. This can be using standard gym equipment including cardiovascular and weight areas, or can be alternative sessions such as plyometrics, aerobics, boxing, or in a bootcamp.

Personal trainers are passionate about health and fitness, and aim to promote both areas with their clients through goals and education. Trainers should offer advice on lifestyle management and nutrition, and should aim to enable their clients to also be able to exercise independently. Whilst working towards client goals, personal trainers monitor client progress and keep records, and can also use indicating measurements such as body mass index, body fat percentage, heart rate and nutrition diaries.

Skills needed

Ability to motivate
Industry knowledge: kinesiology, biomechanics, nutrition, physiology, anatomy
High energy
Committed and determined
Tactful and sensitive
Up to date with current fitness trends
Able to be flexible and provide a bespoke service
Business management


There are three key qualifications required to become a personal trainer in the UK and many European countries.

Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification – a pre-requisite to becoming a personal trainer.

Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification – this is the standard qualification to become a personal trainer, and is a requirement for employment. There are many qualifying bodies such as City & Guilds, EDI, OCR, and YMCA.
First Aid Certificate or Emergency First Aid at Work – personal trainers are required to be First Aid trained, with the minimum requirement being a one-day course. More in-depth courses can be completed as desired.


Further to these courses, personal trainers are strongly advised to attain Personal Trainer Insurance, so that they are covered in the event of an accident, although this is not a legal requirement. Furthermore, personal trainers should also become registered with the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPS).

Career progression

Although the Level 3 qualification is the standard qualification for personal trainers, there is a further qualification which can be attained. The Level 4 Master Trainer Diploma is the highest fitness qualification and establishes personal trainers as experts in their field, and is a way of being set apart from other personal trainers. Personal trainers can also complete further training to have the ability to teach classes such as Exercise to music, to be able to deliver sports massage or Kinesiology taping, or to be able to work with clients from the GP Exercise Referral scheme.

Pros and cons


Able to build own schedule around own commitments.
To be able to help people improve and have a positive impact on their lives
High earning potential
Able to work in different environments: gyms, hospitals, health clubs, cruise liners


Likelihood of working unsociable hours
Can be difficult maintaining a consistent clientele, and finding new clients.
When working self-employed, trainers have to be able to market themselves effectively as it can be difficult choosing where to be in the market place.
Time taken to build clientele.
Initial cost of courses, and possibility of unreliable income if self-employed.
Difficultly in satisfying every client, and requires a lot of energy, motivation and patience.
May have to pay fees to use gym facilities if self-employed


The average pay for Personal Trainers in the UK is £19,346 per year. Greater earnings are more likely when diversifying and/or becoming an advanced trainer, alongside greater experience.

Depending upon location, client base and experience, personal trainers can typically start at an hourly charge of £25 up to and in excess of £50 per hour. Class instructors can typically earn between £15 and £25 but again this can vary.

Further Information


National Register of Personal Trainers –

The Register of Exercise Professionals –

Fitness Industry Association –