How to Become a Personal Trainer in Australia with No Previous Experience

So you’ve decided you want to become a personal trainer. And why not?

The fitness industry has experienced significant growth for the past decade, and there is no end in sight. You can make your career as a personal trainer in this exciting field.

Step By Step Guide for Aspiring Personal Trainers

So you’ve decided you want to become a personal trainer. And why not?

The fitness industry has experienced significant growth for the past decade, and there is no end in sight. You can make your career as a personal trainer in this exciting field.

Thinking about how to become a personal trainer? Fitness Industry Training has created this informative guide for people like you to show you how to turn your passion for personal training and fitness into a career, whether part-time or full-time. It will give you all the information you need to become a personal trainer, and it will help you to find the right course for you.

We want you to avoid the (expensive) mistakes and misconceptions some people make when becoming a personal trainer.

Education is a valuable investment and we want to help you invest wisely. It is important that you know what courses and personal training qualifications are available that best suit your learning needs, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to specialise in the field that you want to join.

Let’s face it, not everyone wants to be a pump instructor or a spin bike specialist, so don’t waste your money on learning fitness modalities that just don’t interest you.

Everything you need to know about becoming a qualified personal trainer in Australia and choosing the right fitness course for you while minimising the risk of getting it wrong is all here.

Let’s get started.


Step 1 – Choose whether to study online or on campus

No matter what the salesperson behind the desk or at the other end of the phone tells you, there will never be an equal substitute for hands-on learning while you develop the skills to become a personal trainer – especially when the personal training qualification has a strong practical focus.

However, in today’s world, we don’t always have the opportunity to just stop everything we are doing and head off to school to further our education in pursuit of a new and more rewarding career.

Online learning comes with the convenience of self-paced study that can fit around work, family and even your social life, but it does come with many hidden challenges that make this mode of study a risky option for those who are not disciplined or accustomed to learning via technology.

TREAD WITH CAUTION: If a salesperson tells you that online learning is suited to everyone and that it will fit into your lifestyle perfectly. Online learning isn’t for everyone, and there are many different types of learning. For example, you may prefer a course with a stronger focus on the practical side, training clients in a gym or fitness centre.

FIT’S ADVICE: If online learning is what you are looking for, ensure there is a learning option that provides practical ‘touchpoints’ along the way. For example, virtual face-to-face workshops that are interactive. Workshops like this give you the chance to speak directly with your trainer and get the answers you need, just as if you were in the gym training with them and still have the ability to connect with other students and have a discussion.

Step 2 – Find a good mentor established in the fitness industry

Getting your hands on the tools is an essential part of learning in this industry. We certainly wouldn’t like to fly in a plane with a pilot that has only ever trained on the ground in an online simulator. The same is true when it comes to selecting qualified personal trainers whom we trust to take care of our physical well-being, health and fitness goals, and career.

From supporting your physical and mental health to supporting your continuous professional development, there are great benefits to having a mentor. You might find experienced personal trainers at a nearby gym who are prepared to invest in your development and long-term career success. However, it can be a bit like finding your lifelong soul mate on dating apps — it can happen on the first date, but be prepared to have a few unsuccessful encounters before you find your perfect personal trainer mentor match who is aligned with your professional goals and your health and fitness goals.

TREAD WITH CAUTION: If a salesperson tells you that they have 100s of campuses across the country and a mentor program designed to develop you into our next TV fitness celebrity.

What you could end up with is a personal trainer who has plenty of free time throughout the day and needs some extra cash to show you how to end up with a mirror image of their less than a successful career.

What you could end up with is a PT who has plenty of free time throughout the day and needs some extra cash showing you how to end up with a mirror image of their less than a successful career.

FIT’s ADVICE: When thinking about how to become a personal trainer, it is essential to learn from credible industry professionals. It is vital you learn from professional personal trainers who have proven industry experience and a solid reputation that can add validity to your future personal training career. It takes a lot more. than a qualification to be a good mentor and successful personal trainer. So, check them out to make sure you are considering trainers who are credible and reputable.

