Fitness Trainer or Instructor

This job search feature is for Premium Users.
Take our career test and discover careers that fit you best and your work personality strengths. With one click - see your best fitting jobs, who is hiring near you, and apply for these jobs online.

Career Test + Premium Career Report + Unlimited Career Research & Job Search Access Learn more here

Salary Range: $40,000 to $59,999

Average Hourly: $ 19.48

Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Number of Jobs: 309800

Jobs Added to 2029: 121700

Growth: Much faster than average



Go here to see salary and job data specific to the United Kingdom.

What Fitness Trainers and Instructors Do

Fitness trainers and instructors lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities, including cardiovascular workouts (for the heart and blood circulation), strength training, and stretching. They work with people of all ages and skill levels.

Duties

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 correct technique
  • Provide options during workouts to help clients feel successful
  • 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 topics such as nutrition and lifestyle
  • Give emergency first aid if needed

Fitness trainers and instructors work with individual clients or prepare or choreograph their own group classes. They may do a variety of tasks in addition to their fitness duties, such as managing 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 through social media, by writing newsletters or blog posts, or by creating posters and flyers.

Exercise trainers, also known as personal fitness trainers, work with individual clients or small groups. They may train in a gym or in clients’ homes. They evaluate their clients’ current fitness level, personal goals, and skills. Then, they develop personalized training programs for their clients to follow and monitor the clients’ progress. In gyms or other fitness facilities, these workers often sell training sessions to members.

Group fitness instructors organize and lead group exercise classes, which may include cardiovascular exercises, muscle strengthening, or stretching. Some instructors create a routine or select exercises for participants to follow, and they then choose music that is appropriate to the movement. Others teach prechoreographed routines that were created by fitness companies or organizations. They may lead classes that use specific exercise equipment, such as stationary bicycles; teach a specific conditioning method, such as yoga; or instruct specific age groups, such as seniors or youths.

For information about workers who develop fitness programs to help people recover from illness or injury, see the profile on exercise physiologists.


Work Environment

Fitness trainers and instructors work in facilities such as recreation centers, health clubs, and yoga studios. Many work variable or part-time schedules that may include nights, weekends, or holidays.


Work Environment Details

Fitness trainers and instructors held about 309,800 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of fitness trainers and instructors were as follows:
Fitness and recreational sports centers 50%
Self-employed workers 18
Civic and social organizations 8
Educational services; state, local, and private 8
Government 4

Fitness trainers and instructors may work in standalone fitness centers or centers maintained by other types of establishments for their employees or for members of civic and social organizations. Some work in clients’ homes.

Work Schedules

Many fitness trainers and instructors work variable or part-time schedules that may include nights, weekends, or holidays. Some travel to different gyms or to clients’ homes to teach classes or conduct personal training sessions. Exercise trainers and group fitness instructors sometimes hold jobs in other fields and conduct training sessions or teach fitness classes at times that accommodate their work schedules.


Job Outlook

Employment of fitness trainers and instructors is projected to grow 39 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 69,100 openings for fitness trainers and instructors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


How to Become a Fitness Trainer or Instructor

The education and training required for fitness trainers and instructors varies by specialty. Employers usually prefer to hire those with certification, but requirements vary by facility.

Education

Fitness trainers and instructors typically need a high school diploma to enter the occupation. Employers may prefer to hire fitness workers, particularly personal trainers, who have an associate’s or bachelor’s 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, and anatomy. Personal trainers also may learn how to develop fitness programs for clients of all ages.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most fitness trainers or instructors have certification related to the area of fitness in which they specialize. Personal trainers usually must be certified before they begin working with clients or with members of a gym or health club. Group fitness instructors may begin work without certification, but employers often encourage or require them to get their credentials. Most fitness instructors receive certification for their preferred type of training, such as yoga, kickboxing, or strength training.

Many organizations offer certification. For example the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits certifying organizations in the fitness and wellness industry, including several that offer personal trainer or general certification. In addition, some private companies offer certification in the types of classes they offer.

Certification exams that have a written portion measure candidates’ knowledge of human physiology, understanding of proper exercise techniques, and ability to assess clients’ fitness levels and develop appropriate exercise programs. Certification also may require the candidate to teach a class for a live or video skills demonstration, which is then assessed by the certifying organization.

Most trainers or instructors also need certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid, as well as in use of automated external defibrillators (AED).

Training

After becoming a certified personal trainer, new trainers may be required to work alongside an experienced trainer before they are allowed to train clients alone.

Training for fitness instructors varies greatly. For example, the Yoga Alliance requires 200 and 500 hours of training, depending on the credential.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Fitness trainers and instructors must be able to clearly explain exercises that they demonstrate to clients.

Customer-service skills. Many fitness trainers and instructors sell their services, motivating clients to hire them as personal trainers or to sign up for the classes they lead. Fitness trainers and instructors must therefore be encouraging, friendly, and polite to maintain relationships with their clients.

Listening skills. Fitness trainers and instructors must listen carefully to what clients tell them in order to determine the clients’ fitness levels and desired fitness goals.

Motivational skills. To keep clients coming back for more classes or to continue personal training, fitness trainers and instructors must keep their clients motivated.

Physical fitness. Fitness trainers and instructors must be able to lead classes and to demonstrate exercises to participants or their clients.

Problem-solving skills. Fitness trainers and instructors must evaluate members’ or client’s fitness levels and create appropriate fitness plans to meet their needs.

Advancement

Fitness trainers and instructors who are interested in management may need a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, physical education, kinesiology, or a related subject. Employers often require that trainers or instructors have experience in order to advance to a management position, such as the fitness director who oversees scheduling, workout incentive programs, and selecting exercise equipment in a health club or fitness center.

Personal trainers may advance to a head trainer position and become responsible for hiring and overseeing the personal training staff or for bringing in new personal training clients. Fitness trainers and instructors also may go into business for themselves or open their own fitness centers.


United Kingdom Job Data

Source:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Fitness Trainers and Instructors, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htm (visited ).