Offline vs. Online PT Courses: Which One to Choose?


As the popularity of health and fitness-based careers continues to increase, more options are becoming available for the average person to switch job titles in as little as one to two months. In order to be hired by any reputable gym, you must attain your personal training certification. If you’ve already started doing your research to make that happen, you would have noticed that there are plenty of brand name certifications that are available both online and offline. Is one truly better than the other? Let’s look at the pros and cons of both online and offline PT courses to help you make your decision.

Offline or Campus based PT Courses

Offline fitness certifications are ideal for those people who thrive in the classroom setting. If you are able to dedicate two to three days of commuting to a campus, offline PT courses are an ideal way of attaining your certification in the presence of professionals. Depending on your availability, you can get your certification in as little as two to three months.

Pros of Campus based PT Courses:

Face-to-Face Learning

The best part about in-person PT courses is that the instructor is right there with you, allowing you to raise concerns or questions.

Active Peer Group

You won’t be the only one attending one of these programs. In fact, you may quickly realize that you have a lot in common with your peers, allowing you to make friends and study partners.

Networking Opportunities

Since you will be studying in the classroom setting, this allows you a perfect opportunity to start networking. You will be able to talk with your instructors and peers about job openings, apprenticeships, and specialized course offerings that will put your certification above the rest.

More Likely to Succeed

Having to attend an actual classroom setting aligns you with success. You’re more likely to finish the program and attain your certification if you have a structured environment and lesson plan like you’ll find on campus.

Cons of Offline / In-Person PT Courses:

Distance of the Campus

High quality in-person PT courses are amazing but the reality is that these programs may not be close to home if you live far outside of the city centre. The way you can make it work is by trying to schedule all of your classes into one day per week as opposed to making the trip three days per week.

Cost of the PT Course

Cost will always be a factor when it comes to getting certified. Since you will be attending an actual campus with live instructors, an in-person fitness certification is going to cost more than an online course. On average, the price for the Cert III component is $3,000 AUD and the Cert IV portion is $2,500 AUD. Most campus-based schools offer financial assistance that you can take advantage of without the worry of going broke.

Fixed Times for Attendance

Just like at a university campus, some classes may not be flexible with time. If you have prior obligations during a class time, this can quickly become an issue with getting your certification. The solution to this is to reach out and talk with the campus administrator. See what can be done. Whether that is taking evening courses or simply trying to change your personal schedule until you get your certification.

Learning Abilities

The classroom isn’t for everyone, especially if you have a learning preference. If you are someone who prefers to read and soak in the information before application, then you may feel outside of your comfort zone in the campus setting. The way to get around this is simply to ask questions and reach out to your instructor. The teachers are there to help you so ask them to slow down if you’re feeling left behind.

Online PT Courses / Online Portal study platform: 

You are the teacher when it comes to online-based personal training courses. Online-based companies will send you a textbook and additional learning tools then allow you to learn at your pace. You’ll have between 6 to 12 months to take your exam, depending on the company. You can attain your certification in as little as two months and may wait as long as 12 months, unless an extension is filed.

Pros of Online Courses:


The best thing about online-based PT programs is the convenience that comes with it. You get to learn at your own pace without feeling rushed. If you are constantly on-the-go due to work, school, or travel, online-based PT programs are going to be perfect for you. You’re able to bring the classroom with you wherever you go.

Allows More Time to Absorb Information

One of the most common complaints of the short-term classroom experience is that there isn’t enough time to memorize all of the information. This is going to happen in any field and it’s something that can be remedied once you learn it on the job. However, many people feel more comfortable by having the chance to memorize the information over a longer span of time. Having 6 to 12 months to study ensures you will know the textbook front to back.

Price of the Program

Since no physical classroom is needed and you don’t have to worry about hiring actual instructors, the cost of an online-based PT course is going to be very cost effective. In fact, many online programs offer combination packages for the Cert III and Cert IV sections at a discount. At Fiteducation, we are offering a special price of ONLY $2,395!!

Start your cert 3 & 4 in fitness today!

Cons of Online Courses:

You Are Responsible for YOU

Getting an online certification for personal training requires an immense amount of self-discipline. You have to teach yourself the material, ensure that you understand the subject, and be consistent with reviewing. That means you must set aside time to study while fighting away the temptations of friends, social media and Netflix. There are easy ways around this issue. First, create a detailed weekly schedule, where you search for available study time. Dedicate this time each week to studying until it becomes an automatic habit. You can also pair up with a friend who is also in the same program to ensure you keep one another on track.

Missing the Classroom Element

When you sign up for an online personal training course, you do so knowing that you will be the teacher. While many people have an incredible amount of success with these certifications, not having a professional instructor in eyeshot can be disheartening at times. Online courses does have intensive days or practical sessions onece a month that are part of the online course that helps to get hands-on experience. The way to get around this is to sign up for an apprenticeship with a professional personal trainer. You won’t be getting paid but you will be gaining valuable experience in your field. Talk to your local gyms to see which one has an apprentice program. 

Learning Ability

If you are a hands-on learner that needs access to someone who can constantly answer your questions, you may find the online PT course a bit frustrating. The solution to this problem is to either join an apprenticeship, as mentioned above, or join the online community that your certification offers. All certifications provide you with a message board and online community to ask questions and chat with others who are taking the same course.

Missing Out on Networking Opportunities

One of the great things about in-person PT courses is that it gives you a chance to network with your fellow trainers. In the fitness industry, knowing the right person can help you with getting a job, a client, or a business. Although an online certification removes the classroom element, you can still connect with others. As we mentioned above, attend intensive practice days, join the online community and an apprenticeship. This allows you to network with professionals and your peers.

Which One Should You Choose?

Both offline and online training courses are an effective way to learn and attain your certification. One is not necessarily better than the other in terms of quality; rather, it is a matter of which is personally better for you.

Work Situation
  • If you work a full-time job, an online course will be more convenient and fit better with your schedule.
  • If you work part-time or if you’re unemployed, an in-person PT course will be better for you.

Home Location

  • If you live within a city center, an in-person fitness certification is going to be ideal.
  • If you live far outside of downtown, you may want to consider an online PT course.


  • If budget is not a concern for you, then you will want to go with an in-person PT course.
  • If you have a strict budget, then you may opt for an online fitness certification.
  • At Fiteducation, you can get both cert 3 & cert 4 certifcations combined for ONLY $2,395!!


  • If you are very self-disciplined, then an online PT course is going to be perfect.
  • If you require a strict schedule and regimented program, then you will want an in-person PT course.

Learning Preference

  • If you like to go at your own pace when learning something new, an online PT course will be a good match.
  • If you enjoy moving at a university level pace, then sign up with an in-person fitness certification.

Access to Peers

  • If you want instant studying and networking opportunities with your peers, then you are going to want an in-person PT course.
  • If you don’t mind an online community and searching for apprenticeships, then an on-line fitness certification will be perfect for you.

If you’re looking for an elite quality certified personal training program that allows you to learn at YOUR own pace while being able to ask questions to professional instructors, look no further than Fit Education. Try an exclusive free demo of our program.

Want to do a fitness course? Get a free trial today.


Topics: Personal Training Courses

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