Hey everyone, and welcome to PT Pioneer, your ultimate destination for all things related to the fitness industry.

My name is Tyler, and I’ll be using my years and experience in the game to help you understand what it takes and guide you through the process of becoming a fitness pro.

I also highly recommend that you take the quiz and find out which certification is best for your career goals.

What type of Certification are you looking to get?

I designed this quiz to offer an easy insight into which certification would be best for you.

With that out of the way, today we’ll discuss the Best Personal Trainer Certifications in Australia and, specifically, which one you should get when aiming for qualifications.

To paint a clear picture, I’ll be touching on the following points:

  • Cost
  • Accreditation
  • Study materials
  • Popularity

With that said, let’s get right into it.

Best Personal Trainer Certification In Australia

The Australian Fitness Market

While I’ve gone over this topic in detail in another article, it’s good to give you a bit of a reference as we go on to discuss personal trainer courses. You can check that article out here.

As a developed Western country, fitness is a significant industry with a huge turnover in Australia.

The bustling sports, recreation, and wellness culture is a firm foundation for one of the most profitable health and fitness industries on the planet.

Australia also has a relatively healthy population when compared to the United States.

In a 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, Australia was placed 7th out of 169 countries.

Australia is also experiencing a decline in smoking due to the exorbitant price of tobacco in the country.

But what does a healthy population mean in reality?

It means the population is relatively conscious about health and fitness goals, which would naturally lead them to invest in the health and fitness industry.

This is evidenced by the fact that Australia has the  8th most profitable fitness industry in the world, with a turnover of over $2.8 billion per year, according to runrepeat.com.

Australia also sees 15.3% of the population having a gym or health club membership, giving it one of the highest gym penetration rates globally.

Australian fitness enthusiasts also have the 7th highest disposable income, meaning they have the money to spend if they’re positioned to earn it.

To be in that position, you must be qualified and authorized to work as a personal trainer in Australia.

To do that, you need to get certified.

Personal Trainer Certifications In Australia

Unlike many countries, Australia has a tightly regulated approach toward the profession of fitness instruction.

You must submit to government-standardized fitness assessments to become a certified personal trainer.

This system is similar to how the UK regulates and administers its credentials for fitness professionals.

There are several qualification tiers available if you want to certify as a fitness professional in Australia, those being Certificat III In Fitness and Certificate IV In Fitness.

There are a few levels below, but I’ll discuss these two. I’ll also mainly focus on Certificate IV since you need one to become a PT in Australia.

Certificate II

Certificate III (sis30315 certificate III) is the foundational course you need to complete to have a foot in the door of the fitness industry in Australia.

It authorizes successful candidates to work as certified gym instructors running group classes and boot camps.

This authorization doesn’t permit you to work as a personal trainer, deal with one on one clients, or develop and implement workout programs.

It simply allows you to be able to set up and run group fitness experiences in an established facility.

If you want to deal with clients more personally, you must obtain a Certificate IV in Fitness.

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Certificate IV In Fitness

Certificate IV (sis40215 certificate IV) lets you operate as a fully-fledged certified personal trainer under government and industry regulations.

This certification expands on what you’d have been introduced to in Certificate IV and offers deeper insight into the following subjects and skills.

  • Fitness program design
  • Client assessments
  • Nutritional concepts
  • Exercise Science and Physiology
  • Anatomy
  • Biomechanics
  • Injury prevention and rehab
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Working with different population groups

With that said, there only is one certification to look out for.

So what’s the point of an article reviewing fitness certifications when there’s only one to consider?

While there is only one standardized certification, it is administered by numerous different education providers, each with its take and its unique spin on how fitness should be learned.

In this article, I’ll review the different providers, so you can decide which one delivers Certification IV in Fitness in the best possible way.

It’s also worth considering that besides certification, working as a fitness professional in Australia requires extra commitments, such as taking on insurance and registering with Fitness Australia or Physical Activity Australia.

You can’t legally operate as a PT in Australia without insurance as it leaves you wide open for some serious litigation if things go wrong, and let’s face it, things often do go wrong when physical activity is involved.

