Who Decides Which PT Qualifications are ‘Recognised’?
by Alison Hall HFI –
I have conversations all day with people who are looking for a ‘recognised’ personal trainer qualification. I’ll keep this article relevant to UK recognised personal trainer qualifications, and look at how other qualifications* fit in at another time. *’Other’ qualifications could include: Exercise and Fitness BSc degrees, European, and USA personal trainer qualifications.
As far as being ‘recognised’ as a personal trainer in the UK, in the last couple of months, we finally have returned to having only one official Government register of personal trainers. This register is called ‘CIMSPA’ (the Chartered Institute for Sport and Physical Activity). Before this recent change ‘Reps’, the old official register, was also running alongside CIMSPA, just to confuse everyone.
In actual fact, CIMSPA have been the only official Government’s register since January 2016, but Reps were still in existence because they had thousands of members who joined since they began in 2002. Reps members continued to renew with them even though CIMSPA became the official register in 2016.
But now we are clear as Reps’ members have all been taken under the CIMSPA umbrella.
And here is the information for Reps members about joining CIMPSA.
The gym and PT membership titles are slightly different with CIMSPA than they were with Reps.
Reps ‘Level 2 Gym Instructor’ = CIMSPA Gym Instructor Practitioner.
You can read about CIMSPA ‘Gym Instructor Practitioner’ membership here.
You can get qualified with HFI as a CIMSPA Gym Instructor Practitioner here.
Reps ‘Level 3 Personal Trainer’ = CIMSPA ‘Personal Trainer Practitioner’.
You can read about CIMSPA Personal Trainer Practitioner membership here.
You can get qualified with HFI as a CIMSPA Personal Trainer Practitioner.
What is the Difference Between a Gym Instructor and a Personal Trainer?
The ‘role descriptions’ of the gym instructor and the personal trainer have remained the same. The role of the ‘gym instructor’ is someone who is employed by a gym. They would supervise the gym, induct new members and be on hand in case any members need reminding about their gym exercises, or need a few words of encouragement. A gym instructor can’t work with clients on an ongoing basis, only every now and then to help them continue.
The role of the ‘personal trainer’ is someone who can either be employed by a gym or be ‘self-employed’. A PT can work with clients on an on-going basis with their exercise and gibe healthy eating advice. There are various ways in which gyms set up their personal training services. Some would charge the personal trainer a monthly ‘rent’ to become one of the gym’s personal trainers. Here the client would either pay the trainer directly or they would pay through the gym. Another model is that the personal trainer might work some gym instructor shift hours for the gym and in return the trainer could become one of the gym’s personal trainers. Here,
the client would pay a sessional fee to the gym or directly to the trainer, depending on how the personal training service was set up by the gym. If you are not sure how the PT is set up before you go for an interview try and find out in advance. If you can’t find out then simply ask the interviewer to explain the set up for you. Make sure you are come across as genuinely interested in the gyms day to day members and not just the PT you can get. Remember the day to day memberships are the business bread and butter.
Setting Up Your Own Personal Training Business
Alternatively, the self-employed PT could work independently as a freelance trainer and not necessarily be associated with a gym. They could hold their PT sessions in the clients home, outdoors or remotely. If you want to learn how to become the kind of communicator and motivator you need for live streamed and online PT, get in touch with us.
If you are would like further information about how gyms set up their PT or how you can set up your own PT business, or learn more about remote PT, please get in touch with us.
‘Level 2’ and ‘Level 3’ Qualifications – Will the qualification names change?
The UK recognised qualifications continue to be called ‘Level 2’ – for gym instructors and ‘Level 3’ – for personal trainers. There is no such thing as a ‘Level 1’ qualification. It used to be that a ‘Level 1 instructor” was an apprentice who was going through their apprenticeship scheme with an employer up until the point that they obtained their level 2 qualification.
Personal Trainer Insurance
Both gym instructors and personal trainers would purchase ‘public liability’ insurance along with their CIMSPA membership. This is the case even though the gym instructor would be employed by a gym and be essentially be covered under their employer’s insurance. Personal trainers would be solely working under their own personal insurance regarding the work they are doing with their clients.
If a PT works as part of the gyms service then certain areas, like the upkeep of the equipment, will be also covered by the gym. However, you would be expected to be aware of anything you are using and your client is using also, so never assume that the gym responsibility to sort things out. You must keep on top of things too.
If you are on your own as a PT you also need to look at the health and safety of everything so this would require more in-depth risk assessments for your business.
Beware of ‘Personal Training Registers’ that Aren’t!
There are many ‘organisations’ in the UK, and the rest of the world, that are just private ‘companies’ offering some kind of ‘registration’. Remember only CIMSPA can ‘recognise’ qualifications. So, beware of anyone asking you for money to join for recognition purposes, unless you know that there are other benefits to joining. Other benefits might include, that they offer genuine and effective help with your PT business set up and success.
Are HFI qualifications CIMSPA recognised?
Yes, we use one of the CIMSPA recognised awarding organisations (AO) called ‘Focus Awards’, so all our Gym Instructor (Level 2) and Personal Trainer (Level 3) qualifications enable you direct registration with CIMSPA.
Do I really need to be CIMSPA registered?
CIMSPA are the ‘official register’ and this is deemed ‘common knowledge’ – ie you ought to know this if you are working as a personal training in the fitness industry. So if you aren’t CIMSPA registered you run the risk that, if you found yourself having to be defended yourself in court against legal action, the court could argue that you are ‘not qualified to do the job as a personal trainer’ and you would have to prove otherwise that you are.
For more information about getting qualified, insurance and getting to the top of the PT business, please contact us.
Keep in touch and let me know how you are adapting to the new world of PT.