Before embarking on a course there are some key things you may want to think about and questions to ask a training provider:
First, ensure the course you are taking is endorsed by SkillsActive and recognised by REPs. This way you can be assured that your qualification will be recognised by the industry and may even be recognised internationally. The best way to check this is by logging onto our training portal.
Make sure you find out about the format of the course. Are you expected to do some home study? How much contact time is there? If you know you learn better in person rather than studying at home, this is important information for you. On the other hand, if you are pushed for time or juggling your course with a full time job, self study may suit you very well.
Be aware too of how much of the course is online distance learning i.e. self learned. Whilst lack of contact time might suit your schedule, remember that these are practical skills you are acquiring and you will need time to learn, assimilate and practice!
Whilst price is important, always check what you are getting for your money. All courses are not equal! How much student support is available? What course materials are included? Will exams or re-takes cost extra? Will you be registered on REPs on completion?
Does it cover what you want to do?
Decide what you really want to do in the industry... to start with! Make sure the course you are looking at qualifies you to do what you want it to! For example, if you want to teach spinning, you would be best advised to do a Level 2 Exercise to Music qualification first. If you are unsure, you can always call our team of friendly advisors to check. In addition, our description of job roles within the industry will really help you to clarify exactly what options are available to you (link here). Remember too that it may be worth getting qualified and just getting started in the industry, rather than doing a whole lot of courses in one go. Once you start working in the sector, your ideas about what you want to do might change from what you originally intended!
Be aware that some training providers offer bundled packages. They combine several courses together in a package which is very comprehensive and can offer good value for money. This can be a really good way to quickly achieve your goals but bear in mind that once started you may want to change direction.
Check which categories your course or courses will get you on REPs. Be aware that some courses give entry to REPs e.g. Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training. Check whether the extra courses in a bundle are REPs entry courses or CPD only. CPD is ‘continued professional development’ and does not give you a REPs category. For example, in order to be a gym instructor, you will need the Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing. Other courses such as kettlebells, boxing, bosu are CPD.
Do shop around. This can be a big investment in your time and money. It is worth visiting the venue(s) and even meeting past students to see if you will enjoy it.
Check that the tutors are qualified and experienced.