Fitness Australia and Physical Activity Australia can help with insurance, and they also provide a platform that exposes trainers such as yourself to opportunities and business networks.

You’ll also be able to maintain your certifications through them.

Membership with Fitness Australia and Physical Activity Australia allows you access to the following:

  • AusREPs Registration
  • Boutique Business Membership
  • Business Accreditation
  • Business Membership
  • CEC Provider
  • Sole Trader Member
  • Student Member

Top Recommended Australian Personal Trainer Cert Providers

Australian Fitness Academy

Since  1993, the Australian Fitness Academy has been an industry pioneer in Australian health and fitness education.

As a provider of nationally recognized fitness courses, they have cultivated a tried and tested system of education delivery with a track record to back it up.

They accommodate numerous learning styles by offering various online or face-to-face learning options, thus catering to various lifestyle commitments.

Clean Health Fitness Institute

Founded in 2008, the Clean Health Institute has become one of the most reputable health and fitness education providers in Australia, promoting quality physical activity and healthy eating.

This reputation has extended globally; they are considered pioneers in the health and fitness credentials community.

In the relatively short time they’ve been around, they’ve qualified over 30,000 certified fitness instructors in over 35 countries.

They are 100% online-based and stand as a digital learning platform.

Australian Institute of Fitness 

Established back in 1979, AIF is  Australia’s first national fitness certification provider.

From then on, AIF has become the gold standard in Australian fitness education, helping thousands qualify and build successful careers while contributing to public health.

Part of AIF’s unique and well-established approach is its provision of fully functioning campuses. 

Where most providers deliver training material and assigned testing venues, if not completely online, AIF provides dedicated facilities and infrastructure.

Onfit Training College

Onfit was established in 2008 when founders Don and Rhonda Bacchi took their wealth of experience and expertise in health and fitness and put it towards a platform for second-to-none professional development.

They were early adopters of the online education model for fitness in Australia and quickly innovated some of the more prominent features we see today.

Their expertise in fitness and online courses has set Onfit up as the premier digital destination for fitness credentials.

Personal Training Academy

PT Academy is a family-run course provider with a strong reputation in the Australian fitness community.

Being a family-run business means there is a foundational value for the quality of people who enter the doors of PTA. This type provides value to their community and builds a fruitful career.

PTA delivers courses in over 15 countries and is considered an international cert by many due to this.

Best Personal Trainer Certification In Australia 3
Best Personal Trainer Certification In Australia 4

Prerequisites

Now that you’re acquainted with the different providers in this Australian certification shootout let’s look at what’s required before you’re allowed to enroll.

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Prerequisites are criteria you need to meet before you can gain access to an educational program.

When it comes to fitness trainer programs, the prerequisites are usually fairly relaxed.

Let’s see what the entry requirements are down under.

CertificationPrerequisites
Australian Fitness AcademyCertificate III in Fitness, First AID/CPR/AED
Australian Institute of FitnessCertificate III in Fitness, First AID/CPR/AED
Clean Health InstituteCertificate III in Fitness, First AID/CPR/AED
Onfit Training CollegeCertificate III in Fitness, First AID/CPR/AED
Personal Training AcademyCertificate III in Fitness, First AID/CPR/AED

Across the board, the prerequisites for certifying as a personal trainer in Australia are the same.

After all, you’re dealing with a standardized certification, with the only difference being the provider you obtain it from.

Certificate III in Fitness needs to be completed so that you can progress to IV, and your first responder certifications are a standard requirement for most fitness certs across the world.

Accreditation

Accreditation is a seal of approval provided by a governing body or panel of experts, indicating that an education provider has met or exceeded all the standard requirements when it comes to the currency of content and the method in which it’s delivered.

Since the government standardizes the Australian Certificate IV, we can assume an official organization accredits all providers.

CertificationAccreditation/Endorsements
Australian Fitness AcademyRTO/ASQA
Australian Institute of FitnessRTO
Clean Health InstituteRTO/ASQA
Onfit Training CollegeRTO/AQTF
Personal Training AcademyRTO/ACPET

As you would expect, all certification providers are Nationally Registered Training Organisations or RTOs.

