While most people enter the fitness industry because they have a passion for health and exercise, the ability to earn a decent living is another factor that comes into play. Salaries for personal trainers vary considerably, based on the area of the country, the venue where you work and the type of training and education you bring to the table.
We have a list of the factors that impact the amount of money certified personal trainers can expect to earn.
The location where you work will have a major impact on how much you earn as a personal trainer. These larger cities around the country typically offer the highest hourly rates to personal trainers:
• Los Angeles, California
• New York, New York
• Houston, Texas
• Dallas, Texas
• Seattle, Washington
• Chicago, Illinois
Smaller cities and rural locations tend to offer lower rates in this field of work, but the perks of working in less congested areas may outweigh the lower salary figures.
Types of Venues
Personal trainers work in a variety of venues, from the local YMCA to some of the most prestigious health clubs in the country. Salary figures will also vary from venue to venue, with private clubs typically paying more for personal training services than community centers. As a general rule, the more well known the health club is, the better the pay rate will be for personal trainers who work there.
It should also be noted that when you work in a club or fitness center, the hourly rate paid by the client is usually divided between the club and the trainer. In some cases, the trainer may only earn 25-30% of the full hourly rate, but proven trainers may be able to negotiate up to 50% of the amount. If you work in an expensive health club, your rate will naturally be higher than if you work at a lower priced community center.
Training and Education
There are no hard and fast rules about how much education is required to work as a personal trainer. In fact, certification programs vary widely in terms of the amount of training their students receive and the curriculum that is taught.
To ensure you make the best possible salary as a personal trainer, choose a certification program that is well known and respected in the fitness industry, such as NASM, NSCA or ACE. If you have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as kinesiology or sports medicine, you also gain the potential to earn more – in fact, some trainers with a degree and certification may earn twice as much as trainers who do not have a college background.
The salary of a personal trainer varies greatly based on the factors listed above, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showing an annual range between $20,000 and $57,000. Those who set up private practice working with clients in high-income areas may earn much more. Your choice of location and venue, as well as your level of experience and training, will have a large impact on how much you can expect to earn from your chosen career.