This guide is part of our detailed series:
How to Become a Personal Trainer in the UK.
Training children might not be the first thing people think of when they picture
a personal trainer’s job – but today, children are working with fitness professionals
more than ever.
Working with children and young adults is a specialist area of personal training
and therefore requires some additional skills – as well as the right kind of attitude.
Here, we’ll take a look at how to become a personal trainer for kids in more
detail – including:
- Children’s fitness qualifications
- The kinds of children you might be working with
- Where health and fitness professionals can find roles working with kids
- Working with children with additional needs
We’ll also give you some advice that will help you pick the right training provider
so your career or specialism gets off to the best possible start.
Can children have a personal trainer?
Yes, children can have a personal trainer – and it’s probably more common than
most people think.
From helping kids increase their physical activity through to working with specialist
trainers to prepare for sporting events, PT for children has never been more popular.
Personal training for children is understandably different to the training adults
would expect. Hitting the squat rack and battle ropes is definitely going to give
way to delivering fun and engaging sessions that keep kids interested and hungry
to do more.
As well as having a qualification that meets the Level 3 standard set by the
Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), the best personal trainers for children
will also understand the kind of attitudes and approaches that work will with youngsters.
Kids rarely respond well to people who act superior to them – so meeting them at
their level, listening to their likes and dislikes, and maintaining a good trainer/client
relationship is a vital part of taking the kids you work with towards their goals.
How is a child personal trainer certification different?
A children’s personal training course or kids fitness instructor course does
look a little different to a
standard PT course.
For example, our Level
2 Children’s Fitness Instructor course includes the following:
- Anatomy & physiology for exercise & health
- Principles of exercise, fitness & health
- Supporting clients in exercise & physical activity
- Health, safety & welfare in a fitness environment
- Planning and instructing health-related exercise & physical activity
Considering a growing child’s physiology is very different to the considerations
you need to make about an adult’s physiology – and health, safety, and welfare when
working with children includes a host of things that are specific to working with
Ultimately though, working with children and adults involves the same core knowledge
and practice – but experience working with children and a specialist qualification
will certainly give you career a boost and help you stand out from the crowd.
Personal training for children with additional needs
Scope – the
charity that works for equality for disabled people –
around 8% of children in the UK have a disability or learning difficulties.
This means over 1,000,000 UK kids have an additional barrier that may stand in the
way of being able to maintain health or access sport and fitness facilities.
Many people get into the fitness industry to work specifically with people who
have additional needs – and working with kids who have additional needs can be exceptionally
If you’d like to pursue a career working with children who have physical needs
or learning disabilities, it’s a great idea to explore dedicated qualifications
that focus on exercise with disabled clients or exercise and disability. Recent
years have seen the Paralympics and other high profile disability sporting events
really begin to reach wider audiences – so there’s never been a better time to help
children with extra needs achieve their sporting or fitness dreams.
Where can personal trainers work with children?
From traditional gym and leisure centre settings through to children’s sports
clubs, schools and education facilities, and even working directly for parents –
there are countless settings and scenarios that can have you positively influencing
Working for parents
Some PTs work directly for the parents or carers of children who need some support
with their fitness.
There are any number of reasons behind a parent’s wish for children to take fitness
more seriously. Adults might want to encourage obese children to get involved in
physical activity they enjoy to avoid health problems – or it may be that kids are
involved in competitive sport and the support of PT can help them take their sport
to the next level.
Children’s sports clubs
Sports clubs will often employ a personal trainer to work with individuals or
groups to maximise training sessions and give their team the competitive edge.
While many sport’s clubs are run by people enthusiastic about their sport, very
few have a kid’s fitness instructor or PT on the team – which can offer a huge advantage
in competitions and attracting young talent.
Gyms, leisure centres, and health clubs
An increasing number of leisure centres and gyms are actively looking to
engage younger audiences. For PTs, this means taking existing skills and
adapting exercises to fit children and teenagers – while keeping sessions fun
and engaging, Offering additional activities such as teaching yoga for kids is
highly appealing to health clubs.
Schools and educational facilities
Schools regularly employ specialists and specialist companies to bring exciting
sports to children – and this is increasingly the case with more serious personal
As high-profile sportspeople showcase the importance of physical fitness when
it comes to success in their chosen sport, more and more parents and children are
encouraging schools to think beyond just football and netball clubs – and start
engaging children more seriously in benefits of strength, stamina and overall fitness.
How long do youth fitness certifications take?
How long it takes to get a children’s fitness qualification will depend on how
you decide to learn. A full-time in-person course will generally take between 5-6
weeks – whereas a part-time distance learning course may take 6-12 weeks, depending
on your location and how you pace your learning and practical assessments.
What’s the best personal training certification for kids?
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s essential that the course you choose meets the
standard set by the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).
For a level 2 kids fitness instructor course, you’ll need to find a provider
that meets the RQF level 2 standard. For level 3 personal trainer courses, you’ll
be looking for a provider that meets the RQF level 3 standard.
Beyond this, we’d encourage anyone who wants to get involved with children’s
fitness (or potentially launch their own business keeping kids physically active)
to dig a little deeper into the quality of the provider you choose. Consider the
Reviews: What do other people like you think of the qualification,
the tutors, and the overall support?
Support: What happens if you run into problems or need help?
Does the provider offer learner support?
Experience: Does the training provider have plenty experience
training successful kids PTs and delivering Continued Professional Development (CPD)
Flexibility: Does the provider offer a range of learning options?
For instance, online learning, distance learning, and in-person courses.
When you find a provider that offers all of these things – you’ve found the springboard
you need to launch your career as a personal trainer specialising in children’s