Physical Training Instructor

NZ Army Physical Training Instructors (PTIs) play a key role in developing and maintaining the health, fitness and well-being of our soldiers. In the Army, physical fitness is absolutely essential in maintaining good health. As a PTI you are responsible for ensuring that personnel are physically capable to conduct their operational duties, and continue to be ‘Fit to Fight’ throughout their careers. PTI’s also contribute to our soldier’s mental health and resilience, and support well-being and leadership development through team based activities.

In your daily role in camp, you will conduct regular physical training sessions with NZ Army personnel to ensure that they are ‘Fit to Fight’. Overall soldier training maintains our personnel’s warrior edge, and your part in this is to deliver purpose designed instruction in strength, conditioning, endurance, resilience, and close quarter battle. Additionally you will assist our other health practitioners in conducting exercise rehabilitation, and work across military functional groups to support sport and recreational activities. 

You will be expected to provide expert advice to individuals, units or teams, and our leaders on all matters concerning physical training. PTIs are also tasked with operating and equipping the gym facilities for each of our five main camps around New Zealand. 

Being a PTI can be physically demanding, however your career is largely a lifestyle choice and you are expected to be a strong advocate and personal example for general health and fitness.

As well as your day to day PTI tasks, you will also continue your soldier training to maintain your skills in operating NZ Army weapons and radio/communications equipment, and in first-aid.

As a PTI you will have the opportunity to deploy on operations with Defence Force units, and you may fulfil trade specific functions as well performing general duties, such as force protection patrols, depending on your training and experience.

When deployed as a contingent PTI, your role differs very little to back home. You will maintain operational effectiveness of deployed personnel by running regular strength and conditioning programmes, for both our Defence Force and other allied Forces or agencies.

If you already have a trade qualification, your skills will be highly valued in the New Zealand Army. We will offer you a position/rank equal to your trade qualification, and after basic training, you won't have to start at the bottom. Your expertise will be used and rewarded. So if you think you’re qualified for more, check out further information here.

As you gain experience within the PTI trade you can progress into specialist areas.  The employment opportunities at various rank levels are: 

  • Strength and Conditioning Instructor
  • Close Quarter Battle Instructor
  • Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor

As your career progresses, postings out of a PTI role are essential to maintain general soldier competencies and develop leadership skills. At certain stages of your career you may be posted out of trade into a regimental or generic training position. These opportunities complement your PTI training and opens up career opportunities.

Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. Your pay will be in consideration with your qualificatons. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.

While undertaking initial Recruit Course you will be paid as a Recruit (see attached pay table). On completion of your Recruit Course you will be paid as a NZAPTC PTI under training, until qualified on the NZDF PTI Primary Course. 

  • You must pass the Physical Training Instructor Selection Course.
  • You must pass initial Recruit Course.


PTIs are also recruited internally from within the ranks of the NZ Army Regular Force. If you are already in the Army, you can register your interest with your Regional Physical Training Adviser (RPTA). Approval to attend the New Zealand Army Physical Training Corps Selection Board is subject to the approval of the RPTA.

A recognised tertiary level qualification (minimum of Certificate/Diploma) in Sport Science, Sports, Exercise or Physical Education. 

Industry experience is desirable. 

  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.
  • As a PTI you must hold an extremely high level of fitness and self motivation. More information on the minimum fitness requirements of the PTI Selection Board can be provided by a Defence Careers staff member.

(16 weeks) Location: Waiouru Training Facility
Upon successful enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru to attend recruit course. This is your basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be an NZ Army soldier, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness


(4 days) Location: Waiouru Training Facility
The NZ Army Physical Training Corps (NZAPTC) Selection Board is designed to evaluate your potential as a PTI. You will complete fitness tests that gauge your potential in a range of fitness components - endurance, strength, power, co-ordination, balance, speed and agility. You will also be assessed for psychological suitability, public speaking, teamwork, leadership, interpersonal communication, and your potential as an instructor. 


(20 weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne (near Blenheim)
Once you are selected for PTI trade training, you will attend the Defence Force Primary PTI Course conducted at the NZDF Physical Education and Recreational Training School in Woodbourne. This is a tri-service course, so you will attend with your peers from the Navy and Air Force. The course covers:

  • Physical Training planning and conduct
  • Principles of training
  • Exercise coaching
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Group fitness instruction
  • Recreational event planning & delivery
  • Swimming instruction


(16 weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne
After completing 18 months of 'on-the-job' training, you will return to Woodbourne for this advanced course, which is designed to reinforce the relationship that science and research has with practical conditioning practices.

During this course, you will study anatomy, exercise physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics, advanced programming for both sports teams and individuals, and sports medicine. You will also carry out an in-depth study of how a particular training system affects different components of physical fitness.

You will continue with tertiary study throughout your career, with support from the NZ Army. Additionally, opportunities to further your knowledge through exercise science research are becoming commonplace for PTIs within the Defence Force.

Due to the constantly evolving nature of the fitness industry, you are required to maintain your professional competency and keep up to date with best practice. Throughout your career you will attend various industry best practice training courses, conferences and overseas training with other Defence Forces.

Once you’ve completed your Advanced Physical Training Instructor course, specialist courses are available to you at various stages in your career: 


All PTIs are given the opportunity to attend this course, which covers the rehabilitation of soldiers from injury or illness, and qualifies you to complement the work of NZDF physiotherapists in returning personnel to active duty following injury.


All soldiers are trained in basic CQB. PTIs are trained to a higher level and are responsible for the delivery of CQB courses and maintenance of CQB skills within the NZ Army. PTIs undergo a progressive training model delivered by experienced NZ Army and civilian CQB instructors.

As a PTI you could be posted to any one of four major NZ Army camps in Waiouru, Linton, Trentham or Burnham.