Step 3 – Select personal training courses that motivate and inspire

Finding leading fitness instructor and personal trainer courses that inspires and motivates you to want to learn is half the battle in this decision-making process and is the first step that prepares you with the knowledge for a rewarding career. Motivation is key, otherwise, you might find yourself spending more time watching Netflix! Although self-discipline is key to achieving your study program goals, choosing a personal trainer course that engages you and motivates you to keep learning more is a vital ingredient in completing and ultimately graduating as a qualified personal trainer.

TREAD WITH CAUTION: If your decision is based entirely on price point alone. Education is an investment and a worthwhile outlay. What is important is your return on investment. Many of the cheaper personal trainer qualifications you see on the market are ‘off-the-shelf’ learning resources designed to allow you to tick all the boxes, but often with very little thought given to your practical learning experience and confidence, you need to achieve your goals.

FIT’s ADVICE: It’s essential to balance cost with the quality of the fitness instructor and PT program. We have sadly seen too many people driven towards the cheapest course only to find that what they bought was a complete waste of money.

What looked like an initial saving left them with no job, qualification, or desire to further pursue a career they were once so passionate about starting. As the age-old saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for’. Don’t waste your hard-earned money on fitness courses and fitness education that doesn’t work hard for you. Make sure the course you end up choosing has been created with everything you need to succeed as a personal trainer.

Step 4 – Consider student support and services

Online learning isn’t just a ‘plug-and-play’ process. Success in as a personal trainer doesn’t come from reading content online and submitting a couple of assessments. It comes from dedication, hard work, and constant support.

There will be times when you need to talk with trainers and/or assessors about questions that you may have on the course, career advice and study pathways. Questions are important because they will help you ensure you are covering the units that best support your vocational opportunities and career aspirations.

TREAD WITH CAUTION: When looking at courses and talking to salespeople. Many course providers engage sales desk contractors who are purely there to discuss money. They have little or no interest in your long-term career success and as such will tell you what they think you want to hear. Keep in mind that their job is to sell you a course and make a commission.

FIT’S ADVICE: Trust your gut instinct. Quite often, it will be the best measure in this instance. Try to establish whether the person you are talking to is invested in you as an individual and in the development of your personal trainer skills. They should make sure to understand your requirements and be prepared to answer all of your questions about the course and payment options without it ending in a sale.

Make sure you ask them about the course content and available student support services. Find out if there would be someone to talk to if you were to struggle with coursework or timelines and what method of communication you can expect when seeking help i.e. email, virtual face-to-face workshops, phone calls, etc.

Step 5 – Be wary of shortcut learning options

There is a great saying that there are no shortcuts to any place worth going. We regularly hear statements like “why do I need to do professional fitness programs, I have been going to the gym for years,” or “my mate owns a gym and he is going to show me everything I need to know.”

It is possible to just learn the technical know-how that will allow you to develop programs and fast-track results. But without the full range of essential skills that complement a fitness business, you are limiting yourself in a way that could affect your long-term success.

TREAD WITH CAUTION: If you are looking to bypass learning and skill development opportunities. Becoming a successful personal trainer requires learning personal skills and quality business practices that only come from experienced specialised coaches. Something we often say to prospective personal trainers is, ‘you can be the best PT on the floor but the poorest’ in more ways than one.

FIT’S ADVICE: When looking into how to become a personal trainer, you need to find fitness programs that will challenge you. If you want to be the best, look at courses that come with an arsenal of gym programs and trainers with years of knowledge and experience. The course you choose to become a personal trainer should give you not only the best value for money but a foundation that supports your journey and is equipped to support you at times when you may not get it quite right or even get it completely wrong.

Step 6 – Consider realistic employment opportunities for certified personal trainers

We have all seen the ‘guaranteed personal trainer jobs’ headlines from the various training providers and social media posts. Too good to be true? Correct, there are no guarantees in life, even once you are a certified personal trainer. What you need is knowledge and confidence in yourself when training clients, along with strong community support with access to the latest ongoing personal training and professional development.

