The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Career as a Personal Trainer 

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Career as a Personal Trainer 

The steps to starting a career as a personal trainer seem simple; choose a course, get qualified, and get hired. But is it really as simple as that? 

Embarking on a journey as a personal trainer is not just about getting certified or getting in shape, it’s about transforming lives, one client at a time. Whether you’re fuelled by a passion for fitness or seeking a fulfilling career change, becoming a personal trainer offers a rewarding pathway. 

While technology has made studying your course easier than ever before, establishing yourself in the fitness industry is still a whole different workout. That’s why we’re here to guide you, offering an extensive roadmap – our ultimate guide – to kickstart your career journey as a personal trainer

Expert personal trainer demonstrating movement to client

How Do I Start Being A Personal Trainer?

Beginning your journey as a personal trainer requires more than just a love of fitness, it demands the right qualifications to back your passion. To start being a personal trainer you must study Certificate III in Fitness (SIS30321) and Certificate IV in Fitness (SIS40221). These courses provide certification but also equip you with a deep understanding of anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and exercise programming – and serve as the building blocks of your expertise, instilling the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the field. 

However, the journey doesn’t end with formal certifications and education. Practical experience is equally important. Seek opportunities to shadow seasoned professionals and trainers, participate in local or online workshops, and immerse yourself in the fitness community. Mentorship programs and guidance from experienced personal trainers allows you to learn from seasoned professionals, gain insights into the industry, and refine your skills through practical guidance. It’s important to look for mentors who align with your values, goals, and aspirations. Hands-on learning like this not only reinforces your theoretical knowledge but also hones your communication and coaching skills, essential for creating strong connections with your future clients. 

You could consider pursuing specialised certifications to carve your niche in the competitive personal training industry. Whether it’s strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, or corrective exercise, additional certifications enhance your credibility and broaden your client appeal. Embracing lifelong learning as a cornerstone of your professional career means you will stay ahead of the industry trends and advancements. 

Gym photo with fitness trainer in middle of exercise

6 Steps to Finding a Personal Training Job 

Once you have completed your PT course and are officially qualified (congratulations!), it’s time to get a feel for the job market and see what opportunities are available to you in the industry. We’ve broken it down into six simple steps to help you find your perfect fit. 

1. Build Your Network 

Networking serves as one of the most important elements of your personal training career, and there’s multiple ways to do it. Attend fitness events, engage with professionals on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram, and join industry associations or group pages to expand your network and circle. Building these meaningful connections opens doors to job opportunities and mentorship programs, helping you navigate the intricacies of the fitness industry. 

2. Craft An Impressive Resume 

Your resume is your first impression on potential employers. Make sure to highlight your qualifications, experiences, and any unique selling points that make you stand out from the crowd. Tailor your resume and cover letter to each job application, emphasising how your skills can be utilised by your employer and how they align with their needs. Share any success stories or client testimonials to showcase your impact as a personal trainer. 

3. Strategise Your Job Search 

Explore job opportunities through various channels – from online job boards to company websites. Don’t shy away from reaching out directly to gyms, studios, and other fitness centres. Personalise your application to show genuine interest and enthusiasm for the role you’re applying for. Research prospective employers before applying to make sure your values and goals align with theirs, setting you up for success. 

4. Assess The Facility 

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to check out the facility in person. Think of it like trying out a gym before you commit to the membership. This is where you’ll be spending your early mornings and late evenings training clients, so it’s important to make sure it feels like the right fit for you. Take advantage of free trials or schedule a tour to get a feel for the place. Test out the equipment, look around to see if it’s clean and well-maintained. While some wear and tear is totally normal, obvious signs of neglect could be a red flag. After all, you want to work in a place that reflects a high level of professionalism and values its trainers. 

5. Ace The Interview

Preparation is key to acing your interview with your prospective employer. Familiarise yourself with common interview questions and practise articulating your passion for fitness and commitment to client success, while showcasing your unique selling points. Highlight your expertise in personalising client programs, exercise science, and of course, make mention of your niche qualifications (if any). Demonstrate to your employer that you have the ability to adapt to a diverse range of clientele and address their unique needs and goals. 

