Personal Trainer jobs in London: 3 steps to get – and keep – one
So you want to be a personal trainer in London. Great – but why?
Maybe you already live in London and so you know your way around and you actually enjoy the crowds, the incessant traffic, the noise, the dirt etc. Sorry, that was just my cynical view as a countryside dweller. There are many positive elements to living in the nation's capital city. Like – so many bars you couldn't visit them all in a lifetime; the best entertainment and sport venues in the country; and the highest salaries in the UK. When it comes to personal trainer jobs, London simply has the most and the best paid. It's probably the last point that is the deciding factor for staying in, or moving to, London with respect to a career decision.
If that's the case, then let's take a look at some official figures and see if it's true. There are approximately 30,000 PTs in the UK and of these more than 10,000 operate in the Greater London area. So there are a disproportionately large number of personal trainers working in London for the population size. As for salary, our research shows that the average salary for PTs in the UK is £19,346 pa and for their counterparts in London the average is £20,426. Although the first figure quoted includes London so the difference between salaries in London and outside London is actually greater. Which is good news as London is way more expensive to live in than other parts of the UK.
Step 1: Get qualified
The only way to gain employment as a personal trainer is if you have the necessary qualifications (if you're already qualified you can skip this bit).
What you need is firstly a Level 2 Course in Fitness Instructing (Gym based). After that you study for a Level 3 Course in Personal Training.
The courses should be accredited by a recognised body such as YMCA or ActivIQ and recognised by REPS (Register of Exercise Professionals). The courses can be taken separately or in one combined qualification. They can also be done full-time, part-time or online with in-person assessment. There are dozens of course providers in the UK to choose from, so we put together a complete listing of personal training courses with costs and locations. It's fully searchable so if you live in London you'll easily find plenty of courses available in the capital.
Step 2: Get a job
Now you have the necessary paperwork, how do you get started?
Well you could stick an advert in the local paper and wait, but that strategy is unlikely to pay the rent on your bijou residence in Hampstead. To get started, you could check the online vacancies in the big job placement firms like Reed or Indeed. There are often vacancies for personal trainers to be found there. Pro tip: weed out the "job postings" that are actually just adverts for training courses. You don't need that – you already qualified in Step 1!
The usual route for a newbie in the business is to start as a personal trainer (and maybe also gym instructor) in a gym. The owners will pay you by the hours worked and the rate, while better than minimum wage, is not great – around £15 per hour. They probably won't guarantee you hours and will employ you as a freelancer, so you really have little security. It's not a long-term solution, but it's a start and should pay the rent on your basement flat in Brixton. There are tons of London gyms to apply to. Gym chains such as SohoGyms, DWFitnessFirst, and PureGym are always hiring gym instructors, as the drop-out rate in the profession is high. If you have a choice of which one to go for, you might want to check their ratings on a site such as GlassDoor. In addition to gyms, you could also check out hotel chains and spas, who frequently have in-house PTs, although they're likely to prefer someone with a bit of experience so they're maybe not your very first port of call.
Step 3: Turn on, tune in, don't drop out
If you don't want to join the drop-outs you have to be smart. At the same time as working at the gym you need to advertise your services elsewhere. The best way to present yourself to a wider audience is probably through your own website but that will take some time (and money) to accrue results. It also needs to be set up by someone who understands digital marketing to maximise search results.
A quicker way to get clients at a fair rate of pay is to join a professional online directory specialising in personal trainers. That should give you a regular stream of private clients to schedule around your gym hours.
The best form of advertising is personal recommendation – and it's free. So you need to provide the best personal training you can, and your client base will spread by word of mouth. To get an edge over the competition you should consider doing a CPD (Continuous Professional Development) course or two as soon as you can, preferably when you do your Level 3. This will enable you to charge a higher hourly rate as a specialist and bring you more clients.
In time, you should acquire enough private clients to stop working for a gym and be able to rent space to conduct your own sessions. Of course you can also teach in the open air or at the client's premises. Keep motivated and do your best and if you're any good the results should follow. Enjoy life in the Big Village!