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Fitness Instructor Jobs


With the increasing emphasis on exercise and healthy diets, there will be a growing demand for fitness workers over the next several years. The healthcare and insurance communities are providing more information to their patient populations about proper diets and exercise as preventative measures for disease.

For example, many newly diagnosed diabetic patients (adults) are able to control their disease through maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Fitness workers help people by working with them in groups or one-on-one to develop exercise programs that will meet their fitness and weight goals.

While some fitness workers are only employed part-time, the increase in future demand may mean more full-time positions will be available.

Most fitness workers are hired by work out facilities such as privately owned fitness clubs, YMCAs, and golf clubs to lead fitness classes and assess and work with clients as personal fitness coaches. Some fitness workers also work independently as personal trainers.

Other types of employment that are available are fitness jobs on cruise ships, some resorts, special fitness camps for kids and adults, and similar locations. Because there are times when these jobs can be physically demanding, and clients expect their coaches to be physically fit, it is best if workers in this field are in top physical condition.

Here is a list of some of the most prevalent jobs in this field:

  • Fitness director
  • Fitness instructor
  • Fitness leader
  • Group exercise leader/instructor
  • Personal coach
  • Personal trainer
  • Trainer

fitness trainer photoIn the sections below, we give you information about obtaining a job in physical fitness. We’ll take a look at the future job market, the salary ranges of the leading positions in the field, and the education and training required to get a job as a fitness worker.

Employment Outlook

Physical fitness is one field that will be growing at a very fast pace over the next several years. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be a 29% increase in the number of fitness jobs by 2018, much faster than most jobs.

The Bureau attributes this growth to the baby boomer generation, who is aging but understands the importance of maintaining physical fitness and developing an age-appropriate exercise routine.

Also, as we’ve already mentioned, there has been more education and information circulated by physicians and other healthcare groups about the preventative nature of exercise and a healthy diet, leading many people to join health clubs and seek out the advice of professional fitness experts.

In addition to this job growth, there will be many workers leaving this profession, as they grow older, creating the need for other fitness workers to fill their positions.

Salary Outlook

Average fitness workers earn an above-average income, but are not exceptionally well paid. Fitness workers who work as personal coaches for individual clients may be able to earn more than those who work at fitness clubs and similar locations. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average annual salary for fitness workers is approximately $29,000, although the Bureau also says that the top wage earners in the field earned more than $60,000 per year. Salary ranges can also vary according to geographic region. For example, in the mid-west fitness instructors can earn an average annual salary of approximately $52,000. 

Education and Training Requirements

The education and training needed to obtain and hold a job in the fitness industry can vary greatly, depending on what kind of job the person is looking for and for what employer.

Some private facilities may only require previous experience and/or certification, or may train group fitness leaders themselves, while larger corporations and other organizations may require a bachelor’s degree plus certification in specialized exercises such as Pilates, yoga, etc. 

For those locations looking for a bachelor’s degree, it must be in physical education or a related area. Certification can be obtained after taking classes from a company authorized to issue certifications, such as industry associations and private companies. Some classes may take just a few days to complete, while others may take months. An example of a few organizations that offer certification is the International Sports Sciences Association and the National Personal Trainer Institute. To become a certified Pilates or yoga instructor you will need to take additional specific coursework.

As mentioned, some smaller, private health clubs or fitness clubs may prefer to train their own workers, or may not require as much education or certifications, but it is becoming more important today for workers in this field to obtain a degree and/or certifications.

If you have a strong interest in physical fitness and enjoy working with people and helping them achieve their fitness goals, this may be a great career choice for you. With the increasing demand for fitness workers in the coming years, this may be a great time to enter this field.

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