TREAD WITH CAUTION when being promised a guaranteed job as a fitness professional or high personal trainer salary at the end of a course.

Be sure to ask exactly what the provider is promising because job placement opportunities come in many shapes and sizes and can mean many things. In many cases, ‘employment’ as a certified personal trainer often translates to paying rent in return for running your business out of a select club with which the provider has a joint arrangement.

FIT’S ADVICE is to be sure you know exactly what is on offer and what that job opportunity entails by way of guaranteed weekly income and employment arrangements.

Whether you are looking to study online or on campus, make sure you get the most out of your investment. Remember that no matter what the personal trainer qualifications cost, it is only worth your time and energy if you graduate with the skills you need to generate a future income that justifies your initial investment.

Make your passion your career, the future you will thank you.


Personal Trainer FAQs

Want to become a personal trainer in Australia? Here’s how to get started:

  1. Complete a nationally recognized qualification such as a Certificate III in Fitness. This will provide a foundation for you to start your personal trainer journey and allow you to conduct group fitness classes and provide basic nutrition advice.
  2. Next, to take it to the next level, complete a nationally recognized qualification in fitness, such as a Certificate IV in Fitness (SIS40215). This certification will give you the knowledge and skills you need to work as a personal trainer, and it typically involves a mix of both classroom learning and hands-on training.
  3. In addition to the main certification, you’ll also need to have a current First Aid certificate and complete ongoing professional development to keep your registration as a personal trainer valid. And if you want to stand out, you can also get additional certifications or specialize in areas like sports coaching or nutrition.

So, how do you find the right personal trainer course for you? You can look online or reach out to organisations such as Fitness Industry Training to get some guidance.

Certificate III in Fitness (SIS30315) is a nationally recognized qualification that provides individuals with the knowledge and skills to work as a gym instructor or in other entry-level roles in the fitness industry. It is the minimum requirement to work as a gym instructor in Australia, and it is often a prerequisite for further study in the fitness industry, including the Certificate IV in Fitness (SIS40215), which is required to work as a personal trainer or run your own professional fitness business.

Some of the benefits of completing a Certificate III in Fitness include:

  • Gaining a solid foundation in the principles of exercise science and how to apply them in a gym environment
  • Learning how to design and deliver safe and effective exercise programs supporting a range of clients in meeting their fitness goals
  • Developing practical skills in the use of gym equipment and facilities
  • Building the knowledge and skills needed to work as a gym instructor or in other entry-level roles in the fitness industry

Completing a Certificate III in Fitness can be a stepping stone towards a career in the fitness industry and can provide a solid foundation for further study and professional development.

Certificate IV in Fitness is your pathway to becoming a nationally recognised personal trainer. You will be equipped to deliver complete PT training sessions at gyms, or be your own boss and deliver sessions at home or outside, helping clients achieve their physical activity goals.


There are several ways that personal trainers can find work, including:

Working for a gym or fitness centre:

Many personal trainers are employed by gyms or fitness centres and work with clients onsite at these facilities. Depending upon their qualification, they may conduct group exercise sessions or deliver complete personal training programs.

Starting their own business: Personal trainers can also choose to start their own business and work with clients on a freelance basis. This can involve working with clients in a gym or at a location of their choice, such as a park or home.

Working with a personal training company: Some personal trainers work for companies that provide in-home or on-site personal training services to clients.

Networking: Building a strong network of contacts in the fitness industry can help personal trainers find new clients and opportunities. This can involve networking with other fitness professionals, joining fitness industry organizations, and building a strong online presence through social media and a personal website.

Overall, there are many different paths you can take as a personal trainer and finding the right one for you will depend on your skills, interests, and long-term career goals.

Are you ready to become a fitness professional?

With years of industry experience behind us, we offer top-level coaching programs that will fully prepare you for a rewarding and successful career as a personal trainer. We pride ourselves on achieving a high student completion rate and connecting our graduates with genuine employment opportunities through our fitness industry network.

Make your passion your career, the future you will thank you.