This guide is part of our detailed series: How to Become a Personal Trainer in the UK.
Although many people’s perception of personal training only involves one-on-one sessions with clients, becoming a certified personal trainer actually opens up many other doors in the fitness industry.
Here, we’ll explore some other fitness business positions that could be available to personal trainers – then we’ll answer a few frequently asked questions about the PT role and alternative fitness jobs.
What kind of jobs can you get with a personal trainer certification?
The right personal training qualification can be a stepping stone to a range of roles within a personal training business. With the right knowledge and attitude, you can:
Run group fitness classes
Group exercise classes are always popular at gyms – and boot camp style training sessions have really moved into the mainstream over the last few years.
This unlocks a world of possibilities for PTs – especially if you’re keen to innovate. Explore energetic dance classes, traditional circuit training, or even chair-based workouts for people who are less mobile. There’s almost no end to what’s possible.
If you’d like to retain the personal touch, one personal trainer leading small groups of clients through weightlifting or kettlebell classes works well too. This is especially useful for customers who want the benefits of PT but can’t justify the cost of dedicated sessions.
Become a gym manager
Gym management roles are ideal for personal trainers – especially as you’re likely to be overseeing gym instructors and other personal trainers, helping them maximise their potential.
Running a gym or health club will help you develop a huge range of skills alongside personal training. You may be required to understand everything from familiar workout equipment through to the operation of a swimming pool plant room.
Your marketing skills may also come into play as a gym manager too – creating and promoting sessions throughout the gym to generate revenue and boost profits.
Be a professional workout developer
You don’t have to always be working directly with clients to help people hit their health and fitness goals.
As a workout developer, you might work with the increasing number of online workout providers – taking clients’ personal information and goals, then using your expertise to create a program that will help them get leaner, fitter, faster, or stronger.
Workout developers may even work in specific niches – developing programmes around certain sports or goals.
It’s not uncommon to find workout developers that support people to progress their swimming, running, cycling or other sports – or specifically working around building endurance or strength in certain disciplines. As what you offer becomes more focused, you’ll often find clients, services, or teams that are happy to pay above and beyond what a more general workout planner might earn.
Explore online personal training
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought online training to the mainstream – and it’s a trend that doesn’t look set to slow down anytime soon.
Being an online trainer can be even more varied than the work you’d do in a fitness studio. You might work with one client or you might work with ten. You might carry out sessions live – or you might pre-record a series of sessions that clients work their way through. You might even find online trainers who are broadcasting their workouts to huge audiences on social media.
A world of connected smart devices means online clients can even share workout data with you – letting you track their progress and adjust your sessions as required.
The best part of an online role in the fitness niche is the flexibility – if you’ve got an internet connection, you can work when and where you want.
Alternative careers for personal trainers
We’ve looked at some roles that are close to the personal trainer’s comfort zone – but what happens if you’d like to take your qualification out of the gym and into the wider business world?
Fitness industry sales
The fitness industry is huge. From innovative software programs through to equipment and workout wear – you’re part of a multi-billion pound industry that people are hungry for.
So, what are you passionate about? Chances are, there’s a company out there that will want to harness that passion by putting you in front of potential customers so you can sell their products or services.
If getting out, developing strong networking skills, meeting new people, and striving to hit targets is your thing, then a sales role for a fitness brand could be your dream job.
Health and wellness coaching
Some fitness professionals like to take a more holistic approach to health – and this is exactly what a health and wellness coach would do.
You might need to explore additional certifications – even looking more broadly into life-coaching type skills – but if you do, there’s a huge audience out there that are looking to optimise every part of their lives, from how they work out to how they approach wider life and work challenges.
Corporate health and fitness
Today more than ever, big businesses are keen to make sure their workforces are fit and healthy. This presents a range of opportunities for many personal trainers.
If you know where to look, you’ll find companies who are keen to get your professional help with everything from occupational health (how people physically interact with their workplace) through to the stress-relieving benefits of fitness sessions in the workday.
Although this will often be a self-employed role – building up a series of clients who require this input can be a great way to generate a consistent salary.
If you like keeping yourself in shape, why not explore opportunities to use your physique to make money?
Fitness models will often be required for photoshoots for equipment and apparel – but there are gigs out there for everything from TV programmes through to magazine covers.
Social media has made the talent pool much wider – so becoming a fitness model probably isn’t a role you’d want to go into half-heartedly – but if you feel like you’ve got what it takes and are determined to be a success, it has the potential to be a dream job that could take you around the world.
