What qualifications do Personal Trainers need?

February 9, 2017

Last updated: August 19, 2022

Making the decision to become a Personal Trainer represents an exciting time, as a career in the fitness industry is certainly one which can be both rewarding and profitable. Indeed, the sector is steadily growing and is now worth over £5 billion.

The main question at the start of your journey, however, should be “what qualification do I need to become a Personal Trainer?”. This article will look at some key considerations.

Industry Endorsement

It is important to recognise the fitness sector’s regulatory body; the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport & Physical Activity (CIMSPA). CIMSPA has many roles within the sector, one being the development and/or endorsement of quality training and qualifications. To start with, it is important to select a training provider who is a CIMSPA Endorsed Training Provider Partner.

How do I know who is endorsed?

To do this you need to use a useful tool on the CIMSPA website which can be found here. This tool will allow you to check if any provider you are looking at is genuinely endorsed by CIMSPA. (Tip: just because a provider chooses to display the CIMSPA logo does not necessarily mean that they are endorsed – always do this check).

What course do I need to look for?

To be a qualified Personal Trainer, you need to look for a CIMSPA endorsed Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training. Before you do this, you will also need to complete a Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing – however most providers will offer these two as one course. It is important to note that all CIMSPA PT qualifications have Level 3 Nutrition automatically embedded.

Who awards my PT qualification?

Training providers do not award qualifications – it is the awarding body that does this (in the same way as a school would with an exam board), so always check to see what awarding body a provider is partnering with. The largest awarding body within the sector is Active IQ, however there are many more. (Tip: The awarding body issues your certificate, so think about awarding body you want your certificate from as some may be more recognisable than others).

Do I need anything else to get started?

A Level 3 PT Diploma is all that is needed to get started, however some providers offer additional qualifications such as Level 4 Advanced PT, or Level 4 Nutrition. These are not essential, but you may wish to look at these to progress your knowledge further. There are also numerous additional qualifications that can be studied further down the line.


To become a Personal Trainer, you need to achieve a CIMSPA Level 3 Personal Training qualification from a CIMSPA endorsed training provider. This way you can be sure that you are choosing recognised, industry endorsed training that has been properly quality assured. Whilst there are many providers offering such courses, a reputable Personal Trainer course provider is Study Active who are a long-standing CIMSPA-endorsed Training Provider Partner.

Hopefully this article has been a useful step is choosing the best Personal Trainer course for you, and we wish you the best of luck with your career in the fitness sector.

Once you have those qualifications in place, make sure you’re covered with our comprehensive Personal Trainer Insurance.

Further sources:

CIMSPA  https://www.cimspa.co.uk

Study Active https://studyactive.co.uk

Active IQ https://www.activeiq.co.uk



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