You are here

Personal Trainer

The role

A Personal Trainer works with individual clients to help them achieve their health and fitness goals. They do this through devising and overseeing a health and fitness programme for each client.

When taking on a client, a Personal Trainer starts by finding out their objectives and by assessing their fitness levels and history.

A Personal Trainer will then work with their client to set goals to work towards, following a fitness programme that they have created. They will show a client how to follow their fitness programme and encourage them to stick to it.

Personal Trainers lead training sessions with their clients, covering cardiovascular and strength exercises. They’ll provide advice on diet and lifestyle, and monitor the progress of their client over time.

They can work for a gym, or can be self-employed and rent space in a gym, use outdoor spaces such as a park, or set up their own facilities.

How to become a Personal Trainer

Personal Trainers start as Fitness Instructors (see the Fitness Instructor job description for further information) and gain a lot of experience while taking qualifications in order to progress to the level of Personal Trainer.

The Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training is a qualification that allows candidates to join the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) at level 3, and is offered by City & Guilds, VTCT, EDI, OCR, NCFE, Active IQ, CYQ and Lifetime Awarding.

Inclusion on REPs increases a Personal Trainer’s standing in the eyes of a client. There are other courses available that can lead to the profession, details of which are included on the REPs website. Foundation degrees, BTEC HNCs or HNDs, full degrees and postgraduate qualifications in such subjects as sports therapy and sport science, coupled with a period of work experience, could be enough for level 3 entry onto REPs. Full entry is achieved through completion of a work-based qualification.

Alongside the qualification and inclusion on the REPs, Personal Trainers are also required to be covered with public liability insurance, and should also have undergone first aid training that covers CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

Skills and knowledge required

  • Good level of fitness
  • Knowledge of anatomy, physiology and nutrition
  • Good people skills
  • The ability to motivate and encourage clients
  • Tact and discretion
  • Good organisation and time management


Overall income is variable, with full-time work usually being between £18,000 and £40,000 a year. Personal Trainers are paid by the hour by a client. The amount paid can depend upon the location of a Personal Trainer, whether they’re freelance or work for a gym, and the number of clients they boast.

A guide for hourly charges is around the £30 to £40 an hour mark for most Personal Trainers, while popular candidates with top clients can earn anywhere from £50 to £100 an hour.

The hours

Hours are worked to fit in with client’s requirements, meaning that work can cross into evenings and weekends.

Useful websites - Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) - National Register of Personal Trainers - SkillsActive - City & Guilds - VTCT - EDI - OCR - NCFE - Active IQ - Central YMCA Qualifications (CYQ) - Lifetime Awarding

Career and Course Articles: 

online magazines