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Personal Training Qualifications

There are currently over 50 Personal Training Qualifications on offer in New Zealand! So how do you choose the right one? To help you make a good choice here is a brief guide to finding the best PT Course for you.

What Level Personal Training Qualification do I Need?

There are lots of different views on this. Some people suggest you need a Degree, some a Certificate, and some would even tell you that a cheap overseas online course will do (these people are generally not successful PT's or employers though!).

In New Zealand it is generally accepted that you should look for an NZQA approved course. Theses courses are subject to heaps of regulation so you can be sure that not only will the course be good, but the provider is also pretty solid!

The NZQA framework has ten levels of qualification. Each level is based on the complexity of learning, with level 1 the least complex and level 10 the most.


As a rule of thumb Level3 and 4 certificates represent vocational qualifications (stuff related to doing a job). Level 5 and 6 qualifications are more management related, and level 7 and higher are Academic type qualifications.

In New Zealand a Level 4 Certificate is by far the most common Personal Training Qualification held by successful PT's. This qualification gives the best combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Why Worry About Practical vs Academic?

One of the big challenges many degree graduates find when looking for work is a lack of practical experience. Most employers seek graduates with proven practical skills as they need their trainers to be able to hit the ground running! NZIHF graduates are highly sought after for exactly this reason.

Our graduates develop extensive practical skills through repeated practice at our on campus gyms, and through up to 30 hours of one on one skill coaching with your very own highly qualified (and experienced) tutor.

These skills can simply not be be learned by watching a video online!

Which Provider Should I Choose?

This can often be a real challenge for the uninitiated! There are so many providers, offering so many options, with different lengths, and different levels. Here is a brief description of the different types:


Say no more. These are the academic powerhouses. Research is king and these guys primarily deal in degrees and post graduate qualifications. If research is your goal look no further.


These have traditionally been the home of vocational or work based learning. They mostly award Certificates and Diplomas. This is traditionally been where you went if you wanted to gain the skills to do a "job".

Industry Training Organisations (ITO's)

The Industry Training Organisations (ITO's) are primarily involved in training people who are already in work. They are also responsible for maintaining some of the vocational qualifications.

Private Training Establishments (PTE's)

These are privately run organisations that have been registered and approved by NZQA. They are required to meet certain academic and operational standards in order to maintain their NZQA registration. Generally these offer very specialised learning in a small number of subjects.

Private Providers

Theses are basically private companies that provide training outside of the NZQA framework. There are very few of them around and there is no real regulation of their activities.

Online Course Providers

Probably best if I don't describe my feelings about these! However... Imagine if you went to a hair dresser, or a doctor, or a physiotherapist who had done an online course. Would you still hang around? Enough said.

NZIHF delivers a Personal Training Courses in partnership with the Open Polytechnic. In this way you get the security of being backed by one of the Largest Polytechnics in New Zealand along with the industry experience and links of The New Zealand Institute of Health and Fitness.

What the Makes New Zealand Institute of Health and Fitness Special?

  • Our Courses are delivered nationwide by industry experienced fitness professionals
  • With day and evening courses available as well as flexible online study, becoming a Personal Trainer has never been easier
  • This Personal Training Course develops real world skills so you can get into the industry quickly and effectively
  • Personal Trainer business opportunities exist through our club network (over 80 clubs)
  • Gain an NZQA approved, REP's registered, and industry endorsed Certificate in Personal Training - a Personal Training Course with real credibility
  • Government approved with StudyLink student loans available

Where can I study:

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