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Level: 3

Location: Johnson Building

Years: 1

Interview: Y

Course Summary

This one-year certificate course is aimed at students wishing to become a personal trainer in the active leisure industry. 

We advise that all students should already hold the pre-requisite Level 2 Diploma in Fitness Instruction (Gym-Based Exercise) and should have achieved GCSE English at grade 4 or higher.

Entry requirements

This course is suitable for students who have previously studied a Level 2 Diploma in Exercise and Fitness Instruction or have completed a similar Level 2 Gym Instruction qualification.

Students will also need to have five GCSEs graded at 9-4 (A*-C) and to have competency in English and maths to help with the theoretical aspects of the programme. Preferably students should have both GCSE Maths and English at grade 4 or higher but will be able to resit Maths if accepted on the study programme. 

You should be able to demonstrate high standards of discipline, punctuality and attendance. It is essential that each student works to the deadlines set or they may face changes to, or withdrawal from, their study programme.

Practical sessions are compulsory, so students must also be physically able to take part in both indoor and outdoor sessions. Although current gym membership is not required, you will be expected to use the gym as part of your ongoing professional development.  Your work placements may require you to travel to other College sites or to be available in gyms early in the morning or late at night.

Course Content

Knowledge and understanding relating to the qualification covers:

  • anatomy and physiology including:
    - the heart and circulatory system
    - the musculoskeletal system
    - postural and core stability
    - the nervous, endocrine and energy systems and their relation to exercise and health
  • how to maintain health, safety and welfare in a variety of fitness environments, including the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults
  • how to programme safe and effective exercise for a range of clients, the health benefits of physical activity and the importance of healthy eating
  • how to communicate with clients effectively and motivate them to adhere to an exercise programme
  • how to apply the principles of nutrition to support client goals as part of an exercise and physical activity programme
  • how to design, manage and adapt a gym-based exercise and personal training programme with apparently healthy adults of all ages
  • how to deliver exercise and physical activity as part of a programme for apparently healthy adults of all ages.

How will I be assessed?

You will build a portfolio based around evidence generated by the various assessment methods in each unit.  You can expect to be assessed through:

  • eAssessment
  • multiple choice examination
  • a portfolio of evidence
  • practical demonstration/assignment
  • written examination

GCSE Maths, if studied, will be assessed through a final exam.

Are there any additional costs or specialist equipment required?

You will need to purchase a kit. The cost of this will be finalised at the start of the course but is expected to be in the region of £100 and will include your contribution towards the end-of-year celebration event, trips and guest speakers. This money is to be received before November and in return you will get free gym membership for the academic year.
There may be additional costs incurred for selected trips or visits. On completion of the course, candidates may choose to pay for membership towards becoming a registered exercise professional (REP).
The course provides: 
  • 20 REPs CPD points 
  • Level 3 entry to REPs
  • 10 CIMSPA points

REPs 20 point CPD logo

What can I do after this course?

Further study
You could consider progressing to courses covering:
  • Sports Massage
  • Sports Coaching
  • Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching*
  • Pre-natal and Ante-natal Exercise
  • Exercise Referral
  • Weight management for individuals with obesity
You may wish to seek employment in the sports and active leisure industry but the skills gained on the course are transferable to a wide range of jobs in other sectors.
*Based at Derby College - the course has no recognised UCAS points for other HE applications


This course is run at the Johnson Building

About the Johnson Building »

centre for sport

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Derby College offer sport, health and leisure facilities for public use. This includes fitness centre, sports hall and outdoor pitch hire plus lots more. Located at Broomfield Hall, Johnson Building and Mackworth.

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E. Wheeldon-Jones

E. Wheeldon-Jones

Former sports student Ellie prepares for coaching trip to Australia

Sports coach Ellie Wheeldon-Jones is planning to go to Australia to teach swimming after successfully completing a foundation degree course in sports coaching at Derby College. Ellie, who has always been sporty, would like to travel and take a break from studying before deciding whether or not to take a third-year top up degree course. Like her sister Sophie, who is now a personal trainer, and her boyfriend Mykylo, a semi-professional cricketer, Ellie initially took the BTEC sports sciences course at Derby College after leaving school following GCSEs.She then went on to take her foundation degree at Broomfield Hall and is currently working as a children's swimming coach as well as teaching tampolining to adults.

Ellie said: "One of the best things about the foundation degree course was the amount of one-to-one attention you receive. Our groups were small so the lecturers had more time to dedicate to you. It was hard work but I enjoyed it and felt very comfortable at Broomfield."
Ellie has participated in many sports including gymnastics, athletics and running during and since her schooldays. She has also swum at county level.

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