YMCA Awards Level 3Personal Trainer Course

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Become a personal trainer in your free time with our REPs-endorsed online courses.

The YMCA Awards Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training (Gym-Based Exercise) is perfect for you if you've got a Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing (Gym-Based Exercise) and want to become a personal trainer.

You'll learn how to design, adapt and deliver a safe and effective exercise programme for adults of all ages, and how to support this with a nutrition plan appropriate to your clients' goals.

You'll also learn how to support and motivate your clients, and about the main principles of exercise, health, welfare, anatomy and physiology in a fitness environment. 

This advanced qualification will give you the expertise you need to join REPs and work as a gym-based or self-employed personal trainer.

To study our fitness courses you must live in the UK and have access to a suitable gym. All filming of practical sessions must take place in a UK gym.

Please note that we only accept Level 2 Certificates that have covered the following units: health, safety & welfare in a fitness environment; know how to support clients who take part in exercise & physical activity; and principles of exercise, fitness & health.

This course will equip you with the specialist knowledge, understanding and skills you need to excel as a professional personal trainer.

The course totals 28 credits and 188 guided learning hours.

You'll study 4 main units:

  1. Anatomy and physiology for exercise and health
  2. Applying the principles of nutrition to a physical activity programme
  3. Programming personal training with clients
  4. Delivering personal training sessions

The key topics and skills you'll cover are:

  1. The heart and circulatory system
  2. The musculoskeletal system
  3. Postural and core stability
  4. The nervous, endocrine and energy systems and their relation to exercise and health
  5. How to programme safe and effective exercise for a range of clients
  6. The health benefits of physical activity and the importance of healthy eating
  7. How to communicate with clients effectively
  8. How to motivate clients to adhere to an exercise programme
  9. How to apply the principles of nutrition to support client goals as part of an exercise and physical activity programme
  10. How to design, manage and adapt a personal training programme for healthy adults of all ages
  11. How to deliver exercise and physical activity as part of a programme for healthy adults of all ages

Are you ready to make your passion into your career? Being a personal trainer is a highly rewarding role that will allow you to make your clients healthier, happier and more motivated. It involves providing one-to-one training, nutrition advice, and progressive programming for your clients.

This course is perfect for you if you want to become a PT and you already have a Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing (Gym-Based Exercise) qualification that covers the required units.* 

If you don't have a prior fitness qualification, or your existing Level 2 qualification doesn't cover the required units, you can attain the Level 3 Personal Training qualification through our Combined Level 2 & 3 Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer course

The qualification will allow you to join the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). If you'd like to continue your professional development in the health and fitness industry, it'll also provide a stepping stone to further qualifications. For more information, see the 'Further Education' section.

You must be over 16, live in the UK, and have good written and verbal communication skills to take this course. If English is your second language, you’ll need an IELTS 6.5 or ESOL Level 2 (or equivalent). If you don’t have this, we’ll review your case on an individual basis.

*The required units at Level 2 are: 

  1. Health, safety & welfare in a fitness environment
  2. Know how to support clients who take part in exercise & physical activity
  3. Principles of exercise, fitness & health

If you have any disabilities which you believe may impact your studies or assessments, please inform your Course Advisor before enrolment so that we can advise you on whether reasonable adjustments can be made to accommodate your needs.

How You'll Learn

This course is online and fully flexible, so you don't need to attend any workshops, classrooms, or exam centres.

You'll access all your course materials through the Student Community, our online learning environment that you can access at any time, from anywhere that has an internet connection. 

Your course materials have been specially designed for distance learning by fitness experts, and you can work through them at your own pace.


You'll be assessed through multiple choice exams, worksheets, and practical assessments.

All the written assessments are online, giving you the freedom to sit your exams at a time that suits you, from the comfort of your own home.

For practical assessments, you'll film yourself delivering gym sessions at your local gym, where you’ll demonstrate what you've learnt by instructing your gym buddy. You’ll then upload these videos to our Student Community to be assessed by your tutor. 

To make life easy, you’ll be able to use our dedicated app to upload the video straight from your phone or tablet. Our Student Community will also provide you with an easy-to-use e-portfolio of all your videos, giving you a useful overview of your progress throughout the course.

Unlimited Support

You’ll be assigned an expert academic tutor who'll be with you from enrolment to graduation. Their support is unlimited and you can contact them by phone or via the Student Community. They’ll answer any questions you have about coursework, study materials, and assessments, and help you work through any part of the course you’re stuck with.

