You likely have a firm understanding of what a personal training job entails, but what is the expected salary for this excellent career path?
Personal training is one of the fastest-growing careers in America. With obesity rates on the rise, the need for individuals in the health industry is higher than ever. For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, a career as a Personal Trainer can be lucrative. On average full-time personal trainers make about $50,000/year with the potential to make upwards of $130,000/year. If you choose to be a Personal Trainer, you can expect career satisfaction immediately and job growth within the first year.
Hourly Salaries for Personal Trainers
Although hours are primarily based on your client’s needs, they are much more flexible than a typical 9 to 5 job, and you can make your own schedule. When starting out in the personal training field, it is a good idea to work at a gym. This can be a local boutique gym, a studio, or a large corporate one. You are still an entrepreneur, but the brick-and-mortar provides the financial security of an hourly rate as you build your book. Unless you are bringing clients with you or have friends in the gym interested in buying a personal training package immediately, you will start out with no clients. Understand that this is normal and that building your clientele takes time.
Management will most likely give you “floor hours” to acquaint yourself with gym members. The pay for this can range from $15 to $20/hour, depending on your gym. Floor hours allow you to get noticed around the gym and sell your services while you do simple tasks such as cleaning machines and rack weights. When starting off, many new trainers look at this as a punishment. Do not think that way- you have to start somewhere! Working on the main floor of the gym, where all the members are, is one of the best ways to meet potential clients.
If you notice someone’s form is wrong, ask if you may show them how to perfect it. Remember, no one wants to hear they are doing something wrong, so choose your words wisely. If you see someone doing lots of sets of the same exercise, you may suggest a new exercise that works for the same muscle groups. Being friendly and helpful, along with tidying up the area, will make gym members notice and want to train with you. Some people may even approach fitness instructors when they watch the fitness trainer workout and see the accuracy and perfection in movements done in the workout. Sometimes that is all it takes on the part of the personal trainer.
Once you have attracted clients, your hourly salary will be determined by the type of package they purchase from you. Large packages of 24 or 36 sessions are great because you know you have that client hooked for several weeks. Gyms tend to give members a lower rate per session if they buy a large package; understand that this might affect your hourly rate by a few dollars. If a client purchases a small training package of 4 or 6 sessions, you will get paid more per hour, but you will have to work harder after just a couple of weeks to persuade them to buy again. Most trainers encourage their clients to buy the biggest package possible not only for the retention of clientele but also because they know their clients are more likely to get results from several weeks of training rather than just a few sessions.
How Much Do Personal Trainers Make Annually?
After you have filled your schedule with clients, gym management will probably take away your floor hours. It is now up to you to retain your clientele to keep your business going. Depending on how many trainers your gym has, the time of year you start, and the area where you work, it could take up to a year to fill your book. You can also do many things as fitness trainers to improve the annual salary and general hourly rates. Keep in mind the overall salary offered by employers could depend on the quality of your CPT certification and if you have one of the best personal training certifications.
When you are training 8 or more sessions a day, you can begin to think in terms of yearly salary. At this time, you are typically no longer prospecting, and clients are seeking you out. You have proved to yourself enough that your reputation and business are based on referrals. Your clients are walking billboards of your services. This is a very comfortable place to be in the industry.
Certain times of the year will be busier than others.
I usually gain the majority of my clients nowadays based on word-of-mouth referrals from former or current clients. Depending on the location I am training, I have landed jobs with employers for classes and specific fitness training positions for temporary roles just based on client referrals, too.
Understandably, January is one of the busiest months as people are looking to finally reach their fitness goals in the New Year. Summertime is often a slower season as your clients take vacations, stay home with their kids, go to their beach house, or even spend more time working out on their own outdoors. Knowing that there are busy times and slow times should help you budget properly. Focusing on your yearly salary instead of each paycheck is a way to keep things in perspective.
Overall, you can somewhat expect to make the predicted 50k as a minimum if you are working full-time, but it could help to use a salary calculator to find an accurate pay range in this job category. Make sure to search around in your specific city, as you should never expect to make the same wage as a New York personal trainer as you would in the middle of the United States at a local YMCA.
