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 for children
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 young people.
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
According to 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 rewarding.
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 kid’s fitness.
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.
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 training too.
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 following:
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) courses?
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 fitness!