I figured I'd write a post on Personal Trainer Salary due to all the questions I get on the topic. So here goes....
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics places fitness professionals in the Fitness Trainers and Instructors category. According to the statistics compiled by the Bureau, a personal trainer’s median pay in the United States for 2010 was $31,090 per year and $14.95 per hour. That may seem very attractive to some and rather low to others who read the figures, and a few may say that just isn't realistic given their experience. It's important to understand that those statistics are national; some regions will pay more and others will pay less depending on the cost of living.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) did a survey in 2010 of personal trainers who have ACE certification. The following are hourly figures of full-time personal trainers based on the region in which they work:
• Northwest: $18.11 per hour
• Northcentral: $21.20 per hour
• Northeast: $29.15 per hour
• Southwest: $25.75 per hour
• Southeast: $26.56 per hour
Obviously, some parts the country command higher rates. However, the cost of living in the Northeast is much higher than in the Northcentral. That has to be taken into consideration before any personal trainer relocates to a different region. Relocating to an area with the higher rate does not necessarily mean a higher net pay, or more money in the pocket once expenses have been met.
The ACE survey is particularly interesting because it also takes into consideration the number of hours a part-time personal trainer works. While there are people who are able to make a full-time career of fitness, many are still required to work only on a part-time basis. The breakdown of part-time hours per region for personal trainer is as follows:
• Northwest: 16.09 hours
• Northcentral: 16.03 hours
• Northeast: 15.88 hours
• Southwest: 16.10 hours
• Southeast: no average available
Education and Experience
Education is a major factor in determining compensation, and the fitness industry is no exception to that. Those with baccalaureate degrees will fare better than those personal trainers will only have a high school education and ACE certification. However, work experience often has a dominant role and a person with many years of experience in physical fitness can do quite nicely and, in some cases, make more than a person who has a higher level education.
Personal trainers must keep in mind that many variables will determine the rate of pay. A personal trainer moving to an area that pays more may discover that has more to do with the cost of living than a desire for services. Education is definitely important but so, too, are years of experience in the business. A smart idea would be for a personal trainer to plot out his or her career, deciding how and when to get more certification and education, and when to just let the years of experience accumulate. A defined career strategy can then lead a personal trainer to a higher paycheck and an overall career in physical fitness that more than meets personal expenses.
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I'm a yoga instructor, and pay fluctuates a lot. It depends if you're self-employed or work through a gym, and then what kind of gym. It depends if you get paid per hour or per client. I would say location is only one factor in pay scale.