This is the standard accreditation you need to look out for.

It’s also a good idea to cross-check the validity of accreditation claims with the actual accrediting commission.

That’s because it’s easy enough to slap a sticker on a website that looks legit, but if the cert provider is not on the registry, then you know something is fishy.

Study Materials Rating

Study materials are an important aspect of any certification program.

You will need them to gain the necessary knowledge and resources for a successful attempt at the final exam.

Study materials come in different shapes and sizes, but as a rule of thumb, I generally look for the following things:

  • Course textbook
  • Course study guide or workbook
  • Practice tests/exams or quizzes
  • Multimedia learning content for increased accessibility
  • On-demand student support

Including all these ensures the best possibility of success in my experience.

I also love it when certifications include personal training and business resources. You are ultimately working towards running your own business while you help people.

To figure out if the study materials from each provider are a hit or miss, I’ll be rating them out of 10.

CertificationStudy Material Rating (out of 10)
Australian Fitness Academy9
Australian Institute of Fitness9
Clean Health Institute8
Onfit Training College9
Personal Training Academy8

Based on information and reviews I’ve had the opportunity to look at, the study material packages from all providers are pretty decent.

AIF was pretty cool because they have a campus learning option that improves access and relevance of study materials by default.

Clean Health seems to have to take a leaf from some of the top names in fitness credentials, such as NASM, in presenting their study options.

Overall, as far as study materials are concerned, they all do a great job.

So with the materials, you get all scoring similarly; let’s see if the price will separate these providers.

Australian PT Certification Cost

CertificationCost of certification/qualification
Australian Fitness AcademyN/A
Australian Institute of FitnessN/A
Clean Health InstituteN/A
Onfit Training CollegeN/A
Personal Training AcademyN/A

Providers are very tight-lipped about the cost of their courses until you have met the prerequisites and committed to registration.

The reason is that many courses come with options for elective modules or subjects, all of which create a unique, customizable experience for candidates wishing to specialize or nice down.

These modules all factor indifferently when it comes to your total tuition fee.

There are, however, some public figures you can keep in mind when it comes to certification costs across the board.

For instance, you’ll pay approximately $4,500.00 per year for a bundled cert III and cert IV.

Certificate III will cost $3,600.00, while Certificate IV averages about $6,000.00 for the respective 36-week and 54-week courses.

Most institutions offer low-interest payment plans, meaning you don’t have to pay one large lump sum at once.

You can pay a bi-weekly or monthly amount to cover the costs while avoiding the pitfalls of hefty student loans.

It seems cost depends on how you want to approach your certification and not necessarily the provider.

Expected Study Time

The amount of time required to complete a course will indicate which one is suitable for you.

We all have different time constraints, commitments, and responsibilities, which means finding a cert that fits with your schedule is valuable and cannot be compromised.

As far as study time is concerned, it also varies based on what sort of learner you are.

Your style of learning and working will also determine how much time a course will take, so once all is said and done, the expected study time is very individual.

What is constant across the board is required study time or the time in which you’ll have had to have completed your course.

This period is also known as the enrollment period.

CertificationRequired Time
Australian Fitness Academy12 months
Australian Institute of Fitness12 months
Clean Health Institute12 months
Onfit Training College12 months
Personal Training Academy12 months

The Level IV cert is a standardized qualification, so it’s easy to assume that despite the provider, the course would have the same enrollment period, which is the case.

Popularity and Recognition Rating

Popularity and industry recognition are valuable aspects when looking at a provider’s value proposition.

This can be liked to how a degree from a prestigious university grants more access and courts more attention than the same qualification from a lesser-regarded institute.

Since popularity and recognition aren’t quantifiable metrics, I will score them based on a scale from 0 to 10.

CertificationIndustry Recognition Rating
Australian Fitness Academy8
Australian Institute of Fitness9
Clean Health Institute10
Onfit Training College7
Personal Training Academy7

Clean Health is the most well-recognized Australian fitness cert provider because it is the most prominent Australian provider internationally.

