Acquiring a personal trainer certification doesn't come cheap. And without one, you will struggle to land well-paying personal training jobs. Fortunately, government-funded personal training courses can help you to acquire a personal trainer certification for free or at a lower cost.
In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about government-funded personal training courses. We will cover areas such as the eligibility criteria, the different types of funding available as well as the pros and cons of government funding personal training courses.
And by the time you finish going through this guide, you will have all the information you need, to decide whether government-funded personal training courses are the best choice for you for getting certified as a personal trainer.
1. Eligibility Criteria
As the name suggests, government-funded personal training courses refer to personal training courses supported by funding from the government. They are designed for fitness enthusiasts looking to become personal trainers, but they may not have the funds needed to pursue a personal training certification the conventional way.
Similar to other types of government funding, government-funded personal training courses come with strict eligibility criteria. To qualify for these courses, you should meet the following conditions.
- Be at least 19 years at the beginning of your course
- Must be undertaking a fitness-related course at level 3 or above
- Must be pursuing an eligible level-3 course such as Level 3 Exercise Referral, Level 3 Sports Massage or Level 3 Personal Trainer Course
If you meet the above eligibility criteria, then you should consider applying for government-funded personal training courses. You can do the entire application online or download the application forms, fill them and then mail them to the relevant organization.
2. Available Options
When it comes to government-funded personal training courses, you have several options to explore. They include Advanced Learner Funding, Low Value Provision Scheme, Military Resettlement Grant, and apprenticeships. Let’s take a closer look at each of these government-funded courses.
2.1 Advanced Learner Funding
This is a type of government-funded course designed for individuals above the age of 19. It works like a conventional university degree. In this type of funding, the government will provide the learner with a loan, which they will use to finance their personal training course.
You will then be expected to pay back this loan after you’ve completed your personal training course. This type of government-funded personal training course is one of the most popular in the industry, due to its ease of application.
However, as much as the application process may be simple, the eligibility criteria are quite strict. For instance, you must have been staying in the U.K for at least three years at the time of commencing the course.
It’s also important to note that you can apply for this funding if you’ve previously used a similar type of funding in the past. For example, if you’ve already used this funding for your postgraduate qualification, then you can’t qualify for this loan, regardless of how you intend to use it.
Some personal trainers like FitAsylum and YMCA will guide you on how to apply for this loan. They may also help you to choose courses that may align best with your skills, qualifications and preferences.
2.2 Low Value Provision Scheme
The Low Value Provision Scheme is designed to equip individuals with the necessary skills and training, for those looking to secure a job in niche fields like personal training. To qualify for this program, you will need to fill an application form, providing relevant details such as the type of personal training that you will be offering as well as the counties where you will offer your services.
Your assigned supervisor will then check your documentation and decide to approve or turn down your application, depending on the details you’ve provided in your application form. You will need to demonstrate a passion for exercise and fitness to be approved for this government-funded course.
2.3 Military Resettlement Grant
A military resettlement grant is a tax-free amount of money paid to military personnel when they leave the military. You will need to have been in active duty for a minimum of 12 years.
While this may be like other government-funded personal training courses, you can use this money to fund your personal training course. With this grant for personal training certification, you will also have more freedom to choose where you want to undertake your course.
Apprenticeships are government-funded personal training courses, which combine studying for a qualification and on-the-job training. For most apprenticeships, you will spend one day studying in a college. You will then spend the remaining days of the week at your place of work.
Apprenticeships are available in different levels, ranging from Level 2 up to Level 6 and 7. What makes them such an appealing option for school leavers is that they provide an opportunity to acquire formal personal training qualifications, work experience, as well as real-life skills. You will also be earning a stable wage as you train.
The qualifications for this government-funded personal trainer course will depend on your employer and the college where you’ve enlisted. But in general, you must be at least 16 years or older, living in England. Also, most employers will require applicants to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade 9 to 4 or A to –C for the old grading system. Those five GCSEs must include Math and English.
Some colleges or employers may allow you to enlist for the program without the GCSEs in maths and English. But, you will be required to retake and pass them before completing your apprenticeship. Hence, it will be highly advisable to have them prior to applying for this program. Also, some employers may also require applicants to have some basic knowledge in the health and fitness industry, among other requirements.
Personal training apprenticeships last for approximately 12 months to 60 months to complete, depending on the course you’ve applied for and the qualification that you already have.
The best thing about personal training apprenticeships is that you will be gaining practical experience as you study, thus providing a well-rounded learning process. And as mentioned earlier, you will also be earning. Also, you will qualify for other employee benefits like statutory sick pay, holiday pay, maternity pay, and time off for emergencies, among other perks.
3. Government Funded Personal Training Courses Pros and Cons
Government-funded personal training courses come with both advantages and disadvantages. In this section, we will take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of government funded-training courses.
3.1 Government Funded Personal Training Courses Pros
So, why should you opt for government-funded personal training courses instead of non-funded ones? Here are some key benefits:
3.1.1 Minimal or No-Payment Needed
One of the main benefits of government-funded personal training courses is that you don’t need to make any up-front payment. And if the upfront payment will be needed, it will only be a small amount, which most applicants can afford.
With a government-funded personal training course, you can start pursuing your dream of becoming a certified personal trainer, without worrying about any payments.
3.1.2 No Credit Checks
A government-funded personal training course is not dependent on your credit history. Hence, even if you have a poor credit rating, you may still qualify for these loans. Hence, your financial situation will not limit you from qualifying for these courses.
3.1.3 Small Repayments
Most government-backed student loans come with small repayments. And this is also the case with government-funded personal trainer courses. In most cases, you will only begin repaying once you start earning a certain amount. Besides, the monthly repayments are around £15 to £30 per month, which is almost negligible.
3.2 Government Funded Personal Training Courses Cons
Like everything else, government-sponsored personal training courses also come with their fair share of drawbacks. Some of the disadvantages of government-sponsored personal trainer courses include:
3.2.1 Few Available Options
One of the biggest disadvantages of government-sponsored personal training courses is that you only have a few available options. Simply put, they are mainly designed for beginners. Hence, if you are looking to specialize in a certain field in personal training, you may be forced to opt for the non-funded courses.
3.2.2 They Lack Flexibility
Another huge drawback of government-funded personal training courses is that they lack flexibility. And this mainly applies to the timeframe and mode of study. With government-funded personal trainer courses, the timeframe and mode of study are usually fixed. For instance, if you would wish to pursue your course online as opposed to in-person learning, it’s highly likely you will not have that option. Hence, you may be forced to undertake some lifestyle changes to complete these courses on time.
4. Wrapping It Up
If your dream is to become a personal trainer but you don’t have enough money to pay for your certification, you can still pursue your passion through government-funded personal training courses. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, you will have an opportunity to undertake a personal training course, get certified and launch your personal training career, without paying anything upfront.