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Personal Development

How to Get a Personal Trainer Licence


Lead Academy

7 Mins Read

Personal trainers are the go-to destination for clients to develop and implement training regimens that help them achieve fitness goals. Trainers assume the responsibility of introducing their clients to exercises based on their skill levels and needs. To do this, they need to be sufficiently proficient in their own trade as well. That’s where the question of how to get a personal trainer licence comes in.

This licence shows that you’re familiar with the latest professional recommendations and findings in fitness and nutrition. In this blog, we’ll discuss how to get a personal trainer licence and more. Learn what it takes to become a personal trainer in this thriving industry. Understand the physical, psychological and emotional demands of working with an extensive client base.

Illustration explaining various tasks performed by a personal tariner

Who are Personal Trainers?

A personal trainer (PT) is a certified individual who has the knowledge, the skills and the abilities to design effective exercise programmes that are also safe. They also deliver one-to-one training.

What do personal trainers do?

Personal trainers help their clients to achieve their health and fitness goals. These goals can vary according to the client’s needs, such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Fat loss
  • Improved stamina and sports performance

A group of personal trainers in the gym

What does the Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training course do?

In a broader context, the fitness industry is widely unregulated. But a certificate is still very much relevant in fitness. Because at the end of the day, personal training is a profession nonetheless. It should be seen as such should you choose to join the industry. Without it, getting clients would prove quite tricky for you. Unless you’re popular with people, it’s best to stick to the proven methods.

One other thing is that personal trainers have varying degrees of knowledge. But they must have a Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification. Although, if you’re planning to work as a fitness coach, then a Level 2 Gym Instructor course will do; you won’t need any personal training qualifications. Let’s introduce you to them in a brief manner.

Guide to Personal Training levels

First things first. No matter your goal in the fitness industry, you’ll need a first-aid certificate regardless.

First Aid Certificate

As stated above, a first aid qualification is essential, no matter your goals. For example, a client can have an injury whilst working out with you anytime. You have to be familiar with the type of injuries that may occur in your line of profession. You should also be familiar with the first-aid procedures to address these injuries. Most first-aid certificates are valid for two to three years.

A female personal trainer showing the correct way of lifting dumbbells to a male trainee

Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification

Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification is otherwise known as the fitness instructor course. If you want to work as a gym instructor in a gym, a health club in the UK, you’ll need this qualification. It’s on the same level as a General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE).

In most cases, having the Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification is not necessary or seen as a pre-requisite for some of the Level 3 Qualifications. But you should always check with the provider of the Level 3 personal training course you are doing as different providers have different requirements.

Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification

Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification will allow you to work as a self-employed personal trainer in the UK. This is the same level as an A level or BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) National Diploma.

To get a personal trainer licence, choose whatever qualification level suits your line of work, either Level 2 or Level 3. This certificate will count as your licence to work as a certified fitness practitioner.

A male personal trainer helping a female trainee lift dumbbells

How to Get a Personal Trainer Licence?

You can get the personal trainer licences in various ways:

  • A college PT course
  • An apprenticeship
  • Applying directly

College course

One of the ways to get these certificates is through a college course. Courses include:

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

Entry requirements:

  • 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

An apprenticeship

Doing an advanced apprenticeship in personal training will also get you these certificates.

Interestingly, the same can be done in the forces (For example: the police or the military like RAF) through an apprenticeship to become a physical training instructor.

Entry requirements:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and Maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

Applying directly

If you have the qualifications and the experience as a fitness coach or gym instructor, then you can apply directly to become a personal trainer or set up your business.

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A female personal trainer providing training to her client

How Long Does it Take to Become a Certified Personal Trainer?

Level 2 Gym Instructor Qualification

If you are studying part-time, then the Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification can take around six weeks. However, with a full-time study schedule, you can complete the whole thing in approximately eight days.

Level 3 Personal Trainer Qualification

A Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification will take around five months. This is calculated considering you’re studying part-time. However, with full-time study, it will take you roughly about three weeks

plus. But, be aware of personal trainer courses that take around two weeks or less. This is because they may only provide you with a Level 2 qualification instead of the Level 3 that you’re aiming for.

How Much Does a Certified Personal Trainer Make?

Since the fitness industry is somewhat unregulated, the earning figure of a personal trainer varies. However, if you take just the certified personal trainers, then you can figure out an average.

If we consider the earning figures of a personal trainer, it varies wildly. As a benchmark, a session costs between £30 to £65. These sessions are usually in the range of 45 minutes to an hour-long. However, prices in London are generally higher, costing £40-65 per session.

This cost of a personal training session is separate from your membership. You have to pay your personal trainer directly. You’ll have to speak to a personal trainer directly about how much they charge. Some personal trainers offer discounts for bulk sessions.

A female fitness trainer having discussion with her client

Main Role of a Personal Trainer

The primary role of a Personal Trainer is to provide support and guidance to clients, helping them identify achievable targets and plan individual fitness regimes enabling them to achieve their goals.

Skills and knowledge

The main set of skills and knowledge that you’ll typically need to work as a personal trainer are-

  • Customer service and communication skills.
  • Knowledge of psychology like theories of motivation.
  • Knowledge of teaching and the ability to design fitness programmes.
  • The ability to work on your own.
  • To be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
  • The ability to teach people how to do something.
  • Physical fitness and endurance.
  • Physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace.
  • Patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.


The field of personal training is not for everyone. It requires focus and endurance- both from your body and your mind. Individuals who coped with the psychological and physical demands of the personal trainer industry are now highly successful. Only you can decide whether you have the drive to become a personal trainer.

Read this blog carefully to understand how to get a Personal Trainer licence. If you have what it takes and want to pursue a full-fledged career in the fitness industry, you could very well look at the Level 3 Personal Trainer qualification. However, if your goal is to become a gym instructor, then a Level 2 Gym Instructor qualification will do just fine.

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