Fitness instructor

Fitness trainer

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Fitness instructors organise exercise programmes to improve people’s health and fitness.

Salary range: £14,000 to £30,000

How to become a fitness instructor

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by private training organisations

College

You can do a recognised qualification like:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing
  • Level 2 Diploma in Fitness and Exercise Instruction
  • Level 3 Diploma in Gym Instructing and Personal Training

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You could get into this career through an intermediate apprenticeship in exercise and fitness or as a leisure team member.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Work

You could work as a leisure centre assistant and do part-time qualifications on the job, which would allow you to apply for jobs as an instructor.

Other routes

You can do qualifications through private training companies who offer specialist courses like:

  • fitness instruction
  • personal training
  • gym instructing

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Register of Exercise Professionals and the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity for professional development and to help with your career prospects.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • a desire to help people
  • the ability to teach pupils how to do something
  • knowledge of psychology
  • physical fitness and endurance
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work on your own
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

You’ll usually need public indemnity and professional liability insurance, if you’re self-employed.

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • assessing people’s fitness and creating personal exercise programmes
  • demonstrating activities, exercise machines and weights
  • helping people exercise safely
  • leading group exercise classes like circuit training or aerobics
  • giving advice on healthy eating and lifestyle
  • keeping records
  • following health and safety guidelines and maintaining equipment
  • marketing your classes

Working environment

You could work in the community, at a school, at a health centre or in a park.

Your working environment may be physically demanding.

Career path and progression

You could take further training to become a personal trainer or teach extra activities.

With experience and qualifications, you could become a senior instructor or manager. You could also start your own fitness club.

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