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How difficult is a Personal Trainer Course?

January 26, 2024
4 minute read

I’ve been a Personal Trainer for a number of years, alot of people always ask me, ‘I’m thinking about becoming a Personal Trainer but how difficult is a Personal Trainer Course?’.

Well, that’s what I’m going to answer in this blog here.
The answer to this question, isn’t a simple answer like ‘easy’ or ‘hard’. There are a number of aspects that play into the answer. Let's look deeper into these aspects. We’ll cover:

  • What you already know
  • How you like to learn
  • Resources available

Firstly, before going into more detail about the difficulty level of a Personal Trainer Course, it’s important to know that because a Personal Training course is government accredited (Certificate IIII in Fitness - SIS30321 and Certificate IV in Fitness - SIS40221), all the colleges need to go by the same curriculum or very similar curriculum.

How difficult is a Personal Trainer Course?

Now, onto the big question – How hard is a Personal Trainer course?
The difficulty of a personal trainer course depends on a few things:

  • What you already know
  • How you like to learn
  • Resources available

What you already know

Even though all the content is the same for everyone, everyone’s experience is different. Like anything in life, if you are studying to be a chef and you are used to cooking home cooked meals every day, you will find it much easier than a 16 year old straight out of school who is just starting out on their journey and hasn’t cooked much so far in their life. It’s the same thing with fitness. For example, if you are someone that has been training for years, played sports at school, listens to podcasts and read books on health and fitness, then you will probably find it easier than someone who has just started to step into the gym. On the other hand, if you are the person who has just started in the gym, no problem, a lot of people do the course when they are starting out. You may just find it a little bit more difficult than someone who has a lot more experience than you.

How do you like to learn?

You can usually do the course in 3 different ways:
-Online and self paced
-In person
-Hybrid, a mix of both online and in person.

The advantage of Online; It allows the flexibility to do it in your own time. For example, when the kids are asleep at night or when you have a free moment.

The limitation of Online; There is no accountability. For me, I’ve lost count of the number of times, I have bought an online course and never logged into it.

On the Flip side for face to face;
From a time perspective, it’s very rigid, you have to be there at a certain time, no flexibility.
However the positive is that there is that accountability to keep you showing up and on track.
When looking into the course, choose which one works better for you and what learning method suits you best.


The other thing is resources. The colleges will give you some sort of resources, but each is different in terms of resources and support that you get.

The other really important resource is the resources outside of the course. Are you a member of a gym? A Bootcamp? Have you got somewhere you can do your prac at? Have you got a friend or family member that is a Personal Trainer bounce ideas off? Do you have a Personal Trainer yourself? Do you have someone that you would like to Mentor you? Do you have websites and podcasts that you listen to? The more external resources that you have, the easier the course will be to do.

The Importance of Practical Experience

One of the distinguishing factors that contribute to the perceived difficulty of personal trainer courses is the emphasis on practical experience. Personal trainer courses aren't just about hitting the books. Beyond the textbooks and lectures, you're expected to flex your knowledge in real-world scenarios. We're talking about:

  • Recognising and applying exercise considerations for specific groups of individuals,
  • Crafting workout plans,
  • Doing fitness assessments,
  • Instructing fitness programs
  • Understanding your clients.

Sure, it's hands-on, which makes the learning ride more exhilarating. But for newbies, it's like trying to parallel park for the first time. Tricky, but you'll get the hang of it with practice and perseverance. The very things that you will be telling your Personal training clients to do in the future.

Ongoing Education: A Lifelong Commitment

The journey of a personal trainer doesn't end with the completion of a basic certification. In fact, ongoing education is a fundamental aspect of maintaining relevance and excellence in the fitness industry. Advanced certifications, workshops, and continued learning opportunities are essential for personal trainers to stay abreast of the latest research, trends, and techniques.

The commitment to lifelong learning is what sets exceptional personal trainers apart. Those who embrace the challenge of staying updated with industry advancements find themselves better equipped to adapt to the evolving needs of their clients and provide top-notch service.

In Conclusion: The Sweat is Worth It

So, how difficult is a Personal Trainer Course?

Is it a walk in the park? No, it's more like a sprint through an obstacle course – challenging, but the kind of challenge that levels you up. The rewards? Personal and professional growth that's off the charts. The hands-on experience during the course is your golden ticket to a successful fitness career. And committing to ongoing education? That's your VIP pass to being the cream of the fitness crop.

As discussed and mentioned above, some people are going to fly through it in a matter of weeks or it may take you a matter of years. Either way is fine, if it is what you want to do, it’s a rewarding career.

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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: Jono Petrohilos
Online Course Creator I 2020 Fitness Australia Educator of the Year

Jono is the co-founder and director at Fitness Education Online. Fitness Education Online is one of the leading providers in the world when it comes to delivering online education to Fitness Professionals, providing over 30 registered CEC courses.

Fitness Education Online is also the admins of the largest Facebook Group in Australia / New Zealand for Fitness Professionals (Fitness Education Online Community Facebook Group).

Jono is also a qualified Exercise Physiologist, best selling author (The Bootcamp Blueprint), and the host of the successful podcast “Fitness Education Online Podcast”.

Jono is the current 2020 Fitness Educator of the Year (awarded by Fitness Australia)

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