Considering a career as a personal trainer? Find out how to become a personal trainer in Australia with our 6 step process:
I could sit here and write a blog that basically says do your Certificate IV in fitness and choose your business name. This might be technically correct however if you want to become a PT and actually have a long and successful career then there is a lot more to it than just completing your course.
What follows is 6 critical steps that outline what must be done if you want to succeed as a PT. Failure to compete any of the 6 will have a detrimental effect on your chances on 'making it' in what is one of the world’s most competitive yet rewarding industries to work in.
Step 1.Train yourself
A passion for training others always needs to start with a passion for training yourself. I love exploring movement of the human body, always have, and always will. The aesthetics that comes from training has just been a by-product and I suggest you look at it the same way. I understand that body image is important I get that, however as a PT if you have a high focus on just how you look it presents a very superficial view on the fitness industry. Health and Performance should always be the highest priority. I highly recommend that you spend years training yourself first before you venture into business as a PT because in short, how are you supposed to know what your client is going through if you haven’t experienced it yourself first.
Step 2: Shadow a PT
Walk in the shoes of a PT, a typical cert IV in fitness requires you to shadow a PT for 20 hours. I personally would set that figure at 100hrs. Again the better you know what you’re in for on the ‘other side’ the better you can make a judgement of if its right for you and what challenges lie ahead. Be sure to shadow PT’s in all environments, indoors, outdoors and studios so again you can get a feel for what works for you, don’t get stuck doing all your hours in an environment that you’re comfortable in.
Step 3: Do a Cert IV in Fitness
Remember spending more money on your course doesn’t mean a superior product. In fact often the opposite is true. Be sure to choose a RTO that has a well rounded scope of training practice and doesn’t live in the dinosaur age of the isolation model. If you choose online learning remember you need to work twice as hard to get the practical context of what you are learning. The amount of times I’ve lectured online students face to face that have wished they chose the face to face option because they gained so much more context from the information being taught face to face.
Step 4: Choose your location/Niche/Business name
Once you have done your hours shadowing you should have a good idea of the styles of training you love, the types of people you want to be around and the environment you prefer. Now put all that into practice by finding an opportunity in the area you wish to work. Nut out your brand, niche and business name in order to give your vision some clarity and direction and above all remember the golden rule of ‘you can’t be everything to everybody’ nor do you want to be because you won’t attract the type of client you want to work with. Direct your business to the people and style of training you love.
Step 5: Register your business
Get straight onto Fitness Australia and other national bodies to get your service the necessary registrations required, this will include, Fitness Australia, Fair Trading, Insurance, First Aid, and so forth. Without them you won’t be able to successfully establish yourself and be legal.
Step 6: Find a mentor and learn as much as you can as quick as you can
This final step is probably the most important moving forward. Remember first and foremost, your Cert IV in fitness lays a paper thin foundation and it doesn’t matter what industry you work in, if you have a weak foundation then cracks will appear. Without aggressive up skilling both formally and informally you will struggle to succeed long term. One for the biggest issues new PT’s have is the excessively high turnover of clients in their first 12 months. This is primarily due to lack of knowledge and it’s this skills gap that ultimately send PT’s back to their day jobs. Be sure to find a PT who has 10 years industry experience that you respect. Get semi regular training from them, pick their brain and play 20 questions. Learn the mistakes that they made so you don’t have to make them. It’s the cheapest and quickest way to safe guard yourself in the industry moving forward.
How much do personal trainers make? What is the average personal trainer salary in Australia?
These are good questions and ones that not only individuals who are considering the fitness industry should ask but also those that are in the process of establishing themselves as personal trainers. Annual salaries for personal trainers vary significantly between $25,000 - $150,000+ depending on the level of experience, dedication, and what role personal training plays in their life. The average personal trainer that lasts longer than the initial 6 month set-up phase generally earns $30,000-$50,000 in their first year after tax.
Setting your hourly rate:
How much we should charge as an hourly rate is a really tough question and one that struggles to be answered in 500 words, there are however some key considerations that we can look at to help us find a figure that we are comfortable with. This is critical as the figure that we decide on needs to directly match the service that we provide so our clients see value in the figure. If they don’t match then not only will you struggle to get clients but your client list will act like a revolving door and you will struggle to hold onto them.
The first point that needs to be made about setting your price is you confidence. Confidence dictates most things in life and making money is no different. If you do not believe you are worth the price that you are charging then your leads will eventually see through your mask and you will struggle to maintain a steady client list. Ensure that you love the product that you offer and it is well suited to the market you are targeting. If you don’t think the product is the ‘beez knees’ then how can you expect others to?
If you create exceptional value that is highly targeted to your niche market then the price automatically gets taken out of the equation simply because you get exceptional ‘buy in’ from the lead as they see so much value. Consider the hourly rate less of money that is handed over for the 60min and more the price they pay for a ‘package’ that includes services A, B, C ,D & E (value adds!). This is far more attractive in the client’s eyes than the alternative.
The simple fact around location is that you simply can’t charge as much out of the city as you can in the city. In fact there are even large variances from city to city depending on the size. Sydney and Melbourne pt rates are generally 20% higher than Brisbane for example. PT’s that base themselves out of the city in rural communities find they are naturally drawn more towards offering group sessions than 1-on-1 because they can’t charge the rates that make is worthwhile, while at the same time it’s more affordable for the clients. So think carefully where exactly you want to establish yourself. If you want to get the most out of a location then my golden rule is to set up within a 20-25km radius on the CBD of a major city. You will get the best bang for your buck.
While you are learning your trade mistakes are made, we all make them its part of learning no matter what the trade is. So if you’re finding your feet in a self employment setting, be kind on yourself. Start with a lower hourly rate and look to increase your hourly rate each year as your experience increases. Not only will you build a quicker client base meaning you can stay afloat more easily but you then increase your experience quicker as you increase the number of hands on hours faster.
If a high hourly rate, steady lead generation and excellent retention rate sounds good to you then be sure to check out the PT Accelerator Program. Click the button below.
Tristan Hill, Masters of Sports Coaching, author of Lifting the Bar and mentor to Personal Trainers.