How to become a personal trainer

How to become a personal trainer

If you've always had a passion for health and fitness and want to become a personal trainer to teach this to others, you’ll need the training – and the insurance.

There's never been a better time to share your passion for health - personal training is now one of the fastest-growing industries in the UK, with the market value of fitness rising to £5.1billion in 2019.

For those with a passion for it, becoming a personal trainer can be an incredibly rewarding job, in more ways than one. Rather than being stuck behind a desk in a job to get you by, you can make a gym, a studio or even the park your office. You’ll reap the rewards of a healthy salary with a strong client base, and benefit from the knowledge of helping others get fit, healthy, and confident.

Once you decide you want to become a personal trainer, you need to find out how. Read on to find out more about required qualifications, athletic specialisms and the unique personal trainer insurance types you will need before you get started.

Get the right qualifications

To become a personal trainer, you'll first need to gain experience and earn recognised qualifications. These are:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Health, Fitness and Exercise Instruction
  • Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing – Gym
  • Level 2 Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness

You can also go on further by gaining Level 3 qualifications that are more specific to the career of a personal trainer. These include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training
  • Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training

Of course, the courses for instructing any sort of fitness activity can get even more specific. For example, yoga teachers will often have an accredited course certificate to demonstrate their teaching abilities.

While building up your collection of diplomas and recognised certificates can certainly help you land a job as a personal trainer, they’re not always necessary. Many personal training schools other offer qualifications that don’t require the above as pre-requisites and will educate you from the ground up.

Join a personal trainer association

Another excellent way of demonstrating your skills, experience and competence would be to become a member of a professional organisation. The National Register of Personal Trainers (NRPT) or the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) are both well-established and authoritative organisations for personal trainers and being a member will present you as a credible and well-connected health and fitness professional. This shows you take your reputation seriously and is likely to help improve your career prospects.

If you are currently a qualified fitness instructor, there is a course you can take that will change your status to that of 'personal trainer', allowing you to change your REPs membership status to 'personal trainer'. This is aptly-named the Level 3 Award in Conversion of Advanced Fitness Instructor to Personal Trainer Status. More information can be found on the REPs and NRPT websites:

Choose your specialism

You may decide to take further, more specialised courses to increase your skills. The most common areas of fitness specialties are aerobics, yoga, Pilates, bodybuilding and dance. There are also specific courses available if you decide to work with those recovering from illness or injury. By becoming a specialist in a certain personal training area, you may be able to carve out a niche and become known as the 'go to' trainer in your area for that type of exercise. Of course, you will need to have a first aid award (including your CPR certificate).

Protect yourself with insurance

Arranging the correct personal trainer insurance cover is vital for your new personal training venture. There are several types of cover personal trainers should consider before starting their career. Some are broad for the collective industry while others are more tailored to specialised PTs.

Professional indemnity insurance

Professional indemnity insurance will cover you against allegations of professional negligence. This type of cover is crucial if you are advising clients on their fitness routine and how to undertake exercises. If any of your clients allege that your advice or guidance was inadequate or sub-standard, having this cover will protect you from legal claims and potential costs.

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance for personal trainers covers against many of the slips, trips and falls that are commonly associated with claims nowadays - this could be, for example, if a client were to trip over a mislaid weight during a boot camp session and injure themselves.

Occupational personal accident cover

While training others, you will more than likely need to give a presentation of how things are done. However, even the professionals can suffer injury while working. If you incur and injury while training a client that will keep you out of work, occupational personal accident PT insurance can help provide you with an income.

Other insurance to consider

You may also want to cover important business equipment - such as smartphones, laptops and sound systems - against loss or damage.

In addition, legal expenses insurance can help you in the event of a contract dispute with a client, or cover the costs involved with a tax investigation.


Beginning a career as a personal trainer and fitness instructor is an exciting professional move. Once you’ve built up your clientele and have set up a consistent working pattern, you’ll soon be reaping the financial and emotional rewards of your new job. In all the excitement, don’t forget to protect yourself professionally with personal trainer insurance.

Find out more about Markel’s insurance for personal trainers.

Business insurance from £5 a month