Personal Training Courses Compared

In this article, we compare some of the best personal training courses, looking at key criteria such as accreditations, the quality of learning resources, career services and payment options. Following this, you will be able to make an informed decision on who you wish to qualify with.

If you’re already set on a specific training provider and would like to know what comes next, then check out our detailed guide on ‘how to become a personal trainer’.

Alternatively, you can enquire about OriGym’s Personal Training Diploma today and learn first-hand why we’re the highest-rated provider.

What is The Best Personal Training Course in Ireland?

When questioning ‘what is the best personal training course?’ newcomers often make the mistake of not conducting research into the wider market. Typically, first-time students will opt for a qualification because it has the highest reviews, whilst others will go for the cheapest option.

The table below compares PT courses from 6 of Ireland’s premier training providers, focusing on the factors mentioned above:

Best personal training courses comparison table

Whilst price and personal training course reviews are important factors to consider, you also need to question:

  • Is the course regulated and accredited by authoritative/governing bodies?
  • How long will the course take to complete?
  • Will I receive career support following completion?
  • Are there any additional fees I should be aware of?
  • How will I be required to pay for my course?

Let’s look at each of these factors in detail and discuss how they shape the overall quality of a personal training course.

What Factors Make ‘The Best Personal Training Courses’ Legitimate?

certified best personal trainer course graphic

There are two qualifications you need to obtain in order to become a personal trainer.

The first is a Level 3 Fitness Instructor certification, which acts as a mandatory prerequisite before you can move on to complete a Level 4 Personal Training course. Many providers, including OriGym, will often package these two qualifications together in the form of a Personal Training Diploma.

When researching the best personal training courses, there are a number of factors that will determine whether or not the qualification meets the industry standards. Let’s take a closer look at each of these influences:

#1 – Awarding/Governing Bodies

best uk personal trainer course awarding bodies

There are 4 major awarding bodies (otherwise known as governing bodies) that specialise in personal training, this includes:

  • Focus Awards
  • YMCA Awards
  • Active IQ
  • NCFE

These awarding bodies have certified over 90% of the personal training market. With the other 10% receiving their awards from smaller, independent organisations.

When you complete your personal training qualification, the awarding body will appear on the certificate – Not your training provider.

The best personal training courses will always be awarded by legitimate governing bodies. Whilst employers won’t prioritise one organisation over the other, they will always check the legitimacy of your certificate before hiring you!

#2 – Ofqual Regulation

PT certificate PT courses compared

Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) is the sister organisation of Ofstead and is responsible for regulating all vocational training qualifications.

Although the qualification itself is delivered by a training provider, it’s Ofqual that dictates:

  • The course’s content
  • How the course is taught
  • How students are assessed
  • How the curriculum is scheduled

The purpose of Ofqual is to ensure uniformity across the personal training industry. This means regardless of which provider a student chooses, they will still receive the same education to meet a national standard – e.g. a Level 4 qualification will always be labelled with ‘Level 4’.

#3 – CIMSPA Endorsement

CIMSPA pt courses compared

The best personal training courses will all be endorsed by CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity), who help set the standard for those entering the fitness industry.

On CIMSPA’s website they clearly state their mission is to:

‘…shape a respected, regulated and recognised sector that everyone wants to be a part of and that others are confident interacting with…’

CIMSPA is committed to supporting, developing and enabling fitness professionals. This is achieved by ensuring that training providers meet and uphold standards that guarantee their student’s success.

When determining which personal training course is best for you, be on the lookout for CIMSPA’s logo on a training provider’s website. Alternatively, use their partner directory to see whether a provider is endorsed:

The Best Personal Training courses CIMSPA Partners

The example given above clearly shows OriGym to be a recognised CIMSPA partner, ensuring that our Personal Trainer course is fully endorsed.

When looking for the best certification course for becoming a personal trainer you cannot compromise on these three factors!

If a course is not awarded by a governing body, regulated or endorsed by legitimate organisations, it likely won’t be considered by employers. Take a look at this job advertisement from Indeed, which clearly states candidates must hold a recognised qualification:

Best personal training courses compared - dublin job ad indeed

In short, if your qualification does not meet these standards you’ll likely struggle to find employment.

