You became a personal trainer because you have a passion for fitness. You love to help clients achieve weight loss and build muscle. Their successes are your successes, so you go to great lengths to help them meet their fitness goals. But you also want to earn a decent income along the way.
Personal trainer salary can vary not only from gym to gym, but also by sector and state. We'll look at all of these and share which ones pay the most. First, let's talk about what the typical pay is in a personal training role.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary of a fitness instructor is $40,700 per year. Broken down, this is around $19.57 an hour. Which positions fall into this category? Group fitness instructor, specialized fitness instructors, and personal fitness trainer are options to consider.
Keep in mind that this salary is an average. According to the BLS, 10 percent of fitness trainers and instructors earn less than $22,960 per year. On a more positive note, the top 10 percent had earnings of $75,940 or higher.
Are you interested in obtaining a higher-paying position? Then it's helpful to know which sectors, gyms, and states to consider. We'll go into each of these now.
There are many different sectors in the fitness industry. You can work for a fitness or sports center. You can provide fitness education on a state, local, or private level. You can work for the government. Even civic and social organizations hire fitness trainers.
Of these four, you will likely earn the most working for a fitness facility. This includes working for a gym, athletic club, or other facility providing fitness instruction. The average median salary in these types of setting is $46,260 per year.
The second-highest paying sector is educational services at $38,320 per year. In this role, you may lead workshops or seminars designed to educate groups about diet and exercise. Or maybe you teach college courses related to exercise science or sports medicine. All of these fall under educational services.
Government is third in line with a mean annual salary of $39,310 per year. For example, the U.S. military hires fitness trainers. There are military-based athletic trainer roles open as well. If you like the idea of providing a personal training session to men and women in uniform, this is an option to consider.
Civic and social organizations tend to pay the least. The average annual salary in these agencies is $34,590 per year. YMCA trainers fall into this category. It also includes roles such as aerobics instructor or personal trainer at a non-profit. This is not to say that you should never accept a position at one of these agencies. You may find them more rewarding. It is only to let you know that, overall, they do tend to pay less.
Maybe you've decided that a gym or fitness center is the best setting for you. Salary can vary depending on which one you choose.
Most of their websites don't come out and say what they pay employees in a personal trainer role. For this, we must rely on internet sites that offer personal trainer salary information.
Here is a list of some of the most well-known gyms and fitness facilities. They are ranked from highest paying to lowest paying according to salary information reported to Indeed.com:
Crunch Fitness - $56,454 per year
LA Fitness - $53,147 per year
24 Hour Fitness - $51,133 per year
Lifetime Fitness - $49,025 per year
Equinox - $47,866 per year
Gold's Gym - $39,853 per year (calculated from $19.16 per hour)
Anytime Fitness - $38,230 per year (calculated from $18.38 per hour)
Planet Fitness is another well-known name. It isn't on the list because it doesn't offer one-on-one personal training sessions. Instead, this gym hires instructors to lead group classes. You must be a certified personal trainer to qualify. Indeed reports that the average pay is $11.45 hourly, which is around $23,816 per year.
Again, keep in mind that these are averages. Actual salary can vary based on location and whether you are hired to work full or part time.
Where you live in the U.S. can also impact how much you earn as a fitness trainer. Some states pay more and others pay less. Which states are at the top of the list?
According to the BLS, the state that pays the highest personal trainer salary is New York. The annual mean wage for an instructor in this state is $58,680 per year or $28.21 an hour. New York also has one of the highest employment levels for fitness professionals. With 24,330 personal trainers, the only state that employs more is California, which has 41,460 fitness trainers.
The second highest-paying is Connecticut. The average wage for providing fitness classes or training sessions in this East Coast state is $56,240 per year. This is roughly $27.04 an hour. There are only around 5,040 personal trainers in Connecticut. Yet, the number of personal trainer positions is actually higher when compared to the total number of jobs in the state.
The District of Columbia isn't too far behind Connecticut with a median annual salary of $56,130 per year. This equates to somewhere around $26.99 an hour. Personal trainer jobs aren't quite as plentiful, but the pay is good if you get one.
Washington offers the fourth-highest salary for a personal training position. On a side note, it is the only West Coast state in the top five. Washington offers a mean annual wage of $55,750 per year or $26.80 per hour. It also has a higher employment rate for this specific fitness industry role.
The state that holds the number five slot for personal trainer pay is Massachusetts. This state's average salary is $54,260 annually, which is around $26.09 per hour. Although at the bottom of the list, Massachusetts employs more personal trainers per total jobs available.
Salary varies within states too. If you're hired to work as a personal trainer in a big city, your pay may be different than if you work in a small town. It can also change based on the type of personal training services you provide. For example, the average pay for a yoga instructor in the U.S. is $31.50 per hour. So, offering more specialized trainings can elevate your pay. What else determines how much you can make in the fitness industry?
One factor that impacts your salary is your level of experience. If you're new to personal training, you'll likely make less than an experienced trainer. Another is whether you work for yourself or are employed by a gym. You can also serve as an independent trainer, which is somewhere in between.
Your salary can also be affected by whether you have your certification. People with a personal training certification are often more qualified for higher-paying jobs than those without.
Some gyms won't even hire a personal trainer who isn't certified. This requires finding a certifying organization such as the ISSA, taking a course, and passing an exam. Only then can you apply.
Your certification tells employers that you have the education needed to create a safe and effective fitness program. Because you must take continuing education courses to keep this certification, it also says that you are current in the field.
If you still need your certification, the ISSA offers an online Personal Trainer Certification course. Enroll today and take your fitness career—and pay—to the next level!
Start your dream career completely online! Take the course, pass the certification final exam, and be guaranteed a job - or your money back!
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 April 19, 2022).
Occupational Employment and Wages. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022). Retrieved 13 May 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes399031.htm#st.
Yoga Instructor salary in United States. Indeed.com. (2022). Retrieved 13 May 2022, from https://www.indeed.com/career/yoga-instructor/salaries.