Great stuff, you sat your exams, smashed it out of the park, and got your level 3 personal training qualification.
The good news is you have a few paths to go down, and in this article, I’ll be going through a bunch of them so you can decide exactly what to do after getting your personal training qualification.
I wouldn’t say that passing your exams was the easy part because that would discredit all the hard work you have put into passing your exams.
So, instead, I want to start off by saying
Passing your exams really is just the start of your journey though, from here you need to decide what you are going to do with it.
So, let’s get into the different options you have so you can get that career going, shall we?
What can you do after passing your level 3 personal training exams?
1. Work for a health club
Starting with what I believe to be the easiest option available to you, working for a gym or health club as an employed personal trainer is an excellent first step into being a full-time PT.
The gym or club will be taking a cut of each session you sell, which sucks, however, the benefit you get here is that you have no rent to pay.
For trainers who are just starting out, working for a health club can be one of the least stressful starts to your career you can have.
There are usually plenty of highly qualified leads in a fitness club, and you will usually be working under a fitness manager who can give you some coaching in your first few months to help get your client base built up.
Remember, these guys make money from the sessions you sell, so the better they can get you at doing it, the more they stand to make.
A quick recommendation
Try and find yourself a gym that’s pretty expensive to join. The more pricy the gym, the more money the members are likely to be making, so they will usually have more disposable income to play with.
It’s much easier to sell personal training services to people with a decent amount of disposable income.
2. Work for a studio
You actually have two options when working for a personal training studio, you can either be employed and pick up a paycheque at the end of the month or work freelance and pay rent.
Working freelance is far more common, as being able to find a training studio that employs trainers is a skill set in its own.
It can be done of course, but there will be incredibly stiff competition, and you will usually need to have several years of experience to be employed by a personal training studio.
This is because there is usually fairly high pay, a consistent client base, and to be honest, a fairly easy lifestyle.
I’ve done a bit of studio training for work experience, and to be honest it is as close to the perfect form of personal training as I could find for myself personally.
More commonly, you will be asked to pay a fixed rate each month in order to train people in the studio and make use of all their facilities.
I would only recommend this option if you have already got a full client base ready and waiting to be trained, as you will have no members to try to convert into clients in this environment.
It’s not the easiest of starts to a career!
3. Go freelance
An option for the braver/more confident trainers out there.
Going freelance means you are going out on your own, usually by working in a gym where you pay rent and look for your own clients. You can do this with zero experience once you gain your level 3 qualification.
You’ll be looking at roughly the same level of competition from other trainers as you would from within a health club, but remember that there is no rent to pay in a health club.
I’ve worked as both an employed trainer in a health club and freelance, and I can assure you working freelance can bring with it a lot more of a “dog-eat-dog” atmosphere. Not always of course, but sometimes.
I’d suggest you go for this option if you are already pretty confident in your training, floor walking, and sales skills. Or you could find yourself struggling to pay your monthly gym rent which can stress you out pretty quickly.
There’s the option to earn a lot more money in this environment, so it’s a great option for some trainers.
4. Go independent
For some people, working as an independent trainer is the only way they could ever imagine starting a business.
As an independent trainer, you would need to find your own local clients by way of either word of mouth, or from a website.
One of the great things about working independently as a trainer is the freedom it brings. You are fully in control of every aspect and have to answer to no one except yourself.
In my opinion, unless your entrepreneurial skills are really on point, I would suggest working in a gym before venturing out into training people independently.
You could technically get away with not being level 3 qualified to do this role, but you will be able to charge a lot more money for each session if you can prove that you are qualified.
5. Train people online
The benefits of being able to train your clients without even needing to leave your bedroom are irresistible to some.
Much like the previous point, you probably could get away with not being level 3 qualified and still have a decent number of paying clients as an online coach.
You would certainly benefit from the knowledge you have learned on the course, and for you to register as a trainer on some platforms, proof of level 3 qualification is required, but it’s rare.
Much like going independent straight off the bat, I would actually recommend that new trainers avoid this way of working until they have built up their confidence and also their client base.
The reason I say this, is that online coaching can be incredibly competitive, and if you already have your own client base, adding online coaching sessions to their weekly sessions is a great way to get yourself started.
