The health and fitness industry in the UK has been booming in recent years as more people are becoming aware of, and are growing concerned by, the UK's growing rates of obesity and obesity-related illnesses.
For fitness enthusiasts considering changing career paths in the new year, there has never been a better time to consider starting a career as a personal trainer. However, if you have been considering becoming a personal trainer, you may be wondering what steps you should take to build your career.
To help get you started, here is a quick overview of everything you need to know about finding a job as a personal trainer.
Get Proper Qualification
Before you can begin researching jobs in personal training, it is critical that you get the right qualification.
While not all PT jobs will require a degree, getting qualified will not only provide you with the skills necessary to build a career as a personal trainer, but it will also provide you with more opportunities and it will help prospective employers/clients to take you more seriously.
The minimum qualification you will need is a Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instruction. This will allow you to work in the fitness industry on the gym floor.
To become a personal trainer however, a Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training is required in the UK.
Completing these industry recognised programs will give you the qualifications to start your personal training career.
Consider A First Aid Course
Another step you should consider taking when preparing for a career in personal training is to get training and qualification in basic first aid.
Not only will having this training be useful in case an emergency should arise on the job, but it will also demonstrate to clients that you are dedicated to safety.
Additionally, since many employers require personal trainers to obtain first aid qualification, getting first aid certified will show initiative and may set you apart from other applicants as you begin applying to open positions.
Get Some Experience
As you work toward getting the proper certifications needed to become a personal trainer, you should try to get some entry-level experience that you can put on your resume; this can be particularly critical for those who have never worked as a fitness instructor or gym instructor before as it will give you exposure to the industry.
One of the best ways to do this is to apply to work at a local gym. This will give you an opportunity to observe other fitness professionals and get a feel for how the industry works.
You may also want to consider asking a successful personal trainer if you can shadow them as this will help you to learn what it takes to be a good personal trainer.
Stay In Shape
As you begin looking for jobs in personal training, it is critical that you maintain your physique by continuing to work out and eat healthily.
While aspiring personal trainers are often in good shape, it can be easy to let your workout routine slide as you become overwhelmed by your certification courses and the stress of searching for a job. However, as a personal trainer, clients and employers will be looking at your body as an indicator of your fitness knowledge and skills.
Maintaining your health is then critical in order to find a job and bring in new clients, as you will become a walking advertisement for your personal training business.
Where Can I Look For Jobs?
Once you obtain the proper qualifications it will be time to begin looking for personal trainer positions in your area. However, for those new to the industry, it can be difficult to know where to start your jobs search.
Here are a few places you can start as you begin looking for personal training jobs.
- Local Leisure Centres: Local leisure centres, health clubs or gyms are great places to start your job search. These facilities often have openings for personal trainers, and with how much the fitness industry has been expanding it is likely that there are multiple facilities close to you, which would allow you to work near your home.
- Nationwide and Boutique Gyms: If you prefer to work for a company that has more brand recognition consider Pure Gym, David Lloyd, or Virgin Active, as they most likely have gyms near you. Boutique gyms such as Equinox or Revolution Personal Training Studios are another option as well. These types of gyms tend to get more traffic which means more job opportunities for you.
- Hotels and Spas: One place you may not have considered applying for a personal trainer job would be at a hotel or spa. Many hotels and spas have fitness centres available to their guests, and many keep personal trainers on staff to work with patrons. Not only would a hotel job provide you with experience working with a wide range of people, but working at a high-end facility may help you to make connections with investors who could help you start your own fitness centre later on.
- Job Boards: If you have a difficult time finding companies/facilities with job openings you can apply to, online job boards are another great place to find personal trainer positions. While it is always helpful to start by looking at generic job boards such as Indeed and LinkedIn for openings, there are also websites specific to the fitness and leisure industry where it may be easier for you to find suitable positions.
Finding the right places to apply can help you to maximize your chances of getting interviews in those critical months after finishing your training programs.
Make sure that you refresh your CV to highlight your experience and training before applying to jobs in order to help your applications to stand out.
