In-Person Versus Online Personal Trainer Course – Which Should You Choose?

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If you’re thinking of becoming a personal trainer, then it’s time to take action. It’s one thing to want to work as a fitness professional, but it’s entirely another thing to jump into the deep end and become one. Keep in mind, “want” alone does not make you eligible for personal training jobs in Ireland. You must have a certification to work at gyms and health clubs or start your own personal training business.

The good news is that there are different ways of getting your certification in Ireland. You can take an in-person or online personal trainer course. Another option – one that’s fairly new – is to enrol in a course that utilises the blended learning method.

With the different courses available, you can get certified in the way that best suits your learning style and other needs. But of course, before you can decide on how to go about training for your certification, you must have the right information on each course.

The Pros and Cons of an In-Person Personal Trainer Course

First, let’s define what this type of programme is. Also called a traditional course, this type of personal trainer programme involves face-to-face sessions. The instructors and students are in one venue for the classes.


The best thing about an in-person personal trainer course is that it’s an opportunity to learn from an expert face-to-face. You’ll have several one-on-one interactions with a professional who can help you develop your skills, provide valuable tips, give personalised feedback, and answer your questions in real-time.

Another noteworthy advantage of in-person courses is that you get hands-on training on the equipment and techniques you’ll need to use in the real world. Furthermore, you’ll have access to a physical fitness space and be able to practice the techniques with other students under the supervision of a professional trainer or your peers.

Clearly, the hands-on training is where you’ll learn essential skills in a safe environment. It prepares you for the actual job by letting you know exactly how things work before you try them out on your own at home or elsewhere.

In a traditional course, it will be easier to network with other people who are also interested in becoming personal trainers as well as those who are already working in the industry. The connections you build here can lead to job opportunities and new clients.


One of the major issues with in-person courses is that they require you to attend all classes in person. This can be challenging if you have a hectic schedule or don’t live near a city where the classes are being held.

Additionally, this course doesn’t offer any flexibility when it comes to scheduling your classes. You must attend them at the same time every week, which may not fit into your schedule well if you’re working full-time or taking other classes at school or work.

Moreover, when taking an in-person fitness instructor or personal trainer course, you will need to spend a lot of time on transportation between your home and school or work. This can add up quickly if you have multiple classes each day.

Finally, this course is not ideal for those looking to learn at their own pace. Taking an in-person class can be challenging if you’re used to learning things on your own time. Keeping up with the lessons can also be difficult if you are doing other things.

The Pros and Cons of an Online Personal Trainer Course


The most significant advantage is that the course is accessible 24/7, which means you can study at your own pace and anywhere you want. You can do it from your living room, kitchen table, or anywhere else that’s comfortable for you. This can make it easier for you to balance your studies with other commitments, such as family time or a full-time job.

You can complete your coursework at any time of the day or night. This means that if you have trouble waking up early in the morning or staying up late at night, this might be a good option for you! You’ll never have to worry about missing class because it’s always available when YOU want it to be!

In addition, since classes are held virtually, location should no longer be an issue when picking a programme. This means you can enrol in the country’s top personal training course even if it is miles away from you since the classes are online.

In terms of cost, online courses tend to be less expensive than traditional programmes primarily because there aren’t any travel expenses involved when taking them (i.e., no money spent driving back-and-forth between home base and campus).


The most significant disadvantage of an online personal trainer course is that this type of course is not recognised by REPs Ireland for inclusion on their register of fitness professionals. This will make it more difficult to get a job as most employers now require their fitness staff to be registered with REPs Ireland.

Additionally, you may not get much hands-on training or practical experience with the equipment. You may be able to take the course at your own pace, but you won’t be able to work with a real-life trainer or learn about how to use some types of personal training equipment in person. As mentioned earlier, hands-on training is essential in developing the skills necessary to become an effective personal trainer.

Another disadvantage is that you won’t have access to a physical space where you can practice and hone your skills. You’ll need to rely on online resources and find a gym and/or equipment on your own, making it difficult to get the support you need when trying something new.

Moreover, it may be less convenient for students who want face-to-face interactions with classmates or instructors. Also, many people prefer being able to ask questions about class material in person and get feedback.

In an online personal trainer course, getting the amount of consistency and attention you need from your instructors can be hard. They won’t be able to answer questions as they come up. Plus, they won’t be able to immediately give feedback on your progress and provide support when needed.

Lastly, an online programme requires a lot of self-motivation. If you’re not a self-starter, you might struggle to complete assignments and reach your goals without someone holding you accountable.

Should You Choose an In-Person or Online Personal Trainer Course?

Choosing between an online and traditional personal trainer certification is a difficult decision. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. So, it depends on your individual needs and goals.

If you’re looking for a certification that will give you the skills and knowledge needed to be a successful personal trainer but don’t have the time or money to enrol in a full-time programme, an online course can be an option. It will cost less than an in-person class and allow you to complete your training at your own pace—which is especially helpful if you’re juggling other obligations or have scheduling conflicts with the classes offered by the training centres.

However, if you want hands-on experience using the equipment and working with real people under the supervision of a qualified tutor, then an in-person class might be better suited for your needs. In addition to gaining valuable practical knowledge on working with clients, these courses also offer networking opportunities that could help further your career.

Why Not Go for a Personal Trainer Course that Uses Blended Learning?

Clearly, both in-person and online programmes have advantages that are hard to ignore. The former provides hands-on training while the latter offers convenience. But never forget that each type has its disadvantages which you need to take into consideration when deciding whether you should enrol in an in-person or online personal trainer certification course.

Truth be told, while online courses are convenient and less expensive, they may not be enough to prepare you for the demands of a personal trainer career. This is primarily because there is little to no hands-on training. This is a disadvantage that you should not ignore.

What if you want the convenience online programmes offer and the hands-on training that traditional courses provide? Well, the good news is that it is possible to get both when you enrol in a personal trainer course that uses blended learning.

In case you didn’t know, blended learning combines in-person and online classes or sessions. Training centres that utilise this approach design their programmes in such a way that certain lessons are either delivered online or face-to-face.

For example, at the National Training Centre, some of the theory part of their personal trainer certification course is taught online with videos available afterwards on-demand. Meanwhile, the practical part of the programme is held face-to-face. This type of course seamlessly marries the noteworthy advantages that each approach has to offer.

While the online classes have fixed schedules, you’ll still enjoy the convenience of learning wherever you choose to. No need to travel going to the class venue!

Suffice to say, personal trainer certification courses that use blended learning hold online and in-class learning sessions to provide a comprehensive learning experience. This way, students like you enjoy the convenience of studying from anywhere instead of sitting in a lecture room. Moreover, it allots time for practical training with an expert who can answer questions and offer guidance throughout the process.

Clearly, a blended learning personal trainer certification course is the ideal choice for people who want to maximise their time and resources by getting the most out of both traditional face-to-face instruction as well as virtual learning environments. With this course, you can be certain about acquiring the skills and knowledge required to provide safe and effective exercises for clients.

Can’t decide whether to take an in-person or online personal trainer course in Dublin? Why not enrol in our sought-after blended learning programme – online theory lectures and face-to-face hands-on training? Click here to learn more about our top-rated personal trainer certification course!

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