From there on you can either use word of mouth referrals or use online coaching as a side hustle until you have built up enough of an online presence to go into it full-time.
6. Become a wellness coach
A wellness coach is an interesting take on training, as you won’t actually be taking anyone through any workouts yourself.
As a wellness coach, you are actually looking at everything you can do to help a persons “wellness”, including exercise, diet, and general wellbeing.
It goes without saying that in order to be able to offer these services, you will need further training and recognized nutritional and phycological qualifications, but having your level 3 personal training qualification is certainly something that could really help you in this career.
It’s actually a really great way of directly impacting a person’s quality of life, as you are working on a very intimate 1-2-1 basis with all your clients.
As a personal trainer usually needs to have many clients, they cannot offer the level of service or time that a wellness coach can.
For people who really want to see the impact that positive exercise and mental health practices can have on a person, a wellness coach can be a great option.
7. Become a fitness manager
You don’t need to have a level 3 personal training qualification in order to become a manager in a gym, but, it certainly helps in the interview process.
Having your qualification shows that you are dedicated to the industry and will understand how to coach and mentor the trainers in your gym to keep bringing revenue from rent or from sessions that the gym takes a cut from.
Management isn’t for everyone, and you will be somewhat removed from the hustle and bustle of the training side of the business, however, being able to coach trainers and show them how to enhance their businesses is incredibly satisfying.
You won’t be able to jump straight into management, but after a few months to a year of being a fitness instructor, you will get your chance at taking a management position.
Once you have got yourself a management position, the world is your oyster. From this point on you could go on to become a gym manager, area manager, or even higher up the food chain.
8. Become a fitness instructor
I’ve thrown you a bit of a curveball here because you are probably wondering why I would ever suggest becoming a fitness instructor when you have spent all that time and effort getting your level 3 qualification.
Well, here’s why…
Many training companies offer courses that take you all the way from nothing to level 3 personal training qualifications, including your level 2.
The issue with this is that it can make the people studying the course jump straight from zero experience, into the highly competitive and sometimes stressful world of personal training.
Working as a fitness instructor before entering the world of personal training is an excellent way of getting some proper industry experience and expanding on the skills you need to be a successful personal trainer.
If you are very confident that you can go straight into starting your own PT business, then go ahead, but for anyone feeling less than 100% confident that they could make it, I suggest you give fitness instruction a go, even if it is just for six months or so.
9. Become an exercise tutor
Some were born to teach!
A career in exercise tutoring is rewarding, varied, and certainly a lot easier if you can come from a background where you have actually done the work yourself.
You won’t be able to jump straight into working for a training academy after gaining your qualifications, but this is certainly a future option if you decide it is time for you to leave training people on a 1-2-1 basis but still love to teach.
Having your qualifications and gaining experience yourself as a PT will really help you to coach others in the ways of the industry.
It could also be a side hustle, as the trainer that took me and my classmates was also working as a personal trainer and teaching on the weekends. So, it doesn’t even have to be a full-time role for you.
10. Get work experience
Confidence doesn’t come naturally for everyone and just because you have gained your qualification, doesn’t necessarily mean you are ready to become a full-time trainer.
It isn’t just important that you have confidence as a trainer, it is vital, without it, you just will not make it, plain and simple.
The very fact that you have passed your exams proves that you are good enough to become a personal trainer, but that doesn’t always mean that you will feel ready in yourself.
If this is the case, I would really suggest you get yourself a few weeks’ worth of work experience before you start trying to gain your first position somewhere.
There are plenty of paid and unpaid placements you can take up and it doesn’t have to be for too long (you want to go out and start making money after all). Just a few weeks or even a month’s worth of practice should build up your confidence enough to go out there and start applying for personal training or fitness instructing roles.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to do things at everyone else’s pace, do what works for you, in the timeframe that suits you best.
There’s a whole lot of options open to you once you’ve gained your level 3 qualification.
There is no right path, as everyone is different and what would work for you may not be so good for another.
Whichever path you decide to take if there is any bit of advice that I really think you would value, it would be this.
Take your time!
There is no rush to get straight into personal training once you gain your qualification, so sit down, think about what would work best for you, decide how you are going to go about it, and then get yourself started.
Go get ’em!
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