Fitness Trainers and Instructors

Home >> Careers & Education

Fitness Trainers

Fitness Trainers and Instructors


Education

What’s Needed:

  • Fitness trainers and aerobics instructors do not typically need formal education but certification can open more opportunities for managerial positions.
  • For those who want to further their education two-year associate degree program in sports science or physical education are also an option. Personal trainers and fitness instructors who attend two-year or four-year colleges gain greater knowledge of sports science.
  • Privately run fitness centers often put employees through short on-the-job training sessions.

What you study:

Personal trainers and fitness instructors who attend two-year or four-year colleges can gain greater knowledge of sports science. Coursework might include:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • CPR and general health
  • Nutrition
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Psychology
  • Communication


Video Overview

Briefly shows what fitness trainers and instructors do as part of their daily work. Produced for the US Dept. of Labor.


A Day in the Life

Your sessions can burn hundreds of calories an hour.

As a fitness trainer you start your day early with a nutritious breakfast. You’ll need the fuel; your sessions can burn hundreds of calories an hour. Your schedule is predicated on your clients’ schedules and some of them like a morning workout before they head to the office. You arrive at the gym early and greet your regulars for your morning step aerobics class as they arrive at the fitness center.

Although you’re currently one of a number of certified trainers at the center you intend to open your own studio; about 10 percent of trainers are self-employed and you hope to join that number soon. In the meantime you focus on building good rapport with the people in your class. Every class you teach has its own personality and your morning crew likes an upbeat fast-paced workout. You select music with a strong dance beat and put them through their paces demonstrating the moves and offering verbal encouragement to keep the class hopping.

Like any one-on-one interaction personal training can get intense.

Your next few hours are more low-key physically but they require more motivational input from you. You’re scheduled for some personal training sessions. Like any one-on-one interaction personal training can get intense. Your first client this morning has recently stalled during her weight loss program; you want to motivate her to push herself without criticism. She’s a sharer but you hold everything she tells you in confidence. Personal trainers are often trusted confidantes too.

The first morning session goes well but your second session presents a challenge. Your client still wants a workout but he sprained an ankle playing football over the weekend. You’ll need to rework his routine on the fly to accommodate his injury while still giving him an effective workout. Your education and training lets you change the focus to core strength and flexibility exercises that take the pressure off his ankle.

Your mid-afternoon classes have a variety of students so you show the group different levels of difficulty.

After lunch you get a little break to digest before starting your afternoon series of yoga and Pilates classes. Yoga is what you hope to teach in your own studio one day so you spend time at home devising new vinyasas or series of poses to keep your students limber. Your mid-afternoon classes have a variety of students so you show the group different levels of difficulty to allow everyone to find his or her comfort zone. Your last class contains office workers who have spent stressful days hunched over desks so you plan a relaxing restorative session with tranquil music to send them home feeling blissful. It’s a great way for you to wind down too.


Certifications and Licensing

Certification is voluntary for fitness instructors in all states but some companies require professional certification before hiring. Self-employed trainers may find that certification in a specialty is a strong selling point to clients.


Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time and work location:

Fitness instructors may work full-time or part-time. Although most trainers work in private fitness centers and gyms others offer personal training sessions at clients’ homes or offices or have a home studio of their own.


Recommended Websites

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Fitness Trainers and Instructors ? The Occupational Outlook Handbook gives prospective fitness instructors a broad overview of the profession. Median salary information and job demand forecasts are helpful tools for anyone considering this career. Future fitness trainers will also find a list of more specific resources under the Contacts tab.
  • American College of Sports Medicine ? The ACSM is the largest professional organization for sports medicine specialists including fitness trainers in the world. The organization brings fitness instructors sports science specialists researchers and allied health professionals together to pool their knowledge and promote better health care through physical activity. Useful resources include a newsletter for members extensive career guidance tools and resources for health and fitness facility owners. For private aerobics instructors the ACSM also offers insurance information and continuing education opportunities.
  • National Federation of Personal Trainers ? Aerobics instructors who want to work as personal trainers will find valuable certification information on this group’s website. Visitors will find study information for the NFPT certification exam training modules for specialists in a variety of fields and a blog that presents fitness topics from a trainer’s perspective.
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association ? The not-for-profit NSCA publishes the peer-reviewed Strength & Conditioning Journal one of the premier resources for sports science researchers and fitness instructors. Prospective trainers will find information on certification a list of NSCA events and a wealth of educational materials.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

