Personal trainer

Sport and leisure

Career outlook for personal trainer

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would encourage and motivate people to achieve their personal health and fitness goals.

You would:

  • Talk to clients to find out about their levels of health and fitness
  • Set fitness goals and plan programmes for reaching them
  • Teach clients to follow their programmes safely and effectively
  • Give clients advice on health, diet and lifestyle
  • Help clients with their workouts
  • Record clients' progress, using methods such as measuring heart rate and body fat levels

In some cases you might work full-time as a gym instructor and do personal training outside your normal hours of work.

You’d need a good understanding of healthy eating and the way the body works.

You would also need a responsible attitude to health and safety.

Working conditions


Your working hours must suit the needs of your clients, which is likely to mean working evenings and weekends. Travelling between locations would add extra time.


You could work for a gym or become self-employed. This could involve renting space in a gym, setting up your own facilities, or visiting clients in their own homes.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Positive attitude
  • Resilience
  • Verbal communication
  • Empathising
  • Developing a plan
  • Self esteem
  • Time management
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Motivating others

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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.


You would need a Level 3 qualification in Personal Training (equivalent to SCQF level 6). In order to access this course, you would normally need to already have completed a Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing - this can be completed in a variety of ways; such as through YMCA Awards, Active IQ as well as at selected colleges.

Some personal trainers have a relevant degree (SCQF level 9/10) such as sports science or sports therapy or come from a career with a strong focus on fitness such as professional sports or the Armed Services. 

Useful subjects

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

Subjects with a focus on enterprise, business, ICT or finance may also be helpful as many personal trainers are self-employed. 

You will also need

You may also require a First Aid Certificate, which includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Helpful to have

Relevant work-based qualifications such as:

  • VRQ level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing
  • Central YMCA Qualifications (CYQ)
  • Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing (Gym Based Exercise)
  • Scottish Vocational Qualification in Instructing Exercise and Fitness (level 2)

It is recommended that once you are qualified you join the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMPSA)