Average Salary for a Personal Trainer

What is a personal trainer?

A personal trainer is an athletic conditioning professional who works to provide motivation and guidance to clients on a fitness program. Duties of a personal trainer may include demonstrating different exercises, inspecting and correcting clients' form to minimize injury, explaining and enforcing necessary fitness safety precautions, monitoring client progress, providing sports nutrition information and administering emergency first aid if necessary.

What is a personal trainer's salary?

The median annual wage for all fitness trainers and instructors was a little below the average for all occupations in 2012, but the average personal trainer salary among the top 10 percent of earners came in well above the national median. The personal trainer salary range is fairly large, with factors such as work environment, geographical location and the number of hours worked each week all contributing to individual earning levels.

Job TitleBottom 10% Annual WageAnnual Median WageTop 10% Annual Wage
Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors-U.S.$19,640$39,210$74,520
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Is it difficult to find a job as a personal trainer?

Job opportunities for personal trainers should increase about as fast as the average for all occupations between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The employment increase can be partially attributed to a growing understanding of the role that exercise fitness plays in overall wellness, which is encouraging businesses, governments, schools and insurance companies to offer fitness incentives alongside their usual programs.

Job TitleProjected Job Growth Rate
Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors-U.S.9.8%
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Is there room for advancement as a personal trainer?

Personal trainers can take a couple of different paths to advancement in their field. First, and perhaps most challenging, they can work to take on more or higher-profile clients, create a fitness brand around their diet advice and exercise routines or join the payroll at a prestigious health resort.

A second method of advancement is the management track, which often requires a bachelor's degree in physical education, exercise science, kinesiology or a related discipline. Several years of experience in a fitness training environment is often necessary for fitness management jobs, and some organizations may require candidates for management roles to earn graduate degrees.

Do personal trainers need to be licensed or certified?

Although no formal requirement for certification exists at the state or national level, many employers may prefer to hire personal trainers who have taken the necessary steps to become certified. Personal trainers who offer their services on a freelance basis can also benefit from the extra measure of confidence that official certification can inspire in potential clients.

Personal trainers looking to work with athletes or help rehabilitate injured or sick clients may be asked to earn advanced certification before being hired to practice. Candidates for advanced certification may need an associate's or bachelor's degree before they can be cleared to sit for their certification exam.

Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Fitness Trainers and Instructors, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012,
National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

Personal Trainer Schools