Often, personal trainers obtain their qualification and that’s it. No extra learning, study, research, no CPD or additional qualifications, just the industry standard certificate in personal training.
Whilst this is fine, and all you need to become a personal trainer, to stand out, or even for longevity in the field, it’s vital to attain new skills and qualifications along the journey.
An exercise referral qualification can be just that. It’s a pre-requisite to a level 4 course, it allows the trainer or coach to earn more per hour (or salaried) and results in trainers working with clients, with better adherence and a long term goal that isn't a want, but a need!
With exercise referral, gone are the “lose weight and tone up” or “I want abs for my holiday” type of clients and in come the “I need to lose weight” or “need to strengthen xyz) type of clients. There’s a clear difference between a “want” and a “need”
When it comes to exercise referral patients, their goals aren’t generic, their programs and sessions need careful, structured planning and their results can be greatly rewarding for both patient and trainer.
As all fitness enthusiasts will agree, exercise is the greatest medicine and with such a qualification, it truly is. As an exercise referral specialist you’ll work with patients with CVD, your aim being to eradicate or at least reduce the condition. You’ll work with patients suffering from severe arthritis of both types, your aim being to reduce inflammation, strengthen bones, joints and their affected muscles and increase mobility for everyday function. You’ll be able to work with those who are severely obese and understand the condition is often more than “eating more and moving less” whilst figuring out the do’s and dont’s from clothing, environment and correct footwear when working with such patients.
What type of clients will I work with?
Those who require exercise referral services can suffer from an array of conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. These conditions often produce serious symptoms so exercise programmes have to be specialised in order to improve a client’s health, functional ability and general wellbeing.
Referral schemes typically cater for these common medical conditions:
Asthma and COPD
Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
Non-specific low back pain
Arthritis (RA and OA)
Clients in a referral scheme are often taking a lot of medication for their condition(s). Because of this, you will need to know how these medications will impact upon any exercise or activity that’s prescribed. Exercise referral instructors/consultants typically work in collaboration with GPs, cardiac specialists, and other healthcare professionals. What's more, on an exercise referral course, you'll learn about the medications a patient might take, their side affects and how the medication may affect the planning of sessions.
So how much can I earn?
Now, the potential earnings! Exercise referral specialists are able to charge more per hour, due to working with a special type of clientele and offering a specialist service. No more “can’t you do it any cheaper?” After you’ve just forked out up to thousands for your PT course!
Exercise Referral specialists, who are self employed can charge from £40-50 an hour and more so in London!
The average salary for an employed exercise referral specialist is currently £28k in the UK and employment can come from numerous avenues, such as:
Primary care trusts
Private health clubs
So how do exercise referral schemes work?
The patient will usually have a specific medical condition or a long-term health problem, and will be referred by a medical professional (usually their GP or a private medical practitioner) on the basis that increased physical activity will benefit their health.
This is more than just a recommendation to exercise more as a way to improve overall health and wellbeing. Exercise referral is a scheme in which an exercise programme is designed by a specialist based on the specific needs of an individual patient.
You can set up long term partnerships with medical professionals, private health clubs, or the NHS, and patients are referred externally to you as a self employed personal trainer or you can gain employment from an organisation who runs their own scheme, where you work with their referred patients.
Either way, you the specialist, will receive the information about the referred patient and will be required to put a structured, time bound program together, as well as implementing this in 1-2-1 sessions to work towards the agreed goal of the GP and patient.
For more information on exercise referral or to sign up to an exercise referral course, please feel free to get in touch via the website, 03301227517 or firstname.lastname@example.org