Employment Outlook for Personal Trainers

Growth in fitness industry good news for instructors

The fitness industry is growing by leaps and bounds and the trend is expected to continue over the next decade. For various reasons an increasing number of people are joining gyms, hiring personal trainers or taking part in group fitness classes. A large number of professionals leaving the industry every year will help to create what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will be faster than average growth of employment opportunities.

Personal trainers and other fitness professionals who can provide both one-on-one and group instruction will find a variety of opportunities with fitness clubs, gyms, or as self-employed trainers. Many gyms will want to hire people who can provide more than one service.

Trainers should be able to work with males and females of many different age groups and fitness levels. One hour they may be required to train a 60 year old man and the next a 15 year old female. Their clients can be in good shape or suffer from obesity and related medical conditions, which makes it important for trainers to be knowledgeable in many areas. While the most successful self-employed trainers can build up a client list of people with similar needs or preferred client types, most who work for employers will have to train everyone who is added to their schedule. Smaller fitness clubs in particular will require more versatile trainers.

Where personal trainers will find jobs

Aside from the usual places personal trainers find jobs - gyms, fitness centers, resorts - there will be a wealth of new opportunities for students who graduate from personal training schools in the next decade.

  • Businesses are offering on-site gyms with personal trainers and fitness consultants to aide employees in equipment use and workout planning. These trainers may also arrange for fitness-related trips or other events.
  • Health and fitness clubs aimed solely at children are becoming more and more popular as physical education in schools declines. Personal trainers at these gyms work with children in groups or one-on-one to help them become more active and help those with weight problems improve their health.
  • Aging citizens are discovering fitness as a way to retain their independence and feel younger. In particular, beginner yoga and Pilates classes are favored for their low-impact approach to fitness.

Personal trainer and group exercise instructor wages

Popular self-employed trainers can make much more than salaried professionals, but it takes time and good word-of-mouth for trainers to build the reputation necessary. Most charge $60 to $150 an hour.

Many trainers work part-time and don't qualify for medical insurance or other benefits, although they often get unlimited free use of the club they work at. Some savvy trainers might get training at a massage therapy school so they can help people relax those tired muscles. Okay, we're bing cheeky. Here's a look at personal trainers' salaries.

  • Median annual wages - $25,470
  • Middle 50 percent - $17,380
  • Top 10 percent - over $55,560
  • Bottom 10 percent - under $14,030

Earnings by industry

  • Amusement and recreation industries - $28,670
  • Schools and instruction - $22,320
  • Civic and social organizations - $20,530

Statistics courtesy the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2004