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1.0 Introduction

This article provides an overview of the Irish Defence Force (IDF) Physical Training Instructor (PTI) Course.

The PTI course is the highest qualification which can be attained for conducting physical training within the IDF.

2.0 Defence Forces School of Physical Education

The Defence Forces Physical Education School (DFPES) is led by a Commandant (an OF-3 level officer). The DFPES is located in the Curragh, County Kildare, and is part of the Military College, led by a Colonel (OF-5), which is itself part of the Defence Forces Training Centre, led by the General Officer Commanding, a Brigadier General (OF-6).

DFPES has a number of roles including:

  • Promoting physical fitness, a healthy lifestyle and sport within the IDF;
  • Design and delivery of physical education training and instruction courses;
  • Conducting annual fitness tests for the Defence Forces Training Centre (DFTC) and induction fitness tests for recruits and cadets;
  • Provision of technical expertise and instructors for IDF Athletic Association events;
  • Facilitating use of pool by local schools;
  • Provide staff to facilitate use of pool, sports hall and fitness suite; and
  • Bookings, staffing, supervision and maintenance of all DFTC sporting facilities.

Completed in 2008, the IDF obstacle course is used for courses and is also open to all units (IDF, 2019a).

3.0 Air Corps Gymnasium

The Military Training and Survival School (MTSS), part of the Air Corps College, includes “…the staff of the Air Corps Gymnasium under the direction of the Chief Physical Education Officer.” (IDF, 2019b).

4.0 Courses Delivered

The Defence Forces Physical Education School provides a number of courses including:

  • Swimming courses;
  • Life-saving courses;
  • Unarmed combat courses;
  • Physical training supervisor’s courses; and
  • The flagship course – the physical training instructor’s course.

5.0 Who Can Attend the Course?

The course is open to both officers and non-commissioned officers (NCO’s) who have completed the pre-requisite courses and attained the relevant experience.

As I understand it the pre-requisite courses include (data from 2008, so very possibly out of date) (IMO, 2008):

  • A 2-week Physical Training Leader (PTL) course.
    • Operates under the supervision of a PTS or PTI.
    • Can/could screen, warm-up, run, cool-down and post-screen only.
    • Completed by all potential NCO’s with a few going on to become…
  • 6-8 week Physical Training Supervisor (PTS) course.
    • Can/could conduct circuit training and develop training programmes.
    • After one year can apply for the PTI course.

6.0 Outline of PTI Course

The IDF PTI Course is 12 weeks in duration, down from 16 weeks, and consists of both practical and academic elements (Kildare Now, 2018).

Instruction is divided between (McGovern, 2018):

  • Academic, for example:
    • Programme planning;
    • Anatomy and physiology; and
    • Nutrition.
  • Practical, for example:
    • Long distance running;
    • Loaded marches;
    • Water confidence training
    • Resistance training;
    • Circuit training; and
    • Obstacle course.

On successful completion of the course students are awarded with a Level 6 National Certificate in Exercise and Fitness (NCEF) Accreditation, as DFPES is linked to the University of Limerick (McGovern, 2018).

7.0 Where Can PTI’s Work?

PTI’s can work at a variety of locations including:

  • The Defence Forces Training Centre;
  • Brigade Training Centres; and
  • Units and gymnasiums.

8.0 Useful Links

9.0 References

IDF (Irish Defence Forces). (2019a) Defence Forces Physical Education School. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 05 January, 2019].

IDF (Irish Defence Forces). (2019b) The Military Training and Survival School. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 05 January, 2019].

IMO (Irish Military Online). (2008) RDF PTI/PTS Course. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 04 January, 2019].

Kildare Now. (2018) Army wants recruits for Gruelling Physical Training Instructors Course. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 04 January, 2019].

McGovern, S. (2018) What You’ll Learn On The Defence Forces Physical Training Instructors Course. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 04 January, 2019].