Prepare For The Interview
Once you start applying to jobs, it is likely that you will begin to start hearing from businesses about interviews within weeks, or even days, after you start applying. This makes it important that you start preparing for interviews now so that you are ready when the time comes.
Aside from practising answers to standard interview questions, here are a few steps you can take to prepare for personal training interviews.
Dress to Impress:
It is not uncommon for new personal trainers to be unsure how they should dress to an interview. Should they wear fitness attire, or should they dress nicely as you would for most job interviews?
Even though you are applying for a fitness position, it is still important that you dress to impress for the interview. Wear nice clothes to make a good first impression, however, you should also bring gym clothes in case you are asked to give a practical demonstration. Having these outfits ready at all times will ensure you are prepared when you are offered an interview. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer beforehand how you should dress, as this is a totally acceptable question given the industry and circumstance.
Prepare a Demonstration:
Many first-time interviewees are also caught off-guard by the practical portion of the personal trainer interview; however, it is not uncommon for interviewers to ask you to demonstrate an exercise or give a mock fitness tutorial so that they can see how you would work with customers. You should then take some time before the interview to practice demonstrating exercises, and teaching fitness routines to family and friends, in order to ensure that you are prepared in case you are asked to give a demonstration during your interviews.
Consider Going Freelance
While there are many jobs available for personal trainers at gyms and health clubs, a majority of personal trainers are freelance. This allows them to be self-employed and work from wherever they'd like. However, in order to be successful, freelance personal trainers must be able to build their business and develop a client base.
If you think working for yourself would be right for you, you can get started by:
Training Family and Friends for Free:
When you first start your personal training business, it will be critical for you to get exposure for yourself and your work, which may require you to do some discounted, or free, training sessions. Start by training your family and friends, and offer them free sessions on the condition that they write a review for your website or social media accounts. Family and friends are a great place to start as they are likely to talk about you to friends and co-workers, which will likely lead to new clients as people see your work shaping those around you.
Developing an Online Presence:
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to gain exposure for your personal training business is to develop an online presence. Developing business accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and posting on these platforms frequently, can go a long way in helping your business to grow early on. Do not be afraid to ask people close to you to follow these pages and share your posts, and you should consider asking customers (or friends) to post testimonials about your work. You may even want to try posting short video clips of sessions with clients that highlight your abilities.
Getting The Right Insurance:
If you plan to go freelance, it is also important that you invest in liability insurance. Insurance is critical for personal trainers as it will protect both you and your clients in the event that an injury, or property damage, occurs during a training session. Investing in insurance is not only a smart move in order to protect yourself, but it also demonstrates to clients your professionalism and your commitment to safety.
Take A Business Development Course
Whether or not you decide to work for yourself or a local health club, you should consider taking a business development course for personal trainers. Even personal trainers who work within a health facility are essentially business owners, as it is generally your responsibility to scout potential clients and pitch the need for personal training to them.
Taking a business development course will help you to develop your customer service skills, which will help you to foster your business as it continues to grow.
Let’s recap what we have talked about so far in this article:
- Get the proper qualifications - this means you are well-trained and ready to deliver actionable, expert results to your clients on a broad range of fitness subjects and practices
- Take a First Aid course or other supplementary courses for more experience. And while you are at it, gain as much experience as you can in the field.
- Stay in shape to look the part and to help you stand out during your interview preparation.
- For your interview, dress to impress and make sure you are ready to demonstrate all necessary movements.
- Remember that going freelance is always an option! You don’t have to work at a commercial gym, if you don’t want to.
- Take a business development course to learn marketing and personal training networking for your business.
Finding your dream job as a personal trainer requires learning both hard and soft skills. Fortunately, acquiring those skills and the experience that comes along with them will make it much easier to find a job as a personal trainer in the future.
Follow the tips above and you should be well on your way towards a bright career as a personal trainer. Contact us for more advice about starting your career as a personal trainer, contact us today!