Fitness Trainers and Instructors: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
- Education Required
- Almost all trainers and instructors have at least a high school diploma before entering the occupation. An increasing number of employers are requiring fitness workers, particularly personal trainers, to have an associates or bachelors degree related to a health or fitness field, such as exercise science, kinesiology, or physical education. Programs often include courses in nutrition, exercise techniques, biology, anatomy, and group fitness. Personal trainers also learn how to develop fitness programs for clients of all ages.
- Training Required
- After becoming a certified personal trainer, new trainers typically work alongside an experienced trainer before they are allowed to train clients alone.
- Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 10% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
- Fitness trainers and instructors who are interested in management positions should get a bachelors degree in exercise science, physical education, kinesiology, or a related subject. Experience often is required in order for a trainer or instructor to advance to a management position in a health club or fitness center. Some organizations prefer a masters degree for certain positions.
- Employers prefer to hire fitness trainers and instructors who are certified. Many personal trainers must be certified before they begin working with clients or with members of a gym or other type of health club. Group fitness instructors can begin work without certification, but employers often encourage or require them to become certified. Most specialized fitness instructors receive certification for their preferred type of training, such as yoga or Pilates.
- Median pay: How much do Fitness Trainers and Instructors make?
- $38,160 Annual Salary
- $18.34 per hour
Fitness trainers and instructors lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities, including cardiovascular exercises (exercises for the heart and blood circulation), strength training, and stretching. They work with people of all ages and skill levels.
What do Fitness Trainers and Instructors do?
Fitness trainers and instructors typically do the following:
- Demonstrate or explain how to perform various exercises and routines to minimize injuries and improve fitness
- Watch clients do exercises to ensure that they are using the correct techniques
- Provide alternative exercises during workouts or classes for different levels of fitness and skill
- Monitor clients progress and adapt programs as needed
- Explain and enforce safety rules and regulations on sports, recreational activities, and the use of exercise equipment
- Give clients information or resources about nutrition, weight control, and lifestyle issues
- Give emergency first aid if needed
Both group fitness instructors and specialized fitness instructors plan or choreograph their own classes. Classes may include cardiovascular exercises, such as aerobics or dance; strength training, such as lifting weights; or both. Instructors choose music that is appropriate for their exercise class and create a routine or a set of moves for participants to follow. Some may teach prechoreographed routines that were originally created by fitness companies or other organizations.
Personal fitness trainers design and carry out workout routines specific to the needs of their clients. They may work with individual clients or teach group classes. In larger facilities, personal trainers often sell their training sessions to gym members. They start by evaluating their clients current fitness level, personal goals, and skills. Then, they develop personalized training programs for their clients to follow, and they monitor the clients progress.
Fitness trainers and instructors in smaller facilities often do a variety of tasks in addition to their fitness duties, such as tending the front desk, signing up new members, giving tours of the facility, or supervising the weight-training and cardiovascular equipment areas. Fitness trainers and instructors also may promote their facilities and instruction by various means, such as through social media, by writing newsletters or blog articles, or by creating posters and flyers.
Gyms and other types of health clubs offer many different activities for clients. However, trainers and instructors frequently specialize in only a few areas. The following are examples of types of fitness trainers and instructors:
Careers for Fitness Trainers and Instructors
- Aerobics instructors
- Certified personal trainers
- Exercise instructors
- Fitness directors
- Fitness trainers
- Fitness workers
- Group exercise instructors
- Group fitness instructors
- Personal fitness trainers
- Personal trainers
- Pilates instructors
- Specialized fitness instructors
- Trainers, fitness
- Weight trainers
- Weight training instructors
- Yoga instructors
- Yoga teachers