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How to Become a Personal Trainer in Australia

September 20, 2023
6 minute read

If you’re reading this – chances are you're passionate about fitness and want to turn that enthusiasm into a rewarding career. Becoming a personal trainer in Australia is a popular choice for many who are eager to inspire others on their fitness journeys. 

In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps and requirements necessary to become a personal trainer Down Under.

Step 1: Understand the Requirements:

In Australia, personal trainers are required to have specific qualifications to practice. There are two primary certifications:

Upon completing this Certification, the individual will be a qualified “Group Fitness Instructor” and a qualified “Gym Fitness Instructor”. 

As the names may suggest

  • A Group Fitness Instructor may plan and deliver group exercise sessions where the level of personalised instruction and ongoing client monitoring is LIMITED. 
  • A Gym Fitness Instructor can develop gym-based programs for individuals where the level of personalised instruction and ongoing client monitoring is LIMITED. 

This qualification is essentially the ‘entry level’ qualification for someone wanting to work in the fitness industry.

Upon completing this Certification, the individual will be a qualified “Personal Trainer”. 

A Personal Trainer may plan and deliver exercise in many different environments, such as

  • Gym Based
  • Group Based
  • Outdoor
  • Online

The major difference between a “Personal Trainer” and a “Fitness Instructor” is that a Personal Trainer delivers a more personalised level of instruction and monitors the clients outside of the session, too. 

Think of it like this

  • A Fitness Instructor will write a program for a client and then show the client how to perform the exercises on their own.
  • A Personal Trainer will not only write the program for the client, but they most likely see the client for a session every week, along with checking in with the client outside of session times to make sure the client is implementing the program. 

Step 2. Choose a Registered Training Organisation (RTO):

Now that you understand what qualifications you need – the next step is choosing which Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to study with. 

At the time of writing this blog – there are over fifty RTOs that currently deliver Certificates III and IV in Fitness. Although the Certification is going to be much the same whichever RTO you choose – other things will vary, such as 

  • Which elective units are taught
  • Online vs Face to Face
  • Support
  • Practical components 
  • Price
  • Duration

So make sure before committing, you do your due diligence and ensure you choose an RTO that works best for you! 

Important: All RTOs have an RTO Number – if you’re looking to study with an organisation that does NOT have an RTO number – note that they are not registered, and their qualifications won’t be recognised. 

Step 3. Complete the Necessary Training:

Once you’ve registered for your Certificate III and IV in Fitness with an RTO – the next step is to actually complete the necessary training. 

Undergoing proper training will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary for the job. This can include:

  • Anatomy and physiology knowledge
  • Nutrition principles
  • Exercise prescription
  • Client assessment

During your personal trainer course, you'll likely also complete a set number of hours of practical work in a gym environment. This hands-on experience is invaluable and will prepare you for the real world of personal training.

Step 4. Gain First Aid and CPR Certifications:

Once you’ve completed your Certificate III and IV in Fitness – the next step is to complete a First Aid (and CPR course). It's a mandatory requirement for all personal fitness trainers in Australia to have current first aid and CPR certifications. These are essential skills that can prove vital in emergencies. 

Even if you have completed your Certificate III in IV in Fitness – if you do not have your First Aid and CPR certifications complete and current – you won’t be able to register with a fitness registration body and won’t be able to work as a Personal Trainer.

Note: At the time of writing this blog, First Aid needs to be updated every three years and CPR needs to be updated every 12 months.

Step 5. Get Insured:

Once you’ve completed your Certificate III and IV in Fitness and have your First Aid / CPR up to date, the next step is to get insured.  

Before you begin training clients, you must ensure you have the appropriate insurance coverage. In Australia, personal trainers are recommended to have public liability and professional indemnity insurance. This protects you against potential claims related to injuries or advice you give clients.
The common insurance companies in the fitness industry are Guild, Marsh and BizCover.