6. Evaluate The Fee Structure

Before you make any decisions and sign on that dotted line, it’s crucial to understand how the fee structure works. Different places have different setups – some may take a percentage of each session you host, while others might charge a flat rental fee per week. As a newly certified PT, the thought of committing to a hefty weekly fee can be daunting. Take the time to consider if the workplace aligns with your needs and goals. Is there a supportive culture? Will they help you grow as a personal trainer? If the answer to both is yes, then it could be the right fit for you. 

Expanding on the job search process, it’s essential to leverage online platforms and social media to showcase your expertise and attract potential employers or clients. Create a professional online presence through platforms like LinkedIn, where you can highlight your qualifications, share valuable content, and connect with industry professionals. Engage with fitness communities and participate in discussions to build credibility and visibility in the digital space. Additionally, consider creating a portfolio showcasing your client success stories, training methods, and testimonials to provide a glimpse into your capabilities as a personal trainer.

Female client attentively listening to trainer in gym

Personal Trainer Employment Opportunities

One of the best things about being a personal trainer is it opens up doors to several employment opportunities. While many other professions are stuck in office cubicles, drowned in artificial light, with little evidence of the outside world, we PTs are spoiled for choice on location.

Below is a list of places you may consider starting your personal training career, including the benefits and drawbacks to help you decide which is best for you.  


First, let’s start with the obvious, gyms – the quintessential starting point for many personal trainers. Gyms offer an invaluable education in the industry, providing firsthand experience in day-to-day operations, client interaction, and even management.

One major advantage of working in a gym is the mentorship opportunities they often provide for new trainers. Some gyms offer a grace period with reduced rent for a few months while you build your client base, along with guidance on running your own business. This mentorship aspect is definitely worth inquiring about during your initial interview

While paying rent as a personal trainer can feel like a downside, especially in the beginning, it’s important to note that this structure can offer substantial earning potential once your business takes off. Additionally, larger gym chains may offer management and corporate opportunities for those looking to advance their careers.




Studios provide a more exclusive personal training experience compared to gyms and other recreation centres, as they cater specifically to personal training clients.

One of the key advantages of working in a studio is the absence of rental fees. Studios often take care of finding and assigning clients to their trainers, only taking a percentage of each session in return.



Run Your Own Business

Running your own business, whether through a mobile service or by opening your own studio, is a popular choice for many personal trainers.

There are numerous perks to being your own boss—you set your own hours, have control over operations, and don’t have to worry about rental fees.

However, one downside is the potential lack of mentoring and learning opportunities that come with working in established gyms or studios.




Online training has gained popularity among trainers as it allows them to reach and train clients remotely, without the constraints of a physical gym environment.

While the allure of online training is undeniable, building a solid online presence and client base requires time and effort. Starting online alongside face-to-face training can be a strategic approach, as direct client contact can help you develop the necessary social and technical skills for successful online coaching.



To expand on the entrepreneurial aspect, running your own personal training business requires careful planning and execution. Start by defining your target market and developing a unique selling proposition that sets you apart from competitors. Create a business plan outlining your goals, target audience, marketing strategies, and financial projections. Invest in branding and marketing efforts to establish your presence in the market and attract potential clients. Leverage digital marketing channels such as social media, email marketing, and search engine optimisation to reach your target audience effectively. Additionally, prioritise client satisfaction and retention by delivering exceptional service, personalised experiences, and ongoing support.

Personal training client performing an overhead press in gym

Tips to Elevate Your Personal Training Business

Starting a career as a personal trainer can often feel a little heavy with paperwork and business decisions. But once that is all done, you can finally start to get into the good stuff; the programming, networking, and growth opportunities.

We’ve got 5 top tips and tricks to elevate your business and set yourself up for success.

