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Exercising for the Money: Personal Trainer Salary

Updated on March 17, 2012
Some personal trainers specialize in martial arts.
Some personal trainers specialize in martial arts. | Source

Personal trainer salary depends on the fitness professional’s ability to instruct and lead both groups and individuals in exercise activities such as aerobics, weightlifting or calisthenics.

These exercise experts may work in resorts, gyms, universities, health clubs or client homes. They can help clients assess their level of fitness, keep records of progress and advise on more nutritious eating habits.

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

Personal trainers can teach clients proper exercise form.
Personal trainers can teach clients proper exercise form. | Source

Basics

According to the American Council on Exercise, personal trainer salary depends on the type of teaching and certification.

  • Group fitness instructors average $23.50 per hour or $47,659 per year full-time, and $24.49 per hour or $12,451 per year part-time, with a workweek of only 10.41 hours.
  • Personal trainers make $25.71 per hour or $53,323 per year full-time, and $25.14 per hour or $18,650 per year for part-time work of 15.95 hours per week.
  • With certifications like Advance Health and Fitness Specialist or Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach, full-time pay increases to $26.74 per hour or $55,771 per year. Part-time pay for 16.20 hours per week equals 26.23 hourly or $20,588 yearly.

Location

Where the job is located in the country can also affect personal trainer salary as revealed by the following.

  • The region with the highest salaries in general is the Northeast, where full-time group fitness instructors make $25.97 hourly and $52,767 yearly, and personal trainers make $29.15 per hour or $59,984 per year.
  • However, advanced certifications pay more in the Southwest with full-time averages at $26.64 per hour or $57,431 per year.
  • The Southwest also has the highest-paying part-time work. Group fitness instructors working 10.47 hours per week earn $26.30 per hour or $13,962 per year. Personal trainers working 16.10 hours per week get $28.44 per hour or $21,006 per year.
  • For advanced certifications, the highest part-time pay is still the northeast, where 16.15 hours of work average $29.38 per hour or $24,159 per year.

Education

Personal trainer salary also varies by education as follows.

  • For those working full-time with high school diplomas, personal trainers earn $22.14 per hour or $45,516 per year. There’s insufficient data for group fitness instructors and those with advanced certifications.
  • With bachelor’s degrees, group fitness instructors make $21.02 per hour or $43,746 per year full-time, personal trainers earn $24.42 per hour or $50,597 per year, and advanced certifications make $24.47 per hour or $51,428 per year.
  • With a master’s degree, full-time group fitness instructors get $27.17 per hour or $54,137 per year, personal trainers average $31.77 per hour or $67,287 per year and advanced certifications bring $37.59 per hour or $78,382 per year.

Titles

Personal trainer salary also differs by job title as shown by the following full-time figures.

  • Personal Trainers earn $21.42 per hour or $42,204 per year.
  • Group Fitness Instructors make $17.16 per hour or $31,963 per year.
  • Advanced Health and Fitness Specialists receive $23.58 per hour or $47,163 per year.
  • Fitness Directors get $20.19 per hour or $41,921 per year.
  • Pilates Instructors earn $24 per hour or $46,650 per year.
  • Club Owners get $33.43 per hour or $80,382 per year.

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    • tarajeyaram profile image

      tarajeyaram 5 years ago from Wonderland

      These are great tips for someone who is looking to be a personal trainer. Salary does depend on location, education, and type of personal trainer. Great hub. Voted useful and up.

    • JEOrtega profile image

      JEOrtega 5 years ago from Southern California

      Great article! I learned a lot! Thanks!

      Jennifer

    • alocsin profile image
      Author

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      What's nice about personal training is that you don't even need a high school diploma. Some certifications are nice, but you primarily need to be able to help people meet fitness goals.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi alocsin,

      This is timely. I know a friend who has an 18 year old grand nephew moving in with her and she hopes he can find a job. Going to send this information to her. It might just be coming at the right time to fit his needs at the moment. Thanks! Voted up and useful.

    • alocsin profile image
      Author

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      If he's athletic and can teach, Peggy W, then perhaps being a personal trainer would be great for him.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Huh, they are actually quite reasonable salaries and the work keeps you motivated to stay healthy ... all round a pretty good job.

      Shared, up and interesting.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      My husband and I are taking a few personal training sessions right now. Our main goal is to learn how to use all of the many machines in the 24 Hour Fitness gym safely and correctly. So far...so good!

    • alocsin profile image
      Author

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      That's great Peggy. Just remember, consistency is the key with any kind of training.

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