Being a personal trainer is a dream job for many fitness enthusiasts. You get to do what you like most, work in a great environment, set your own hours, perhaps. However, if you have a criminal record getting this dream job might be a bit difficult. It all depends on the nature of your past offenses and we’ll explain exactly what this means for you.
What qualifications do you need to become a personal trainer
In Australia, you do not need a diploma to work as a personal trainer, but you still need some sort of qualification.
At the very least, you should get a Certificate III or IV in Fitness, so you’ll have to take a course in that. If you get a Certificate III you will be able to conduct special classes in Zumba, Spinning or Aerobics. However, with a Certificate IV you’re a fully qualified personal trainer and you will be able to work with clients one-on-one, hold training with a group of people or even run boot camps.
You can also find employment as a personal trainer if you have a Diploma of Fitness or have a degree in the science of exercise.
Once you have a qualification, you can register with Fitness Australia or Physical Activity Australia. This is not mandatory, but it offers you job indemnity and insurance.
Are background checks mandatory for personal trainers?
Technically, no, they are not mandatory, but most reputable gyms will probably ask for a criminal background check anyway. This is necessary to protect their clients as well as their reputation.
What you must know is that having a criminal record doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get any job in the future, including one as a personal trainer.
From a legal point of view, an employer cannot turn down your application based solely on your criminal record if the offences for which you were convicted are not relevant for the position you’re going to have.
Let’s say you were convicted for drunk driving a few years ago. That conviction is in no way relevant as you won’t be doing any driving for them.
However, if you have a conviction for sexual harassment or rape, there’s no way you’ll be allowed to work in a reputable establishment.
Also, if you have a criminal record you won’t be able to work with children and teenagers. Under Australian law, you need a special Working With Children Check which is even more thorough than a regular criminal background check.
Consider applying for spent convictions to seal the criminal record
A number of states and territories in countries like Australia have processes to allow particular offenders to be able to classify their convictions as “Spent” and therefore no longer appear on a criminal record check.
This process is referred to as the “Spent convictions Scheme” or may be referred to as some other name in other countries.
Various states and territories have their own requirements and procedures for expunging a national criminal conviction. Generally, the very first process to expunge someone’s criminal history is firstly to determine whether or not there is legibility to apply. For example, generally, offenses such as sexual offenses or child-related offenses can never be classified as spent no longer how much time has elapsed since the offense was committed.
In a number of cases, there is a waiting period of a number of years (usually 10 years for an adult and 5 years as a minor) between your conviction and the application to expunge the criminal history check record.
The decision to expunge someone’s criminal history record is generally made by state-based police agencies. In some circumstances (depending on the law in the state) you may need to apply to a judge.
How to talk about your criminal record
If you’re unsure what your criminal record looks like, the best thing you can do is to run a national police check on yourself, before applying for a job. You can use an online character check agency that gives you the results in a couple of days and you’ll know exactly what your prospective employer will see.
When you only have a couple of minor offenses on your record, you should be forthcoming about that. Explain to your employer the circumstances that led you to commit those offenses, tell them how you’ve changed your life since then and, yes, you do have a chance of getting the job.
Or you can try to go alone, set up your own business and you won’t have to go through a background check.
It is important to note that it is not uncommon for persons in the industry to make a few mistakes when they are young or careless.
It should also be noted that in some cases, the errors can end up on a criminal record as has been explained above. When you pursue a passion for fitness and then wish to become a PT, many people in this kind of situation may wonder whether or not their criminal history is going to stand in the way.
Wrapping up, it is good to be aware that in the majority of countries, it is still possible to pursue your passion as a personal trainer. This is despite the fact that even if you do have a few setbacks from your past that get displaced on a criminal background check certificate.
There are also those that turn their life around and then use PT work as a method to boost themselves into a positive career and work life.