K

State City / Region Typical Salary Salary Range Job Count % of All Jobs
AK Anchorage $37990 $19K – $57K 490 0.29%
AL Auburn – Opelika $33610 $26K – $44K N/A N/A
AL Birmingham – Hoover $28080 $16K – $46K 800 0.17%
AL Florence – Muscle Shoals $23110 $16K – $39K 70 0.13%
AL Gadsden $34490 $20K – $47K 140 0.42%
AL Huntsville $28080 $18K – $53K 350 0.17%
AL Mobile $34910 $21K – $43K 200 0.12%
AL Montgomery $39290 $17K – $52K 400 0.25%
AL Tuscaloosa $33060 $18K – $46K 170 0.19%
AR Fayetteville – Springdale – Rogers $19120 $16K – $29K 270 0.13%
AR Fort Smith $19490 $16K – $38K 70 0.06%
AR Hot Springs $17500 $16K – $19K 60 0.18%
AR Jonesboro $32430 $17K – $47K 50 0.11%
AR Little Rock – North Little Rock – Conway $21360 $16K – $39K 420 0.13%
AZ Flagstaff $33150 $18K – $72K 110 0.20%
AZ Lake Havasu City $ Kingman $28890 $18K – $56K 70 0.15%
AZ Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale $34220 $18K – $58K 3370 0.20%
AZ Prescott $27860 $17K – $87K 40 0.08%
AZ Tucson $38280 $27K – $57K 740 0.21%
CA Bakersfield – Delano $21960 $17K – $53K 260 0.10%
CA Chico $41640 $18K – $71K 190 0.29%
CA Fresno $45560 $21K – $61K 350 0.11%
CA Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area) $43380 $22K – $82K 5790 0.15%
CA Merced $32560 $23K – $42K N/A N/A
CA Modesto $44800 $18K – $68K 320 0.21%
CA Napa $54730 $25K – $92K 130 0.21%
CA Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area) $49280 $18K – $84K 1960 0.20%
CA Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura $48780 $18K – $94K 1080 0.38%
CA Redding $22990 $18K – $37K 90 0.16%
CA Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario $31900 $18K – $66K 1550 0.13%
CA Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville $45350 $19K – $66K 1750 0.21%
CA Salinas $44090 $18K – $73K 210 0.13%
CA San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos $42650 $19K – $78K 2080 0.16%
CA San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area) $63410 $27K – $103K 2710 0.27%
CA San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara $54500 $26K – $76K 1270 0.14%
CA San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles $38200 $18K – $65K 400 0.40%
CA Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area) $37030 $18K – $72K 1770 0.13%
CA Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta $43260 $26K – $65K 370 0.22%
CA Santa Cruz – Watsonville $46860 $27K – $74K 250 0.30%
CA Santa Rosa – Petaluma $60470 $21K – $90K 540 0.32%
CA Stockton $40000 $27K – $55K 180 0.09%
CA Vallejo – Fairfield $53880 $34K – $69K 340 0.28%
CA Yuba City $35090 $24K – $84K 40 0.10%
CO Boulder $46310 $22K – $72K 670 0.42%
CO Colorado Springs $33030 $17K – $53K 730 0.30%
CO Denver – Aurora – Broomfield $39650 $21K – $69K 3550 0.29%
CO Fort Collins – Loveland $35010 $20K – $56K 410 0.31%
CO Grand Junction $30000 $18K – $54K 170 0.30%
CO Greeley $30920 $23K – $42K N/A N/A
CO Pueblo $23200 $17K – $44K 90 0.16%
CT Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $38270 $19K – $82K 1590 0.38%
CT Danbury $29410 $18K – $58K N/A N/A
CT Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford $37640 $21K – $65K 760 0.14%
CT New Haven $52700 $20K – $70K 360 0.13%
CT Norwich – New London $37340 $18K – $67K N/A N/A