Keep in mind some smaller details that will take money out of your income, like personal trainer insurance and the need for continuing education courses, like strength and conditioning, health coaching, corrective exercise, and group fitness instructing.
Once you have a predicted salary range based on similar locations and pulled from businesses, you should ideally compare your pay range to your cost of living. The job market is growing significantly well for fitness businesses, and it would be possible to include a significant disclaimer that your job category of a fitness instructor is predicted to see tremendous growth in the next decade or more.
How Can A Personal Trainer Improve Their Earnings?
Many gyms have tiers of trainers with different titles, such as Master Trainer, Pro Trainer, and Elite Trainer. Some of them may even wear different colored shirts to designate one from another. The trainers are separated for various reasons such as experience, number of certifications, or their training specialties. As a result of the tier system, some trainers’ rates are higher, and their clients pay more. The trainers at the top of the tier usually have the most certifications and earn the most. It is interesting to note that some trainers, although overqualified for their tier, prefer to keep their prices at a rate they know are reasonable enough for their current clients. Despite getting more certifications and moving up a tier, these trainers feel they might lose their regular clients if their prices go up. This is fine when starting out, but you will never improve your earnings if you keep this mindset. As a trainer, your knowledge is worth every penny, and your rates should reflect your expertise.
To improve your earnings, expand your knowledge in the industry as frequently as possible. You want to aim to add value to the content you provide and the skills you bring to your clients. This can be as simple as focusing on a specific type of workout, some healthy living classes, strength training specialization, and even focusing in group classes in areas like pilates, yoga, CrossFit, and cardiovascular group classes. Attend conferences maintain your certification by keeping up with continuing education credits, and get as many qualifications as possible. Everything from Kettlebell specialization to Zumba requires a certification. The more certifications you maintain, the more valuable you are and the more you will make. Having as much knowledge as possible opens doors to earning money beyond just your own clients. Teaching classes and running boot-camps are worthwhile ways to increase your salary.
Personal Trainers who make six figures usually own the gym or studio where they train and have clients willing to pay top dollar. While this is a fantastic aspiration, it isn’t the only way to make big bucks in the industry. After a few years of gaining valuable experience working in a gym, some personal trainers decide to go out on their own and train outside of the gym. This can be very rewarding, but there are a lot of things to consider. It is necessary to know if any non-compete agreements had been signed at the previous gym, understand and choose an insurance provider for personal training insurance, and overall need a business sense to support job security.
Trainers may choose to have their own business by renting studio space or a warehouse or even going to the client’s house and bringing their own equipment. By running a business themselves, trainers are able to charge their clients rates without a gym taking a percentage. This is one of the best ways to guarantee a profit and be on your way to achieving prosperity in the industry.
Your success as a personal trainer relies on the amount of time you put into your business – both at a gym or running your own business. Offer incentives to your clients if they bring you a new client. Be creative and memorable when driving business. Practice the same nutrition and exercise advice you give your clients and stay motivated. Your attitude greatly affects the development of your business.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does the average personal trainer make?
The average personal trainer in an average role can expect compensation on an annual basis to be around 50k for a full-time job title, according to the most recent data. The wages can vary somewhat depending on the education level and the range of work the employee focuses on for their clients. For example, various types of specializations like group fitness, strength and conditioning, corrective exercise, and health coach certification change the expected salary estimates. Attending some personal trainer schools can also add to the earning potential you have.
What is the most important quality for a personal trainer?
The most important quality for a personal trainer to be successful in fitness is going to be a love for success in their clients and a desire to teach people. These two qualities will benefit the work of any fitness employees in any range of companies. These qualities can be learned and emphasized with some form of certification courses or specialization courses offered in fitness organizations. Make sure you know how you can become a great fitness instructor.
How do personal trainer salaries vary by region?
Different cities have different fitness trainer salaries, and it is important to understand the realistic earning potential for trainer salaries based on current data. It can also help to call the local gyms or companies that you wish to work for or ask around to talk to personal trainers who work in a more freelance work position. Keep in mind the changes in income that come with the advancement of personal trainer education and how this may be specific to your state or city. I have personally had success training for sports that are more specific to areas, and this specificity factors into what clients pay personal trainers.