Getting Qualified to Train Youth Clients

May 23, 2019

By Tim Saye

After our blog on fitness qualifications for training the ageing population, we’ve arrived at the last article of our “Qualifications” series.

Many personal trainers and coaches aim to work with kids and youngsters under 16 years. You may want to focus on a specific sport, or just take part in eradicating childhood obesity by helping parents and their offspring alike to develop an active lifestyle. There are many ways to do just that: from becoming a sports coach to specialising in as a childrens strength and conditioning coach to running fitness classes for kids, or even working with them 1-2-1.

One thing’s for sure; since their body is still in growth, you’ll need to understand what aspects to consider when designing their workouts, programming progressive overload and what type of exercises to avoid or include.

Let’s look at certificates and skills that you will need to acquire before you can effectively and legally train youth clients. We’ll mainly list general fitness and a few S&C related course providers below.

United States


ACE have a specialist qualification for fitness professionals who want to train the youngest generation and teach them how to lead an active lifestyle. The program is claimed to focus not only on how to create suitable workouts for children, but also communications skill to keep them engaged and interested.


The American Fitness Professionals Association also offers certifications in two related fields.

The Youth Fitness Specialist Certification is a distance learning course. You will receive your training materials in textbook and DVD format, and you can submit your written exams via email or the post. Among others, you will learn what exercises to avoid, you will have access to templates and ideas on how to plan events, keep kids engaged, or how to collaborate with teachers if that’s needed.

The Youth Strength and Conditioning Specialist Certification course will give you advice, exercise ideas and plans for establishing a baseline with the young generation and work on their athletic development.

The course covers training kids aged 6 to 18 and the programs and exercises suggested will take into consideration crucial factors like the child’s developmental phase, motor functioning and gender to ensure the prescribed plan doesn’t hinder development and growth.

CrossFit for Kids

There is a lot of debate about CrossFit in general. However, it seems they thought of everything. You need to have a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certificate or higher to receive the CrossFit Kids Trainer Certificate, but anybody can attend the course. If CrossFit is your thing and you’d like to work with youngsters, this course may be just right for you.

United Kingdom


YMCA has specialisation CPD courses for fitness professionals to teach the skills you need to teach kids’ fitness.

You can choose from a Kids Fitness Dance or a Kids Fitness Play and Games specialities, depending on which suits your aspirations better. The first will teach you how to design fun-filled activities, while the latter will also help you understand strategies and methods to keep kids engaged and motivated.


The Youth Strength & Conditioning Association draws a pathway for fitness professionals who want to work on strength development of young people. From assistant, through coach and specialist all the way to completing The Youth Strength and Conditioning Master Coach Qualification, you have a career path you can follow.


You can also complete child protection and safeguarding training by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children so you understand child protection principles and are able to act should any issue arise while working with the youngest generation.


Fitness Australia

At the end of the blog series on courses and training providers, it’s no surprise that we turn to the Fitness Australia database for a recommendation on courses for fitness professionals willing to work with children and the youth. The list is much shorter than those for pre and postnatal or older adults, but the leading providers are on the list.

You can teach yoga for kids, run boot camps, or simply complete a general course to expand your goal setting, programming and session delivery skills specific to work with the young generation.

Wrapping Up

If you're looking to coach a particular sport for kids, like football, basketball or boxing, look up the relevant association’s learning pathway for aspiring coaches. If you are a personal trainer who’d like to be able to include children into activities with or without their parents, the above-listed course providers will have you covered.