Fitness Instructor Job Profile

Looking for more information on becoming a Fitness Instructor?

This article from the National Careers Service website is packed full of useful information about getting started and future career opportunities and progression.

Fitness instructor

If you are keen on health and fitness and enjoy meeting different people, this could be ideal for you. To be a fitness instructor, you could complete a recognised qualification before starting work. Or you could start as an assistant instructor and complete on the job training. To become a fitness instructor, you will need to be outgoing and friendly. You’ll also need to motivate and inspire people.

The work

As a fitness instructor, you would lead and organise group and individual exercise programmes to help people (clients) to improve their health and fitness. Your work could involve a range of activities or you could specialise in a particular one, like: keep fit aquacise (exercise in water) weight training yoga Pilates You could also work with specialist groups of people, such as older adults, children, people with disabilities or people referred by doctors.

Your job could include: fitness assessments, consultations and introduction sessions for new clients demonstrating activities for clients to follow showing clients how to use exercise machines and free weights properly supervising clients to make sure that they are exercising safely and effectively leading group exercise classes, such as circuit training, aerobics or spinning creating personal exercise programmes giving advice on healthy eating and lifestyle In smaller health or fitness clubs you may also carry out routine duties, such as at reception and the swimming pool, and health and safety checks.


As a full-time fitness instructor, you would usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, often on a shift or rota basis covering early mornings, evenings and weekends. Many instructors work part-time or freelance (self-employed). You could work in gyms, health clubs or leisure centres. If you are self-employed, you may also run classes in places like school halls or community centres, so you will need to travel locally. Income Starting salaries can be around £13,000 a year. This can rise to between £14,000 and over £20,000 a year. Freelance instructors can earn £10 to £20 an hour. Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Entry requirements

To become a fitness instructor you can either complete a nationally recognised qualification through a college or private training provider before starting work, or start as an assistant instructor with a sports centre or gym and complete work-based training to qualify. One of the main recognised qualifications that is widely available is the Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing, which has four optional pathways to choose from: gym-based exercise exercise to music water-based exercise physical activity for children There are also other valid qualifications that you can take, such as the Level 2 Diploma in Health, Fitness and Exercise Instruction. Check with colleges and private training providers for more details about what they offer. After completing your qualification, you can apply to join the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). This shows employers that you are competent and qualified to do your job and is likely to improve your career prospects. See the REPs website for more information about registration and for a list of approved training providers.

Register of Exercise Professionals

If you train while working, you would start as an assistant instructor and complete your training under the supervision of a qualified instructor. You would normally work towards the Level 2 (NVQ) Diploma in Instructing Exercise and Fitness, which includes the same pathways as the Certificate above. You may be able to start in this job through an Apprenticeship scheme. You will need to check which schemes are available in your area. For more information about Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeships website. Apprenticeships Before you can work as an instructor, you will need public liability insurance and a first aid certificate, which includes a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificate. You might also need a lifeguard qualification for some jobs. If you plan to work with children or other vulnerable groups, you will need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). See the DBS website for more information. Disclosure and Barring Service (Home Office website)

Training and development

Once working as a fitness instructor you could take further training to develop and broaden your teaching skills. A number of awards are offered by training providers in, for example circuit training, outdoor fitness, Pilates and yoga. You could also take a qualification to become a personal trainer, such as: Level 3 Award in Conversion of Advanced Fitness Instructor to Personal Trainer Status (allows you to be listed as a personal trainer on the REPs) Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training If you want to work with people recovering from illness or who have medical conditions, there are several specialised courses available, such as: Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral Level 4 Certificate in Exercise for the Management of Low Back Pain Level 4 Certificate in Exercise and Nutritional Interventions for Obesity and Diabetes Level 4 Certificate in Weight Management for Individuals with Obesity, Diabetes Mellitus and/or Metabolic Syndrome See the REPs website for more details.

Register of Exercise Professionals Skills, interests and qualities

To become a fitness instructor, you will need to have: good communication and ‘people’ skills an outgoing and friendly personality a tactful approach the ability to motivate and inspire people a responsible attitude to health and safety knowledge of nutrition and healthy diet good fitness levels.

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