They’ll also give you test papers and mock exams to ensure you’re ready to pass your exams. All your papers will be given constructive feedback so you know exactly what your strengths are and what you can improve.

Our dedicated student support team will be on hand to assist you with administrative tasks, using the Student Community, and any other non-academic queries you may have.

Once you've completed your course, you'll be fully qualified to work as a personal trainer, either self-employed or within a gym. 

Once you've completed this course, you could continue your professional development with: 

  1. Apprenticeship in Exercise and Fitness
  2. YMCA Awards Level 3 Award in Business Skills for the Fitness Professional
  3. YMCA Awards Level 3 Award in Instructing Outdoor Fitness
  4. YMCA Awards Level 3 Award in Sports Conditioning
  5. Level 3 Certificate in Sports Massage (Soft Tissue Therapy)
  6. Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral

To complete this course, you'll need access to the resources below. You'll need to provide evidence of this before you enrol. 


  1. A computer or laptop with internet to access, complete and submit coursework 
  2. A webcam and microphone in order to sit online exams 
  3. A tablet, smartphone or camera to video and submit practical assessment
  4. A printer and scanner to print relevant documents and be able to scan into the system 

Practical Element  

  1. Access to a gym to practice the physical element of course and complete final practical assessment 
  2. Authorisation to film within the gym so you can complete this assessment 
  3. A 'gym buddy' (who can access your gym) to participate in the physical element

This qualification is regulated by Ofqual and supported by REPs (the Register of Exercise Professionals), an independent public register which recognises the qualifications and expertise of fitness professionals in the UK. One of their key functions is to provide a system of regulation for instructors and trainers to ensure that they meet the Health and Fitness Industry’s agreed National Occupational Standards.

To gain recognition by the Register of Exercise Professionals, you must provide evidence that you meet the National Occupational Standards that underpin the YMCA Awards Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing. These standards are produced by Skills Active, the Sector Skills Council for Active Leisure & Wellbeing, who represent the needs of the industry as agreed by employers and other stakeholders.

You can find out more about REPs here.

Please note that a £80 YMCA Awards registration and certification fee applies. You'll also have to pay a £15 exam fee per sitting.

Please contact us for the latest fee information. 

The benefit of completing this course with us is that all of our assessments are completed at a time that suits you, giving you full flexibility. It also means that you don’t have to attempt them until you feel ready, as opposed to us dictating when and where you should undergo assessment.

Multiple Choice Theory Paper

We use an E-proctor site that allows you to sit the theory papers under ‘exam conditions’ from the comfort of your own home, at a time that suits you. You will be directed to a designated website to use to sit your multiple choice examination.

The whole examination process will be recorded using your webcam. At the beginning of the examination you will go through some security checks, select the appropriate examination paper, and record your exam session (using your webcam) within the designated time.

Upon completion, you will be given a provisional grade, which will be confirmed once your recorded session has been assessed to ensure that you adhered to the exam guidelines.

Please note: the fee for sitting these proctored multiple choice examinations is £15 for each examination sitting.

Submission of Worksheets

You will be required to complete a number of worksheets. The questions are designed to check your competency and understanding of the course content.  In order to achieve an overall pass in each worksheet, you will need to provide satisfactory answers to all questions. If your tutor feels you have not demonstrated sufficient knowledge in any section of the worksheet, you will be required to re-submit the work.

These worksheets will be completed in your own time. You can review your material to find out the answers to the questions although the answers do need to be written in your own words.

Please note: The worksheets will be completed, saved and submitted for assessment online through our e-Portfolio systems called Pebblepad.

Case Study

You will be required to build a client profile. You will need to complete all elements, which will be based on specific information gathered from working with your gym participant.  You will then build a programme specific to that person’s needs, carry it out over a period of time, and then evaluate the results.

This case study will be completed in your own time and does not require to be completed under ‘exam conditions’.

Practical Sessions

You will be required to record yourself delivering practical instruction sessions. For each practical element, the gym session must take place in one session, but should be split into smaller video clips (to allow for easy upload and assessment).  By allowing you to complete the session in this way, it means you can carry out the session at a time that suits you. You can use a mobile phone or tablet to record and upload your recordings (via wifi to avoid data charges).