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Becoming a PT: The first steps

  • Posted by Catherine Tumelty
  • 10 October 2016

Whether you have always known that a career as a Personal Trainer is for you or you’ve made the decision to make a change for the fitter, where to make a start on the road to becoming a PT can be overwhelming and just plain confusing! Over the next few weeks we’re aiming to answer all those Frequently Asked Questions and try and help you find the best possible path to become a PT!

So what do I need to become a Personal Trainer?

In order to become a Personal Trainer in Australia you’ll need a few things! As a minimum requirement, all Personal Trainer’s must have attained at least a Certificate 3 and Certificate 4 in Fitness. There are many different providers through which you can gain these certificates including TAFE’s, specialist fitness education providers (with both online and on campus study options), Universities and even your local gym! It all depends on what sort of learning style works best for you. Some education providers even combine these courses together so you can get all the knowledge you need in one go!

Whilst you are completing your qualifications you will also need to ensure you enrol in and complete a First Aid and CPR Course. This will be a requirement of most education bodies as part of your course. If you are required to organise this externally, First Aid and CPR courses are run daily in all major cities via multiple providers including First Aid Institute Australia, Australian Red Cross and Training Aid Australia.


I have completed my course. Now what?

Once you have your certificates, First Aid and CPR it’s time to get registered with Fitness Australia! The registration process is very simple and can be completed online through You will likely have already completed this registration as a student which means all you’ll need to do is upgrade! Easy!

Finally, to work as a Personal Trainer you will need to be insured. If you are an employee at a gym then you may be covered by their policy and might not need to purchase insurance for yourself. You should always check with your manager to see what you are covered for before you get on the floor and start training clients. If you are working independently, either as a sub-contractor within a gym or outside a gym then you need to ensure you purchase insurance to cover yourself in the event of injury or a lawsuit. This should include both Public Liability (which covers you against a claim for bodily injury and property damage to a third party that arises from the operation of your business) and Professional Indemnity Insurance (which covers you for claims that arise when a third party (client) alleges that your service was negligent and caused them a loss).  

Wait, what’s the difference between Certificate 3 and Certificate 4?

The Certificate III in Fitness is the minimum qualification required to work as a Fitness Instructor. It is not necessary to have any prior experience or qualifications in order to do this course. Following completion of a Certificate III, students are able to work in a gym teaching exercises, guiding the use of equipment, writing exercise programs and conducting fitness appraisals. 

As a step up, the Certificate IV in Fitness is the qualification you will need to work as a Personal Trainer. This course deepens the knowledge you gain through the Certificate III. The course focuses on the skills needed to be a Personal Trainer, particularly in a one on one (unsupervised) setting. 

Stay tuned for our next post, where we explore the different employment options available to PT’s once you are ready to start work!