Their collaborative engagements with NASM, arguably the most popular cert provider worldwide, as other far-reaching initiatives, have made Clean Health massively popular.

AIF is also pretty well known in Australia and has a good reputation as a provider that trainers and industry members regard alike.

So which is the best provider?

Certification Takeaway

This was a tough one to score, mainly because of the standardized nature of Australian fitness certifications and because each provider goes by the book with some pretty high standards.

The fact that pricing isn’t fixed and depends on your approach makes it harder to differentiate.

Because of that, it becomes hard to separate them, but I’ll have to give the final win to Clean Health due to their reach and reputation.

In any case, you’re getting a good deal with either of the five cert providers in this shootout, so it all boils down to preference and your approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I get a personal trainer certificate?

Certificate III and Certificate IV in fitness are required for you to work in the Australian fitness industry.

These certs can be obtained through several government-approved providers nationwide in cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth.

Ensure your provider is approved as a Nationally Recognised Training Organisation (RTO) to ensure you’re looking at legit personal training courses.

Fitness certs in Australia can be earned through online courses, in-person lectures, or a blended learning approach.

This is the form of accreditation accepted in Australia.

What is the Australian personal trainer certification?

The Australian PT cert is known as Certificate IV in fitness.

This cert is the main requirement to being able to work as a personal trainer in Australia.

While Certificate III allows you to work as a fitness instructor, the difference between it and Certificate IV is that the former only allows you to lead pre-programmed group classes in a controlled environment, such as fitness centers in a full-time or part-time capacity.

Certificate IV allows you to establish your training environment, create programs, and coach clients one-on-one.

Australian fitness certifications are regulated and approved by the government.

How long does it take to become a personal trainer in Australia?

To become a complete personal trainer, It can take anywhere between a couple of weeks to a whole year.

Many training providers and certifying agencies offer a self-paced, online approach to their training qualifications, which means you could technically become a qualified personal trainer on the day you enroll.

This usually isn’t possible, so a few weeks is the soonest most people will cross the finish line.

The enrollment period for a Certificate IV with most providers is 12 months, so you will have 1 year to complete your cert before re-enrolling for a second attempt.

Starting a new career as a PT is one thing, but becoming a good PT takes at least 5 years of experience with exposure to a diverse range of individual clients, group exercise clients, and exercise programs.

It’s also possible to go beyond Certificate IV and get a diploma in fitness at a college or vocational school to upskill your fitness career.

References

  1. “Fitness Courses in Australia,” TAFE Courses Australia, https://www.tafecourses.com.au/courses/fitness/?gclid=CjwKCAjw7–KBhAMEiwAxfpkWCjYmChY7t1wxR8J1-o7jPE8ciB3Hq5Rubeer5FYuxIJFRQ7xfBYxhoCnC8QAvD_BwE&_paged=2.
  2. “Master Personal Trainer & Nutrition Specialist – Clean Health Fitness Institute,” TAFE Courses Australia, https://www.tafecourses.com.au/course-listing/master-personal-trainer-nutrition-specialist-clean-health-fitness-institute/.
  3. “Fitness Education Online,” Fitness Education Online, https://www.fitnesseducation.edu.au/.
  4. “Fitness Australia,” Fitness Australia, https://fitness.edu.au/.
  5. “Search for personal trainer certification Australia on Quora,” Quora, https://www.quora.com/search?q=personal%20trainer%20certification%20australia.
  6. “Fitness Australia,” Fitness Australia, https://fitness.org.au/.
  7. “Occupation details for Personal Trainers in Australia,” Job Outlook by the Australian Government, https://www.joboutlook.gov.au/occupations/occupation?occupationCode=4521.
  8. “Physical Activity Australia,” Physical Activity Australia, https://www.physicalactivityaustralia.org.au/.
  9. “Search for personal trainer certification Australia on Wikipedia,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?search=personal%20trainer%20certification%20australia&fulltext=1&ns0=1.
  10. “Search for personal trainer certification Australia on Reddit,” Reddit, https://www.reddit.com/search/?q=personal%20trainer%20certification%20australia.
Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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