How do you choose the right personal training course for you? This may seem like a minefield when you first start researching, so here is some unbiased information to help you choose.
Recent figures show that the UK fitness industry is currently worth close to £2 billion with around 6,700 health and fitness clubs and 9.7 million members across the country. In recent times, many personal trainers and fitness instructors have skilfully adapted their approach and now offer their training virtually.
There are currently about 189,000 people employed within the sport and fitness industry with 62,000 of these working as fitness instructors, of which 16,000 are full time. In England, it is estimated that almost 9 million people take part in some kind of fitness activity for at least 2.5 hours a week. In both Scotland and Wales, around 16% of people visit a gym or fitness class on a monthly basis and around 17% of the Northern Irish population participate in some form of keep fit activity.
Of course, the pandemic has slashed the value of the industry considerably, due to many of these gyms and health and fitness clubs being closed. It is set to rise considerably again now that fitness centres are back in business. So, it is a pretty good time to get your qualifications and become the personal trainer that the industry needs!
So, what do I need to consider when it comes to choosing a Personal Training course provider?
Well, you may have your own list of boxes that you need a course to tick and it’s important that you pick a provider that ticks them all (or at least close to them all!). Our guide aims to help you isolate the most important things to look for when choosing the personal training course that is right for you.
Check that the qualification you’ll gain from the course will be recognised by the right organisations. There are a few different awarding bodies that you might come across during your research. These act very much like exam boards and work with the provider to maintain standards and award your qualifications. Active IQ and YMCA Awards are widely considered to be the most reputable within the fitness industry, so these are names to look out for when choosing a course.
Course delivery format
How the course is delivered is especially important, if you have little time on your hands or other commitments. Some courses will require you to attend training days, others will provide a completely online offering while some may offer a mixture of online learning and attendance days. Generally, those that offer more attendance days will be more expensive, but this doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality.
It’s worth noting that all approved providers are bound to a syllabus, so course content and quality won’t vary very much between formats. It’s down to you to consider which delivery format suits you and your lifestyle best. If you’re going to be working full time and have a family to take care of, a course that is based online that you can log in to at any time may suit you better. If you’ve got more time to dedicate to your fitness qualification, you might choose to learn through set attendance days. It’s entirely up to you!
But didn’t you just say that all approved providers adhere to a syllabus? Well, yes they do but some will offer valuable extra resources that you could miss out on. Most good Level 3 Personal Training courses will cover topics such as nutrition, PT session planning and delivery but some may offer additional CPD (continued professional development) modules that suit your specific area of interest. Others may include additional material within the course essential to being a successful personal trainer such as business & sales skills, practical application and industry specific accounting information. Think about the kind of personal trainer you want to be and pick a course that will cover all the bases that you want.
Of course, this is a big factor for everyone. However, it shouldn’t be the dealbreaker when choosing your course provider. You can expect to pay anything from £500 – £4000 for a full Level 3 Personal Training certificate but the courses with the heftier price tags don’t necessarily indicate better quality.
What is important is to look at a course’s value for money. One thing to establish is what is included in the price. Some courses may appear to have a bargain price attached to them but when you look into it, you may have to pay extra for additional resources or workshops. Others may offer an option to get your Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in the same course, which often works out as highly cost-effective. Finding the highest quality course for the best price might take some time and undoubtedly a little bit of research but it will definitely be worth it in the end!
Tutors and contact time
It may be worth considering who is delivering the course and research their qualifications and experience. You might even want to have a chat with them before committing, as they may be able to advise on whether their course is really for you and your goals.
Of course, you’re going to have some questions and require some support at some point during your training. So, it’s worth considering how much contact time with your tutor you’ll be expected to have. This is particularly important to consider if the course is mostly online. Will you be able to get your questions answered at flexible times? If a human can’t be available 24/7, are there helpful resources that might be able to help instead? These are all reasonable questions to ask before committing to any personal training course, so don’t be afraid to ask them!
Before you make any kind of big investment, it’s always wise to read some reviews from previous customers. Any course provider who has been around for a while should have testimonials and at least a handful of very satisfied graduates!
TrustPilot remains a reputable source of trustworthy reviews, so it may be worth searching for course providers on there to see what people are saying. Try to find their worst review and see if what it says is enough to put you off. If it doesn’t, that provider could definitely be a serious option! Other sources for reviews are Google and the company’s own website.
Of course, the main thing to consider is what kind of fitness professional you really want to be and finding a course provider that fits that best. Try not to be swayed by low prices and try not to choose a course purely because its format or location is convenient to you. Think about where you want to be when you’ve finished the course and whether a provider can get you there.
Why Create PT?
Providing PT courses is obviously what we do, and although we wanted to provide you with some unbiased advice in this article, we’d also like to explain now why we think we tick most these boxes…
Accreditation – we are fully accredited by Active IQ, meaning our courses are internationally recognised and meet the requirements for any fitness related jobs in the UK.
Format – our course content is entirely online however we offer varying levels of interaction with tutors and assessments can be carried out in person at one of our training centres if required, plus we have workshops that can be attended in person or by video call.
All of our courses can be completed in your own time, you are not bound to deadlines or fitting your studying around our schedule, you can start whenever you’re ready and we’ll get you ready for your assessments whenever works best for you.
Content – As above, we are accredited by Active IQ so our syllabus meets all the criteria required by them. We also offer a range of extra resources to help you become the best PT possible, these include sales/marketing modules, accounting for fitness professionals, mental health awareness, animated revision guides for tricky topics such as anatomy & physiology, a PT toolkit containing a huge range of useful resources to qualified PT’s, nutrition & example training programmes and loads more.
We also offer a range of paid CPD courses that you can complete once qualified including pre & post natal, sports massage, circuit training, boxing padwork, kettlebells, training older adults and loads more.
Cost – We have tried to offer something for everyone with our 3 tiers; Foundation, Foundation Plus and All Inclusive. Ranging from £700 to £1500, our most popular option is the Foundation Plus at £1000. The tiers include a number of different add-ons such as CPD’s and additional resources, and the level of support you receive increases as you go up the tiers.
Tutors & Contact Time – We pride ourselves on the customer service and learner support that we offer. Our tutors are experts in their field with a range of backgrounds, and all are still practising personal trainers. Whichever tier you choose you’ll have a tutor on hand to answer questions usually within an hour, but never more than 24 hours.
We also have a learner forum available once you’re logged in. This is for all learners to fire questions around and get answers from tutors and other learners, it’s a great resource!