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 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 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, nor 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 beginning with Step 1.

Let’s get started.

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 – especially when the 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.

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.

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 a qualified personal trainer whom we are trusting to take care of our physical well-being, long-term health, and career.

There are great benefits to having a mentor. You might find someone at a nearby gym who is 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 match.

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 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 is to ensure that you learn from credible industry professionals. It is vital you learn from professionals who have proven industry experience and a solid reputation that can add validity to your future career. It takes a lot more than a qualification to be a good mentor and trainer. So, check them out to make sure you are considering trainers who are credible and reputable.

Finding a fitness course that inspires and motivates you to want to learn is half the battle in this decision-making process. 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 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 courses 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 is to balance cost with the quality of the 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 a course that doesn’t work hard for you. Make sure the course you end up choosing has been created with everything you need to succeed.

Online learning isn’t just a ‘plug-and-play’ process. Success in this industry 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 is to 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. 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.

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 a course, 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 is to find a course 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 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.

We have all seen the ‘guaranteed job placement’ headlines from the various training providers and social media posts. Too good to be true? Correct, there are no guarantees in life what you need is the knowledge and confidence, along with strong community support with access to the latest ongoing professional development.

TREAD WITH CAUTION when being promised a guaranteed job 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’ 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 course costs 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.