Now that these necessities have been established, let’s look at other factors to consider when determining the best Level 4 Personal Trainer course for you.

Does The Training Provider Offer Different Study Methods?

Best UK Personal Training Qualification study methods

When choosing a provider for your personal training qualification you need to consider two things:

  • How do you want to study? In-person, online, or a combination of the two.
  • How long do you want the qualification to take? – Do you want to study self-paced or are you looking to meet a deadline?

For example, OriGym students in Ireland will complete their Personal Training course online. This study method places a focus on independent learning and allows you to qualify around all existing commitments.

In terms of how long this process takes, the answer is subjective to the student as the course is self-paced. On average, it’s completed in 16 weeks, but you can choose to take more or less time if you wish.

Who Will Be Leading Your Personal Training Course?

best certified personal trainer course tutors

Although our personal training courses are completed online with a focus on independent study, they have all been developed by our team of qualified expert tutors who have plenty of industry experience. Should you ever get stuck and need assistance with your qualification, you can access support 7-days a week via phone, email or chatox.

In addition to this, our tutors will be on hand to guide you through any of your practical assessments. This provides students with an excellent opportunity to get face-to-face feedback from a respected industry professional.

At OriGym, all our tutors hold qualifications relevant to the courses they teach. In addition to having years of experience working in the health and fitness industry.

However, that’s not to say that all training providers will meet these standards. Some may hire unqualified individuals to simply mark student work and provide generic feedback given to them from a handbook.

How Much Contact Do You Get With Course Tutors?

Tutor Support on the Best Level 3 Personal Trainer Course

Speaking of feedback, you’ll want to compare the amount of contact you can make with your tutors prior to enrolling on a course.

Tutor support can make all the difference when earning your qualification, and can be the difference between passing or failing an assessment.

Regardless of your chosen study method, the best personal training course provider will make it easy for you to reach out to tutors with any questions regarding your qualifications.

​​For example, at OriGym our students can talk to tutors 7 days a week, via:

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Chatbox

Other training providers don’t offer this same luxury and may restrict clients to a specific mode of contact, or take a certain amount of days to reply to an enquiry.

Are the Personal Training Provider’s Resources of High Quality?

best personal training courses study resources

When comparing the best Level 4 Personal Trainer courses, you also need to consider the quality of the resources you will use to complete the qualification as this can affect your learning experience.

For example, some providers may advertise their resources in a positive light but will then send their online students a PDF course pack and nothing else.

Whereas the best certified personal trainer courses will take a more nurturing approach and will deliver their online courses virtually through an interactive platform. This is what we do at OriGym and our eLearning platform is packed with resources to aid in our student’s future success, including:

  • Virtual course modules
  • Interactive quizzes
  • Videos
  • Online lectures
  • eBooks

This ensures that all students will get the same quality of education, regardless of how they study. But if you’d like to learn more about how exactly these resources benefit your education, check out our article discussing ‘What Does a Personal Training Course Involve?’.

Be sure to conduct your own research into a course provider prior to enrolment, in order to determine the quality of their resources. One way to do this is to check what other students have to say!

Is the Location of the Personal Training Course Accessible?

The Best Personal Training accessiblity

You’ll also want to make sure any practical elements of your course can be completed from an accessible location.

Some training providers don’t take this into consideration and will only have one fixed location. This means some students will be forced to travel to this specific venue in order to complete their course, regardless of how far it is.

As one of the best Level 4 Personal Trainer course providers, OriGym has multiple locations across Ireland & the UK. This makes practical assessments more accessible to students and reduces the distance they’ll have to travel.

How Can Personal Trainer Course Reviews Help Determine Which Course is Best for You?

Reviews determine the Best Personal Trainer Course

By comparing personal trainer course reviews from previous students you can determine whether a training provider is of high standards.

Through conducting this research, you can read first-hand accounts of students who have been in similar situations, and even discover whether the training provider fails to deliver services as advertised.

When looking for personal training course reviews, want to look at sites that can guarantee reliable/impartial comments, such as

With both of these sites, you have to be a verified customer to leave a review. This reduces falsified information being spread and allows you to make an informed decision based on facts.