CT Waterbury $37550 $18K – $50K 120 0.20%
DC Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area) $37990 $19K – $71K 5540 0.24%
DE Dover $25770 $17K – $45K N/A N/A
DE Wilmington (Metro Area) $25580 $19K – $41K 720 0.22%
FL Cape Coral – Fort Myers $38390 $20K – $58K 390 0.19%
FL Crestview – Fort Walton Beach – Destin $22700 $17K – $49K 140 0.19%
FL Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach $28190 $17K – $97K 380 0.25%
FL Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area) $24310 $17K – $46K 1680 0.23%
FL Gainesville $26330 $21K – $30K 330 0.28%
FL Jacksonville $23860 $19K – $42K 920 0.16%
FL Lakeland – Winter Haven $24130 $17K – $53K 210 0.11%
FL Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area) $20630 $17K – $41K 1000 0.10%
FL Naples – Marco Island $32680 $22K – $60K 470 0.41%
FL North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota $24770 $17K – $43K 740 0.31%
FL Ocala $21440 $17K – $34K 50 0.06%
FL Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford $28480 $17K – $60K 1350 0.13%
FL Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville $21760 $17K – $38K 220 0.11%
FL Pensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent $30030 $18K – $47K 270 0.18%
FL Port St. Lucie $33790 $17K – $64K 190 0.15%
FL Punta Gorda $18400 $16K – $26K 130 0.32%
FL Sebastian – Vero Beach $33180 $20K – $71K 120 0.26%
FL Tallahassee $34220 $20K – $56K 260 0.16%
FL Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater $26610 $17K – $64K 2720 0.24%
FL West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area) $23720 $17K – $63K 1570 0.31%
GA Albany $20820 $16K – $45K 80 0.14%
GA Athens – Clarke County $31790 $17K – $38K 110 0.14%
GA Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta $42010 $19K – $72K 2250 0.10%
GA Augusta – Richmond County $24740 $17K – $38K 330 0.16%
GA Brunswick $36340 $17K – $48K 40 0.10%
GA Columbus $29400 $17K – $45K 170 0.16%
GA Macon $30390 $25K – $49K N/A N/A
GA Rome N/A N/A – N/A 30 0.09%
GA Savannah $31180 $17K – $47K 190 0.13%
GA Valdosta $23230 $18K – $38K N/A N/A
GA Warner Robins $33660 $19K – $38K 50 0.10%
HI Honolulu $32930 $17K – $58K 500 0.11%
IA Ames $17960 $16K – $24K 70 0.18%
IA Cedar Rapids $22530 $17K – $39K 290 0.21%
IA Davenport – Moline – Rock Island $20390 $17K – $36K 340 0.19%
IA Des Moines – West Des Moines $22360 $17K – $43K 980 0.30%
IA Dubuque $18230 $16K – $28K N/A N/A
IA Iowa City $25530 $16K – $38K 130 0.15%
IA Waterloo – Cedar Falls $20260 $16K – $31K N/A N/A
ID Boise City – Nampa c $17K – $49K$18K – $61K 100 0.19%
ID Idaho Falls $19570 $16K – $53K 220 470 0.16%
SC Columbia $34880 $18K – $48K 690 0.20%
SC Florence $23240 $16K – $35K 200 0.25%
SC Greenville – Mauldin – Easley $29910 $18K – $47K 790 0.27%
SC Myrtle Beach – North Myrtle Beach – Conway $25900 $17K – $35K 90 0.08%
SC Spartanburg $21260 $16K – $38K 120 0.10%
SD Rapid City $22400 $16K – $37K 110 0.19%
SD Sioux Falls $25990 $19K – $38K 440 0.32%
TN Chattanooga $24560 $17K – $56K 360 0.16%
TN Clarksville $32250 $20K – $38K 80 0.10%
TN Johnson City $30990 $17K – $53K 100 0.13%
TN Kingsport – Bristol – Bristol $22030 $16K – $34K 110 0.10%
TN Memphis $35130 $17K – $58K 730 0.12%
TN Nashville – Davidson – Murfreesboro – Franklin $32210 $17K – $50K 1320 0.18%
