Fitness Trainers and Instructors

Fitness trainers and instructors lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities.

Fitness trainers and instructors lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities.

Not everyone loves going to the gym. And even those of us that do sometimes need a little push to commit to exercise. Whether working one-on-one with clients or in front of a group class, fitness trainers and instructors (not to be confused with [athletic trainers]) motivate and lead others in living a healthy, active lifestyle.


Fast Facts

Minimum Education Required: High School Diploma or GED

Top 3 Skills: Physical Fitness, Personality, Leadership

Average Starting Salary: $18,000/year


Job Description

Maybe you want to teach pilates or yoga. Or perhaps you want to design individual fitness programs, and help clients carry them out. Whatever your area of physical expertise, as a trainer you would inspire and lead others to better themselves through exercise.

Some trainers work by appointment only, or teach only during scheduled class times. Others are on-the-clock at gyms or similar centers offering general assistance. This job may include weekends and evenings, depending on the gym of operation. Freelance trainers create their own schedules, based on what best fits their clients’ needs.


The education required of trainers is, well, physical. Trainers may need to study up on their Zumba routines or proper weightlifting technique. They may study online, from books or tapes, or with another trainer. As soon as a student feels ready, he/she may take the required exam.


Not only does this vary from state to state, but from sport to sport and even gym to gym as well. Whatever your passion, look to see what the required certification is in your area. If you want to work in a gym, call and ask what certificates (if any) are required. Some employers train and certify as part of the hiring process.

Job Outlook: Good

As a whole, trainers make around $31,000 a year, and are expected to grow in number by 24% between 2010 and 2020. Individual trainers may earn significantly more or less, depending on their preferred schedule and clientele. The top 10% of trainers in 2010 earned over $63,000/year.

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