Personal Trainer Salary

As the health and fitness trend continues, personal trainers can make a good living.

How much can a personal trainer make?

According to the 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for personal athletic trainers is $43,370 per year. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

The BLS also states that the top 10 percent of personal athletic trainers earn more than $67,070 per year. Earning potential over the course of your career as an athletic trainer is dependent on a few different variables. Where you’re located will affect your earning potential, but your ability to work hard and market yourself will have a bigger impact. Establishing a solid base of clients who trust you and who will return to you for athletic training will greatly boost your success.

In addition to this, as the U.S. works to overcome its current health and obesity issues, the demand for personal trainers in the coming years is sure to raise the bar for earning potential.

How do personal athletic trainer salaries compare?

Natural Health Career Median Annual Salary*
Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides $41,640
Physical Therapist $82,390
Recreation Workers $22,620
Recreational Therapists $44,000

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides; Physical Therapists; Recreation Workers; Recreational Therapists.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Is there demand for this career?

There is undoubtedly a demand for high-quality personal athletic trainers in this country. More and more health care professionals are viewing exercise as an essential component to a healthy lifestyle, and exercise is being recommended as a way to combat not just obesity, but also concerns like anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue. Good personal trainers who can motivate and assist people in losing weight and practicing good health will continue to be in growing demand throughout the coming years.

Is this a growing field?

Through 2024, employment of personal athletic trainers is expected to grow by 21 percent; comparatively, other occupations are predicted to grow by 7 percent. Like any career field, however, it’s important to be aware that national long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions.

How much competition will I face for a job?

Your job competition will depend primarily on where you are and what kind of facility you’re applying to. Generally, higher-end and expensive health clubs will be extremely competitive for entry-level personal trainers. Additionally, trying to launch your own personal training business without any prior experience or clientele will put you in a tough spot as you try to compete with other trainers who are more established.

For less competition, start off your career at smaller, less expensive health clubs; this way, you can get experience and even build a clientele of people who know you and who would be willing to return to you for fitness help or even refer friends.

What kinds of institutions hire personal athletic trainers?

Institutions that hire personal athletic trainers include gyms/fitness centers, civic and social organizations, like the YMCA, hospitals and physical therapy clinics. Another way that personal athletic trainers find work is by starting their own fitness and personal training businesses. This option can be risky, but if you already have a good client base and some experience, self-employment can be well worth it. Ultimately, what type of facility you seek work on depends on your degree level and what kind of personal training you wish to focus on.

How do I advance in my personal athletic training career?

The best way for you to advance as a personal trainer is to focus on getting great results for your clients; when your clients reach their goals, they’ll want to continue working with you or refer other to you. This will be instrumental in building your business.

From an educational standpoint, you can always return to school to earn a higher degree in personal training. For example, if you have your associate’s degree in personal athletic training, you can return to school for your bachelor’s; if you have your bachelor’s, you can pursue a master’s. Know, however, that you do not need to get a higher degree to succeed. Higher degrees are a good idea for those who would like to pursue leadership or managerial positions within their fields. If this sounds like you, considering a higher degree might be to your benefit in advancing your career.

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