TX Abilene $27850 $17K – $60K 60 0.09%
TX Amarillo $27640 $18K – $39K 150 0.14%
TX Austin – Round Rock – San Marcos $33830 $18K – $72K 1880 0.23%
TX Beaumont – Port Arthur $19000 $16K – $48K 60 0.04%
TX College Station – Bryan $30720 $18K – $45K 70 0.07%
TX Corpus Christi $34250 $18K – $57K 140 0.08%
TX Dallas – Plano – Irving (Metro Area) $44170 $21K – $81K 3310 0.16%
TX El Paso $22740 $17K – $41K 180 0.07%
TX Fort Worth – Arlington (Metro Area) $25940 $18K – $54K 1270 0.14%
TX Houston – Sugar Land – Baytown $34530 $18K – $67K 3300 0.12%
TX Laredo $19010 $16K – $29K 130 0.14%
TX Longview $26940 $18K – $45K N/A N/A
TX Lubbock $23390 $17K – $47K 270 0.21%
TX McAllen – Edinburg – Mission $41490 $18K – $57K 250 0.11%
TX Midland $33240 $18K – $61K 90 0.12%
TX Odessa $31710 $20K – $42K N/A N/A
TX San Angelo $24430 $18K – $47K 140 0.32%
TX San Antonio – New Braunfels $34870 $18K – $68K 530 0.06%
TX Sherman – Denison $21500 $17K – $59K 60 0.15%
TX Tyler $35110 $18K – $49K 230 0.25%
TX Waco N/A N/A – N/A 110 0.11%
TX Wichita Falls $17790 $16K – $25K 80 0.14%
UT Logan $23250 $17K – $45K 120 0.25%
UT Ogden – Clearfield $36800 $24K – $53K 620 0.32%
UT Provo – Orem $34190 $17K – $55K 350 0.20%
UT Salt Lake City $35230 $18K – $67K 1260 0.20%
UT St. George $36930 $28K – $65K 60 0.12%
VA Blacksburg – Christiansburg – Radford N/A N/A – N/A 100 0.16%
VA Charlottesville $26390 $21K – $44K 200 0.20%
VA Harrisonburg $29190 $17K – $40K 210 0.37%
VA Lynchburg $19980 $16K – $39K 190 0.20%
VA Richmond $31770 $18K – $64K 1330 0.22%
VA Roanoke $27250 $17K – $42K 220 0.15%
VA Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport News $26830 $17K – $55K 1410 0.20%
VA Winchester $21980 $16K – $77K N/A N/A
VT Burlington – South Burlington $33880 $21K – $58K 330 0.29%
WA Bellingham $32980 $20K – $56K 200 0.26%
WA Bremerton – Silverdale $31580 $19K – $56K 210 0.27%
WA Kennewick – Pasco – Richland $38900 $21K – $60K 330 0.34%
WA Mount Vernon – Anacortes $29280 $19K – $47K 110 0.27%
WA Olympia $40260 $21K – $63K 310 0.33%
WA Seattle – Bellevue – Everett (Metro Area) $38880 $22K – $72K 3950 0.28%
WA Spokane $38300 $21K – $71K 360 0.19%
WA Tacoma (Metro Area) $34410 $20K – $63K 610 0.24%
WA Wenatchee – East Wenatchee $38220 $28K – $51K 80 0.21%
WA Yakima N/A N/A – N/A 60 0.08%
WI Appleton $18310 $16K – $28K 360 0.32%
WI Eau Claire $17970 $16K – $23K 200 0.26%
WI Green Bay $18530 $16K – $28K 440 0.26%
WI Janesville $24730 $16K – $52K 80 0.13%
WI La Crosse $23050 $17K – $39K N/A N/A
WI Madison $29430 $18K – $51K 590 0.18%
WI Milwaukee – Waukesha – West Allis $26940 $18K – $52K 1400 0.17%
WI Oshkosh – Neenah $18640 $16K – $42K 180 0.20%
WI Racine $28600 $17K – $45K 250 0.34%
WI Sheboygan $31070 $17K – $55K 120 0.22%
WI Wausau $21650 $16K – $50K N/A N/A
WV Charleston $34640 $24K – $88K N/A N/A
WV Huntington – Ashland $24010 $17K – $47K N/A N/A
WV Parkersburg – Marietta – Vienna $18710 $16K – $31K 140 0.20%
WV Wheeling $17760 $16K – $23K 100 0.16%
WY Casper $41990 $17K – $57K N/A N/A
WY Cheyenne $24930 $16K – $52K 60 0.15%

    Advertisement

    POWERED BY
    Customer Service: 855.213.0348
    Mon-Fri 8AM-8PM CST, Sat 8AM-5PM CST, Sun 10AM-6PM CST
    © 2017, Bold Limited. All rights reserved.