Personal trainer working with a new female client

Step 6. Register with a Fitness Organisation:

Once you’re qualified and have your first aid and insurance, you are now able to officially register as a Personal Trainer with a fitness registration body. The leading fitness registration body in Australia is AUSactive

While not mandatory, being a member of AUSactive can lend credibility to your services and keep you updated with industry standards and practices.

Step 7. Start Working

Once you have all the above, you are ready to start working as a Personal Trainer. There are endless options – however, most Personal Trainers usually do one of two things

1: Work in a gym

2: Work for themselves

Most Personal Trainers usually start working in a gym and then decide whether they want to stay there or branch out on their own.

Step 8. Develop Your Niche:

While general personal training is great, having a niche or speciality can set you apart in a crowded market. 

Your niche could be training a specific demographic (e.g. older adults, pregnant / post-natal women, kids, etc.), or it could be a specific type of training (e.g. hypertrophy, weight loss, HIIT, sport-specific etc.).

Remember, you don’t need to have a niche as soon as you’re qualified. Most newly qualified trainers will train anyone and everyone to get experience and will narrow down once they know their preferences.

Step 9. Continuous Learning:

In the ever-evolving world of fitness and health, staying current is not merely a preference but a necessity for personal trainers. Australia, with its burgeoning health-conscious population and rapidly growing fitness industry, recognises the vital role that educated trainers play in promoting healthy lifestyles. This makes continuing education a pivotal aspect of a personal trainer’s career journey. By pursuing advanced courses, workshops, and certifications, trainers not only expand their repertoire of skills but also keep abreast with the latest research, trends, and best practices in the industry. This ensures they deliver safe, effective, and innovative training programs to their clientele.

Moreover, in a competitive landscape like Australia’s fitness sector, trainers who invest in their ongoing education often find themselves at a distinct advantage. Clients and employers alike are increasingly prioritising trainers who demonstrate commitment to professional growth, as it’s an indicator of their dedication to providing the highest quality service. Additionally, many professional organisations and governing bodies in Australia require personal trainers to earn continuing education credits (CECs) to maintain their certification status. Thus, continuous learning is not just about professional differentiation—it’s about adhering to industry standards and ensuring the trainer remains a trusted authority in their field.

Step 10. Build Your Business and Network:

Whether you're working in a gym or starting your own business, it's crucial to build your brand and network. Engage with your community, attend local events, offer free workshops, and utilise social media to your advantage. Word of mouth and recommendations are potent tools in the personal training industry. Building a reliable and robust network not only helps in acquiring new clients but also in gaining insight into the latest industry trends and practices. Remember, a successful personal trainer is not just adept at fitness training but is also a savvy entrepreneur.

Your brand represents your unique approach and philosophy towards fitness and health. By consistently showcasing your expertise, sharing success stories, and offering valuable content, you can build a strong online and offline presence. Collaborating with local businesses, partnering for events, or even hosting webinars can further establish your reputation. Moreover, joining professional organisations or groups dedicated to fitness in Australia can be invaluable. These platforms provide opportunities to meet peers, share knowledge, and even gain referrals. By actively nurturing relationships and continuously expanding your network, you lay the foundation for a sustainable and flourishing career in personal training.

Conclusion:

That’s how to become a Personal Trainer 

Remember, becoming a personal trainer is a journey of dedication and continuous learning. It's a profession that offers the reward of making a direct impact on someone's health and well-being. By following the steps outlined above, you'll be well on your way to carving a successful and fulfilling career in the Australian fitness industry. Remember, it's not just about the certifications but the passion, commitment, and desire to make a difference in others' lives.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

If you're motivated to make a lasting impact in the fitness industry and are looking for comprehensive courses and packages to kickstart your journey, consider Fitness Education Online. Explore our range of courses and get started today!

Remember, every great fitness journey starts with a single step. Take yours now and mould a prosperous future as an esteemed personal trainer in Australia.

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Fitness Education Online are one of the leading providers in the world when it comes to the professional development of Personal Trainers. We have over 30 registered AUSactive CEC courses.  Click here to check them out!

 

About The Author: April Allyson Barcebal
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