Personal Training PDA

Course code 90C6

What is special about this course?

This Professional Development Award will provide you with the underpinning knowledge and skills required to work in a personal training setting. The delivery of personal training services has several essential definitive features; respecting the client’s life experience, recognising the client and personal trainer as partners; providing services based on clients' preferences and choices; and it should be inclusive, promote self-determination and be based on person-centred planning.

This PDA would be suitable as continued professional development (CPD) for those currently employed or working as personal trainers who are looking to refresh and up-skill.

Special features

  • On completion of this course you may also be eligible to apply to go on the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) register, therefore better preparing you for employment in the industry
  • You will have the opportunity to make use of our sport and fitness facilities on campus

Entry requirements

The award is designed to complement the HNC/D in Fitness, Health and Exercise.

However if you do not have the HNC/D, you can still apply. You should have good interpersonal and communication skills, both written and oral. These could be evidenced either by the achievement of nationally recognised qualifications such as:

  • SQA qualifications (or their equivalent from other awarding bodies) eg English/ Communication or other language-based subjects to a minimum of SCQF Level 5.
  • SVQ at Level 2 in a related area, such as Instructing Exercise and Fitness

or by other methods such as:

  • Process of application and interview
  • Current relevant evidence from the workplace, such as reference from employer

To gain access to the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) register on completion of the PDA, you must already have an HNC/D Fitness, Health and Exercise including the unit H4TK34: Plan, Teach and Evaluate a Gym Based Exercise Session.

Year 1 - PDA

The PDA has five mandatory units (32 SCQF credits in total):

  • Core strength and posture
  • Deliver personal training sessions
  • Metabolic considerations for personal trainers
  • Planning and management of personal training
  • Working effectively and safely with clients

How will I study my course?

  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)

You will study through a combination of practical work in a gym, theory classes, online learning, group and individual self-directed study.

How long will my course last?

The length of your study will depend very much on your previous experience and qualifications, we will work with you to build up a learning plan that will suit your individual needs.

Where can I study my course?

  • Perth

Start date

  • September


The PDA is 32 SCQF (Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework) credits.

For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
  2023-24 2024-25
PDA (32 SCQF credits)   £344 £344

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term-time address in Scotland, or assessed as rest of UK for fee status, the following fees apply:

  2023-24 2024-25
PDA (32 SCQF credits) £1,896 £1,896

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

This course is not available for international students, including EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled status in the UK, requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study here. For students living in the UK and assessed as international fee status, the following fees will apply:

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

  2023-24 2024-25
PDA (32 SCQF credits) £2,128 £2340



External scholarships and financial support, such as an Individual Training Account, may be available. Please contact the relevant UHI partner for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this course, you might like to consider careers, either employed or in self-employment, in personal training and gym instruction.

Can I progress into further study?

You may be eligible to progress onto programmes such as HNC Fitness, Health and Exercise, HND Fitness, Health and Exercise or BSc (Hons) Sport and Fitness.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Personal Training PDA

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2024

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.