Fitness instructor

health and fitness instructor personal trainer
Sport and leisure
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would lead people in exercise activities and advise them on healthy eating. You’d motivate and inspire them to get fitter and healthier.

You’d organise group and individual exercise programmes for your clients. You could offer a range of activities or specialise in a particular one, such as:

  • Keep fit
  • Aquacise (exercise in water)
  • Weight training
  • Yoga
  • Pilates

You might also work with specific groups of people such as older adults, children, people with disabilities or people referred by doctors.

You would:

  • Assess a person’s fitness and ask them about their goals
  • Show people the health club facilities
  • Demonstrate exercise activities
  • Show people how to use exercise machines and free weights properly
  • Make sure people exercise safely and effectively
  • Lead group exercise classes, like circuit training, aerobics or spinning
  • Create personal exercise programmes
  • Advise people about healthy eating and lifestyles

You’d be outgoing and friendly to encourage people, who may not be used to exercise, to enjoy it and keep on coming to the training sessions.

As well as being healthy and fit yourself, you’d know about nutrition and healthy diets. A responsible attitude to health and safety is important.

In small health and fitness clubs you may carry out routine duties, such as working at reception and the swimming pool, and doing health and safety checks.

Working conditions

Hours

As a full-time fitness instructor, you would usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, often on a shift or rota basis covering early mornings, evenings and weekends. Many instructors work part-time or freelance (self-employed).

Environment

You could work in gyms, health clubs or leisure centres. If you are self-employed, you may also run classes in places like school halls or community centres.

Travel

If you run classes in the community you you will need to travel locally.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Persuading people
  • Being tactful
  • Being physically fit

Build your skills

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5.

Many applicants have a relevant sports, fitness or coaching HNC/HND (SCQF level 7/8) or a degree (SCQF 9/10).  

You could get into this job through a Modern Apprenticeship in Active Learning, Leisure and Wellbeing (SCQF Level 5/6).

To enter an HNC or HND course usually requires National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

Entry to a degree (SCQF level 9/10) requires National 5 qualifications and at least three Highers. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • physical education
  • science subjects in particular biology, human biology and chemistry
  • Health and food technologies

You will also need

  • To pass a fitness test for entry to some courses and jobs.
  • A First Aid Certificate, which includes a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificate, for some roles
  • Lifeguard qualifications, for some roles.

It is recommended that once you are qualified you join the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). 

Helpful to have

Recognised work-based qualifications in fitness instruction such as Instructing Exercise and Fitness at (SVQ level 2)

Qualifications that show skills in health, fitness and working with others such as the Sports Leaders UK Youth Award or Skills for Work Sports and Recreation (SCQF level 4/5)