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Physical Training Instructor

The facts

Job description

You'll be an essential part of a team providing physical fitness and training programmes for our staff.



Pay after training


Joining age

17.5 - 29

Similar civilian jobs

  • Sports coach
  • Sports facilities manager
  • Sports administrator
  • Physiotherapist
  • Fitness instructor
  • Parachute instructor
  • PE teacher

Usual service

9 years


Citizen of the UK or the Republic of Ireland, or a Commonwealth citizen since birth

Open to

male or female

Qualifications you need

2 GCSE/SCEs at Grade C/2 or 2 SNEs at Grade 5, in English Language and Maths. Approved standard of fitness in several sports assessed by formal interview and test. Candidates must be able to swim.

Qualifications you can gain

BSc in physical activity and health and exercise


Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have resided there for the five years immediately preceding your application.

You must demonstrate an above average ability and knowledge in a wide variety of indoor and outdoor sports and other outdoor pursuits. You must also be able to swim and have an above-average level of cardiovascular and strength fitness.

The job

Fitness and sport are essential to life in the RAF. Physical Training Instructors are part of a team providing physical fitness and training programmes for all RAF staff. You’ll also manage a wide range of sports facilities and administer sporting and adventurous activities, both on and off base. As well as instructing classes in physical education, you’ll conduct fitness tests, provide fitness and health counselling, and organise sporting activities. We’re looking for fit, active people that can motivate others to be the same way.

As a Physical Training Instructor, your primary role will be to teach and promote physical fitness and health programmes – all RAF personnel are required to be fit so that they can perform their tasks effectively, whether they’re in the UK or overseas.

In the basic PTI role you could teach physical education classes and help manage RAF sports facilities. However, after further training, your role could be to work in any of the three specialist areas - either as a Exercise Remedial Instructor, using exercise to aid recovery for injured or sick personnel, as an Adventurous Training Instructor in mountaineering, climbing and canoeing, or you may be required to become a Parachute Jumping Instructor, as the RAF provides parachute training for all the UK’s airborne troops, including Special Forces.

I do this job

Physical Training Instructor

Chris Gore
Physical Training Instructor

'Every morning it’s a different day and a new challenge with different individuals.' 

What’s the best thing about your job?
The fact that I’m doing my favourite hobby for a living. Every morning it’s a different day and a new challenge with different individuals. My job is all about motivations, sometimes people might not want to be as enthusiastic as you want them to be, and it’s down to me to adapt an approach to make them enthusiastic.

What’s the worst thing about your job?
Probably the 7am fitness sessions. I’m not a fan of early mornings!

What do you think makes a good RAF officer?
You need to have a real mixture of qualities. Leadership, teamwork, enthusiasm, motivation, professionalism and pride.

What do you do in your spare time?
I like to go out and do a lot of running and usually a bit of weight training.

What are your plans for the future?
I’d like to be a specialist in adventure training so I’m hoping to do my adventure training instructors course soon. You learn loads about rock climbing and skiing and all that fun stuff.

Got any advice for potential Officers preparing for Initial Officer Training?
Get fit, stay fit. That’s it.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t live for tomorrow, live for today.

Physical Training Instructor

Adam Threlfall
Physical Training Instructor

'Since joining I’ve been on ski expeditions to Canada, Austria, France and Germany.'

What’s the best thing about your job?
How long have you got? If I had to choose a top three I’d say working in a highly motivated environment with some brilliant people, seeing the development in cadets from civvies to officers, and the money.

What’s the worst thing about your job?
You know I honestly can’t think of anything, I love my job.

What do you do in your spare time?
Parachuting and skiing. Since joining I’ve been on ski expeditions to Canada, Austria, France and Germany.

What's the best meal in the mess?
The curry, because it’s really hot.

What’s the worst meal in the mess?
The soggy fish and chips, not nice at all.

If you weren’t a PTI, what else would you like to be?
The Commander in Chief! No, probably aircrew because of the opportunities for travel and being part of the front-line action.

Got any advice for potential Officer Cadets preparing for Initial Officer Training?
Preparation, preparation, preparation. One of the top reasons for Cadets dropping out is injuries caused through lack of fitness.

Physical Training Instructor

Max Martin
Physical Training Instructor

‘I wanted a job where I could help people and that’s what I’ve got.’

My role

‘Here at RAF Lyneham I’m the remedial specialist. I counsel people who fail the annual fitness test, encouraging them to change their lifestyles.

‘I’ve gained a lot of civilian qualifications – diplomas in sports therapy, sports massage, aerobics, diet and nutrition – that will help me in the future.’

My day

‘As a remedial instructor you look after the same group of people for four months and it’s the best job on earth. You get to know people and it is very rewarding to be able to help them back to fitness again.’

My experiences

‘Our trade training was focused on teaching, because that’s the skill you need as a Physical Training Instructor. Then we did the coaching side of things, covering a lot of sports. You don’t have to be a county player but you need to be able to demonstrate all the skills and it’s good to look the part.

‘You start out as an acting Corporal, and that gives you a bit of clout, but to get to Corporal you have to fill your log book with things like canoeing, climbing and hill walking. Then you do your adventure training leader’s course at the RAF’s Resource and Initiative Training Centre in Wales, followed by two weeks’ general service training.’

My life

‘I’m into extreme sports like skydiving and bungee jumping but what I enjoy most are my netball and volleyball. At netball I play centre, mainly because of my fitness. I’ve represented the RAF now for ten seasons and the last six seasons I've played for the Combined Services team, so that’s giving up my free time for every other weekend from October to April.’

More stories and views:
Chris Gore
Adam Threlfall
Max Martin


Recruit training

Your career will start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you’ll also learn about the RAF lifestyle.

Specialist Training

The next step is a Specialist training course of about 29 weeks at the School of Physical Training, Royal Air Force Cosford near Wolverhampton.

The course is designed to qualify you in class instructional techniques, the effects of exercise on the body, leadership, coaching techniques, sports administration and officiating.

At the end of this course you’ll have earned the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification.


On promotion to Corporal you will be encouraged to specialise - as a parachute jumping instructor, adventurous training instructor or remedial instructor.

Your first tour

For your first tour you’ll probably be posted to an RAF base where you’ll help with the implementation of physical fitness and recreation programmes. You’ll carry out physical fitness tests, counsel RAF personnel on health and fitness and teach a variety of classes.

Ongoing development

As your career progresses, we’ll continue to train you in new skills.

There are opportunities to study for a BSc in Physical Activity and Health and Exercise, as well as to undertake management and leadership training.

Your future

Career prospects

You’ll initially join the RAF for a period of nine years with the rank of acting Corporal.

After a year, providing you pass further training courses, you’ll be confirmed in the rank of Corporal.

Further promotion to the rank of Sergeant and beyond is by competitive selection.

Transferable skills

The qualifications you can earn are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF – which means that whenever you decide to leave the RAF, you’ll be well placed to find a job in the physical recreation and leisure industry.

Apply now

Call us on

0845 605 5555

  • Mon-Fri8am to 8pm
  • Sat9am to 6pm
  • Sun10am to 4pm
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