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Gym Instructor or Personal Trainer?

Written by Kristine Beissner

May 14, 2020


If you’re wondering which fitness career path is for you, read on as we step out the opportunities available to both Cert III in Fitness qualified Gym Instructors and Cert IV in Fitness qualified Personal Trainers.

Gym Instructor Fitness Institute

Certificate III in Fitness Instructors learn to deliver a wide range of industry tasks.

Fitness Australia’s Professional Scope of Practice highlights the value of exercise professionals in our communities by noting that qualified instructors and trainers play a significant role in enhancing the overall quality of life and health of individuals by planning and delivering safe and effective exercise programs. 

If you’re wondering where to start in the dynamic and rewarding Sport, Fitness and Recreation industry, the Cert III in Fitness qualifies you as a Gym Instructor and is your entry into a role providing exercise instruction for low and moderate risk clients.

The range of roles a Gym Instructor performs in the fitness industry include providing:

  • Health Screening
  • Tailored client assessments
  • Technique direction and correction
  • Gym based fitness programs
  • Referral to Medical and Allied Health Professionals
  • Client program reviews
  • Supervision of a facility and exercise environments
  • Maintenance to ensure equipment and the facility stays hygienic, clean, tidy and functional
  • Customer service and support
  • Safety audits, risk assessment and risk management
  • First Aid
  • Nationally endorsed public health information to educate and support positive health outcomes
  • Basic healthy eating information and advice as defined by nationally endorsed nutritional standards and guidelines

Ref: training.gov.au

Whilst a gym instructor will report to a manager, it’s expected they will not need to be directly supervised and are capable of working independently in controlled environments such as fitness, leisure, aquatic and community centres, where risks are managed through pre-existing risk assessment and hazard control processes.

In terms of exercise programming, a Certificate III in Fitness qualified gym instructor is trained to deliver and review basic exercise programs that people can follow on their own for extended periods of time (e.g. 4 to 6 weeks).

The Scope of Practice DOES NOT include:

  • Provision of nutritional advice outside basic healthy eating information and nationally endorsed nutritional standards and guidelines
  • Therapeutic treatment or independent rehabilitative exercise prescription for high-risk clients
  • Diagnostic tests or procedures
  • Sports coaching
  • Psychological counseling

Ref: Scope of Practice for AusREPs

Personal Trainer Fitness Institute

Certificate IV in Fitness qualified Trainers develop specialised skills….


The Certificate IV in Fitness builds on and differs from a Certificate III in Fitness in that it trains graduates to work independently (either in their own business, as an employee or contractor).

A Personal Trainer is also trained in performing leadership and co-ordinating roles.

While Personal Trainers may work in sport, fitness and recreation facilities, they are also able to work in unpredictable environments like outdoors, client homes, community spaces and workplaces.

A Cert IV in Fitness qualified Personal Trainer is trained to develop and deliver specialised group and individual strength and conditioning programs as well as maintain consistent monitoring and client support during and between sessions.

Meet some of Fitness Institute’s students HERE.  

Find out more about Fitness Institute’s full range of courses HERE.  

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