14 December, 2017

First of all, it’s worth going over what a gym instructor actually is. You’d be forgiven to think they’re the same as a personal trainer. They might look the same and both work in a gym, however a gym instructor can only carry out certain tasks and activities, which include:

  • Demonstrating how to use certain exercise equipment
  • Explaining and enforcing safety rules for use of exercise equipment
  • Giving emergency first aid if required
  • Running pre-choreographed group exercise classes, for example LesMills®, Spinning® or Zumba®.

A Gym Instructor’s role is therefore somewhat limited, and for this reason many of those that study to become a Gym Instructor, carry on with their studies to become a Personal Trainer.


The qualifications needed to become a Gym Instructor is to attain your Certificate III in Fitness, once you have this you can do most of the above activities, however if you want to teach classes, you’ll likely need additional class related qualifications, for example LesMills® have their own qualifications you’ll need in order to teach BodyPump®.

The way the journey to a career in Personal Training is structured is such that you can get a job and start building experience whilst your study. When you gain your Certificate III in Fitness, you can start working as a Gym Instructor whilst continuing your study for the Certificate IV in Fitness. We also offer a combined Personal Trainer course that helps you progress through the certificates and into the job of your dreams.

What does becoming a personal trainer actually mean?

Quite simply, you can do a lot more with your Certificate IV in Fitness. You also become a lot more employable. Additional activities and tasks you can carry out as a PT include being able to work one-to-one with clients, work in small groups of clients, prescribe customised and individual workouts, run bootcamps, run classes of your own making, correct clients technique, offer national advice and start your own fitness business.

As a Gym Instructor, then, your job opportunities are more limited than if you were to get the Certificate IV in Fitness. However, if you only want to run a group class, like a LesMills class, you only need to become a Gym Instructor.

If you happen to be reading this from a country other than Australia, and want to become a Gym Instructor in Australia then as long as you are a qualified gym instructor in your country, and that qualification is recognised in Australia, you’ll be able to sign up to Fitness Australia and start working as a Gym Instructor. You can find out if you have a recognised qualification by going to ICREPS. If you‘re looking to travel then you should check out our post on how to travel the world as a personal trainer.

If you’re ready to get started, take a look at our fitness courses.

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