Fitness blogger, writer, or influencer
The internet is a huge marketplace for PTs, gyms, fitness brands, and many more health and fitness companies. For these brands to stand out, they need exceptional content on their websites – which is another opportunity for PTs to shine.
If you feel like you can turn your expertise into interesting and compelling words, pictures and videos on a screen, you could make a solid income from your desk even before you’ve added some PT sessions to your week.
What other jobs can personal trainers do?
Some personal trainers work their way up the ladder and develop their own business by adding more and more specialist qualifications to their skill set.
Each of the following CPD (continual professional development) areas will help you develop specialist skills:
By successfully completing an exercise referral course, you’ll be eligible to join your local register of fitness professionals and personal trainers who can deliver exercise programs for people referred by their doctor.
Fitness course assessment
As a qualified assessor, you can conduct assessments in the vocations for which you hold a vocational qualification. By doing so, you’ll be supporting and upholding standards in the next generation of personal trainers.
Strength and conditioning coach
A qualified strength and conditioning coach takes a scientific approach to the analysis of a client’s biomotor abilities and sporting demands – allowing for the creation of planning and programming that lets athletes peak for key tournaments and competitions.
Exercise with disabled clients
Around 18% of the UK population are affected by disability – but an Exercise with Disabled Clients course will help develop a deeper understanding of disability so you can support clients with additional needs to hit their sporting and fitness goals.
With a qualification in quality assurance, you will be helping training businesses earn or maintain the right to deliver training. With this level of quality assurance knowledge, you’ll understand assessment protocols, how to analyse them, and how to provide effective feedback.
Back pain management
Around 60% of the population will experience lower back pain in their life. A low back pain management course will teach you to prescribe, plan, conduct, and review programmes that help clients with low back pain issues.
Obesity and diabetes management
Obesity and diabetes are serious – and growing – threats to people around the world. An obesity and diabetes management course will help you create effective exercise plans for clients who are facing obesity or diabetes-related issues.
Frequently asked questions about alternative roles in the fitness business
Is personal training a dying career?
You might wonder why we’re exploring different roles for personal trainers. In fact, we’re sometimes asked whether personal training is dying out.
The short answer is a definite no – personal training is not dying out. Every year, PTs and fitness businesses are becoming an even more important part of peoples’ lives.
The role of a personal trainer is constantly changing and growing as technology develops. Therefore, a PT’s role in 10 years might look a little different to how it looks today – but the same core physiological and behavioural knowledge will always be relevant when it comes to helping people get fit, stay fit, and achieve their fitness goals.
The idea that personal training is dying is nothing new. We’ve delivered PT qualifications for over 20 years, and it’s a subject that comes up every few years. Despite this, we continue to deliver training right across the UK – and interest in the area has never been greater.
A generation ago, no one could have imagined where personal training would be today. With the push of a button, a client can share meal tracking data, health statistics, workout data, and much more. Smartphones and fitness trackers haven’t made PT’s unemployed – they’ve given people in the personal training business a chance to dig even deeper into their role and help clients push their athletic performance even further.
Can a personal trainer be a PE teacher?
Qualifying as a personal trainer doesn’t let you walk straight into a school and start teaching PE – but it is a very good foundation for a career as a PE teacher.
To become a PE teacher, you need to obtain a teaching qualification – either as an undergraduate (someone who doesn’t yet have a degree) or a postgraduate (someone with a degree who plans to get a further qualification). You may decide to do a PE or sports coaching degree then continue on to a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate of Education). Alternatively, there are qualifications that blend PE subjects in with teacher training programs.
Some schools even offer ‘School Direct’ and ‘SCITT’ (School-Centred Initial Teacher Training), which let you get in-role teaching experience as you learn.
Whichever path is right for you, approaching being a PE teacher with outstanding background knowledge and a passion for fitness will lead to excellent outcomes for children and a fulfilling career for you.
Can a personal trainer become a physiotherapist?
You cannot practice as a physiotherapist with just a personal training qualification.
Being a physio requires you to have a degree-level qualification in physiotherapy and to have registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC).
Although you’ll need additional qualifications, there are lots of transferable skills that you will find useful if you decide to explore a career in physical therapy. Physiotherapy courses always involve lots of practical work with patients – something that you’ll be used to working as a personal trainer.
The great thing about transitioning from personal trainer to physiotherapist is the flexibility of your work as a PT. Training sessions can work around your study – and you’re already working in the fitness industry, so you’ll be familiar with how physiotherapy fits into the wider physical fitness picture for your clients.