1. Define Your Niche 

Identifying your niche is essential for standing out in the competitive personal training industry. Whether you specialise in weight loss, strength training, or functional fitness, carving out a specific niche allows you to target a more focused audience and differentiate yourself from other trainers. Take the time to assess your interests, strengths, and expertise to determine the niche that aligns best with your passion and skills. By focusing on a specific niche, you can tailor your marketing efforts and services to attract clients who resonate with your specialisation, ultimately fostering deeper connections and client loyalty.

2. Provide Exceptional Service

Delivering exceptional service is the cornerstone of building a successful personal training business. Beyond just helping clients achieve their fitness goals, strive to create memorable experiences that exceed their expectations. Take the time to listen attentively to their needs, preferences, and concerns, and tailor your approach accordingly. Personalise each client’s workout program to address their unique goals, fitness level, and lifestyle, demonstrating your commitment to their success. 

3. Harness the Power of Technology 

Embracing technology can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your personal training business. Explore fitness apps, wearable devices, and online platforms to streamline communication, track progress, and deliver personalised coaching remotely. Leverage data analytics to monitor client performance, identify trends, and refine your training strategies for optimal results. Incorporate interactive tools such as virtual workouts, video tutorials, and online challenges to keep clients engaged and motivated between sessions. By harnessing the power of technology, you can expand your reach, enhance client experiences, and differentiate your services in the digital age.

4. Cultivate Meaningful Relationships 

Building genuine relationships with your clients is key to fostering trust, loyalty, and long-term success in your personal training business. Take the time to connect with each client on a personal level, showing genuine interest in their lives, goals, and challenges. Listen actively to their feedback, concerns, and achievements, and adapt your approach accordingly to ensure their needs are met. Create a supportive and encouraging environment where clients feel valued, empowered, and motivated to reach their full potential. By cultivating strong relationships based on trust and respect, you can establish a loyal client base that serves as the foundation for sustainable growth and success.

5. Foster Community

Creating a sense of community among your clients can significantly enhance their overall experience and retention in your personal training business. Encourage collaboration, friendship, and peer support by organising group workouts, challenges, and social events. Foster a supportive environment where clients can connect, motivate, and inspire each other on their fitness journey. You can implement online forums, social media groups, and community platforms to facilitate ongoing communication, interaction, and engagement among clients. 

How Profitable is Being a Personal Trainer?

The earning potential of a personal trainer varies depending on various factors, including location, experience, specialisation, and business model. According to industry data, the average salary for personal trainers in Australia ranges from AU$40,000 to AU$80,000 per year. However, top performers can exceed six-figure incomes through diversified revenue streams, including one-on-one sessions, group classes, online coaching, and supplementary services such as nutrition counselling and corporate wellness programs.

On the topic of profitability, it’s essential to recognise that financial success as a personal trainer is not solely determined by income but also by profitability. While gross revenue is important, managing expenses and maximising profits are equally critical. Implementing sound financial practices, such as budgeting, expense tracking, and strategic pricing, can help optimise profitability and ensure long-term sustainability.

Beyond financial gains, success as a personal trainer is measured by the impact you make on your clients’ lives. Your ability to inspire, motivate, and empower others transcends monetary metrics, leaving a lasting legacy of health and transformation. Embrace the journey as a personal trainer with passion, purpose, and perseverance, knowing that the rewards extend far beyond the balance sheet.

Endless Possibilities

Embarking on a career as a personal trainer opens doors to infinite possibilities for growth, fulfilment, and impact. Whether you aspire to inspire others, build a thriving business, or pioneer innovative fitness solutions, the journey ahead is limited only by your imagination and determination. Embrace each challenge as an opportunity for growth, celebrate every milestone, and never lose sight of the profound impact you have on the lives of your clients and the fitness community at large.

As you embark on your journey to become a personal trainer, remember that success is not just about achieving your own fitness goals but helping others achieve theirs. By following the steps outlined in our ultimate guide and staying dedicated to your craft, you can turn your passion for fitness into a fulfilling and lucrative career. Embrace the challenges, celebrate the victories, and never stop striving to make a positive impact on the lives of your clients and the fitness community as a whole. With dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to continuous learning and growth, the possibilities are truly endless in the dynamic world of personal training.

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