When using these sites to directly compare the best personal training courses, you could use their star ratings as a simple method of reviewing quality. For example, you’ll see that OriGym has over 2,000 5-star reviews, which makes us the highest-rated training provider in Ireland.

Should you have a specific question about the course, you could even use Truspilot’s advanced search tool and look up reviews that use key phrases or terms.

The Best Personal Trainer Course Provider Will Offer Career Support

Student receiving career support from personal training course tutor

When comparing ‘what is the best company to do a personal training course with?’, you should also consider what services are provided after you qualify.

The best qualification providers will prioritise their students’ education and future success, going the extra mile to provide career services that prepare graduates to work in the industry.

For example, OriGym offers graduates:

  • CV analysis and distribution
  • Mock interviews 
  • A free marketing & business course
  • Guaranteed job interviews with corporate partners
  • Alumni discounts on industry-leading products

These services have helped over 92% of OriGym students find employment in the industry!

But not every training provider offers these services to graduates, some won’t even contact students following the completion of their course. As a result, these individuals may struggle to find employment, especially if they have no previous experience in the industry.

How to Get Value for Money from Your Personal Training Course Provider

Personal trainer course compared value for money

For some, the best personal training course will be the cheapest option. However, there is no use in saving money if you’re going to get sub-par training and many of these ‘cheap’ or ‘free’ qualifications will fail to meet the standards discussed throughout this article.

Instead, you should opt for a cost-effective course that provides you with all the aforementioned services.

For example, OriGym is a cost-effective alternative, which meets and exceeds industry standards, never compromising on the quality of our qualifications.

As you can see from the graph below, we fall in the more affordable range for providers while still providing all the necessary resources to help you succeed:

Best personal training courses graph comparison

The providers that charge higher fees will do so for a variety of reasons. For example, some may want to create a feeling of luxury surrounding their qualifications and believe an effective way of doing this is to increase the price.

Top Tip: Check the Provider’s Financing and Payment Plan Options

What Is The Best Personal Training Course Price?

When deciding which personal training course is best for your personal circumstances, you also could choose a provider that offers payment plans.

This approach allows you to spread the cost of the course into small manageable chunks, rather than paying upfront and in full as soon as you enrol. At OriGym we believe in making our qualifications as accessible as possible, which is why our students can set a payment plan at 0% interest!

But be aware, not every training provider will offer this option and even if some do, they may charge interest over the course of time!

Extra Costs to Consider When Choosing the Best Personal Trainer Courses

Best Personal Training Course UK Finance options

When considering the cost of a personal training course, you need to be aware that some providers will charge you excess or hidden fees for specific services. For this reason, we’d advise you to conduct thorough research prior to choosing a provider.

For example, some training providers may charge extra for the likes of:

  • Exams
  • Resits
  • Certification fees – Such as producing the certificate itself
  • Admin fees – Such as processing the qualification

Some courses that may initially seem cheap could be plagued with these hidden costs, which drastically increase the price.

But rest assured, OriGym doesn’t charge any additional fees for these aforementioned services. For example, we offer all our students free unlimited resits on all exams and assessments, as no one should be penalised in this manner!

​​We do this for transparency, as we believe that the price you’re quoted is the price that you should pay!

Before You Go!

Remember, when comparing the best personal training courses, you should opt for a provider that offers a plethora of services to guarantee your future success.

OriGym offers this level of support and has helped 92% of graduates find employment. If you want to be a part of this impressive stat, enquire about our Personal Trainer Diploma today!

Alternatively, download our FREE course prospectus to learn more about our qualifications.

Enquire Now

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Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym!

  • Qualify & start earning in just 2 weeks

  • Study full-time, part-time or online

  • Endorsed by CIMSPA

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About the Author: Luke Hughes

luke hughes origym authour
Luke is the Co-Founder of OriGym. Holding a first-class degree in Sport and Exercise and an MSc in Sport and Nutrition, he is also qualified as a Level 4 Personal Trainer with various specialist credentials covering the entire spectrum of health, fitness and business. Luke has contributed to a variety of major industry publications, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Metro, Cosmopolitan, The Mirror, The Sun, The Standard and more.

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