Fitness Trainers And Aerobics Instructors picture    Fitness Trainers And Aerobics Instructors image

Fitness trainers provide personalized and group exercise activities, such as cardiovascular, stretching, strength training and sports activities. They evaluate their clients, learn their goals and design an appropriate training program. Fitness trainers provide leadership, demonstrate techniques, observe their clients and offer tips for improving their techniques. Often, the program needs to be altered after numerous training sessions.

Fitness instructors are employed in health clubs, resorts, exercise clubs, sports training facilities and fitness centers of large companies. They also work in country clubs, hospitals and yoga and Pilates centers. Many fitness trainers have a specialty, however some provide a wide variety of fitness assistance. Some in the profession, provide fitness training at their client's residence.


  • Evaluate the physical condition, the abilities and the needs of participants
  • Create variations on the basic fitness plan for some members of the class
  • Offer instructions to improve client's abilities
  • Make alterations to their client's training plan
  • Offer resources regarding nutrition, lifestyle choices and controlling weight
  • Design exercise routines
  • Offers instructions for maintaining exertion levels
  • Provide proper breathing techniques
  • Observe the progress of participants
  • Maintain exercise equipment
  • Select music when applicable
  • Make membership sales at health clubs

Job Characteristics

Fitness trainers work in a variety of settings. Due to many clients participating in exercise programs before or after work, fitness instructors often work in the early morning hours, the evenings and during the weekends. Some work full-time, however there are many part-time positions available in the profession.

Those working in small facilities are often required to work at the front desk, sign new members, provide tours of the facility and supervise the cardiovascular and weight training sections of the facility.

Being astute at assessing the physical condition and the needs of clients is an important part of the job. Fitness trainers need good communication skills and they should enjoy working with others. Listening carefully to clients and understanding the clients' situation from their perspective is important in this profession. They also need to have good motivation and teaching skills and have empathy for the clients. In addition, sometimes frustration is part of the occupation due to clients not having passion for exercise, or having poor skills or not being able to properly follow instructions.

Good stamina, body coordination and strength are important factors for fitness instructors. In addition, fitness trainers are at risk for injury due to frequently participating in physical activities.

Employment Outlook

The growth in fitness programs in the country has stimulated a strong demand for fitness instructors. Aerobics, weight lifting and body conditioning have gained in popularity. Some experienced fitness trainers with a large clientele open their own fitness club. They also have the opportunity to advance to head trainer and program manager at large fitness facilities.

Self-employed fitness instructors are involved with advertising, marketing, dealing with paperwork and cleaning their facility. Having basic business skills is important.

In 2006, there were approximately 235,000 fitness worker positions. Approximately 8 percent of fitness workers are self-employed and many of them are personal trainers. A lot of the jobs are part-time. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate for fitness workers is expected to be 27 percent from 2006 through 2016 which is mush faster than the average for all types of employment. Part-time employment is projected to be easier to obtain that full-time positions.

The increase in demand for fitness trainers is primarily due to more people getting involved with fitness programs. Aging baby boomers are concerned about staying in good physical shape and are involved in exercise programs. Childhood obesity concerns has created a strong increase in children's health club memberships and also for personal trainers for children. In addition, the projected increase in demand for Pilates and yoga instructors is partly due to the popularity of the programs with older citizens.

In 2006, the median annual earnings for fitness trainers and aerobic teachers was $25,910. The middle 50 percent earned from $18,010 to $41,040. These numbers do not include the earnings from those that are self-employed in the profession. Successful self-employed fitness trainers often have significantly higher earnings.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Typically, fitness facilities require fitness instructors to have certification in the field. Sometimes group leaders are allowed to begin their employment at a facility without being certified but usually they are asked to acquire certification in the future. Most of the time fitness trainers are expected to be experts when hired. They're not offered on-the-job training, however occasionally they might be given training for a unique exercise or training for working with a particular age group. They also may be provided training regarding the operational aspects of the facility.

The education and training necessary for the occupation depends on the types of fitness work the candidate has selected. Group fitness instructors, personal trainers and those that have selected to teach Yoga or Pilates have different education training requirements. Often, group instructors gain skills by participating in exercise programs until they are prepared to lead their own class. In addition, some take training courses and attend fitness conventions.

Personal trainers typically take training classes in order to become certified in the field. Sometimes they begin their careers by working with an experienced personal trainer.

Pilates trainers often acquire their knowledge and skills by attending workshops and programs which take a year to complete. The Pilates Method Alliance has created training standards and suggest teachers have, at a minimum, 200 hours of training. The organization also has a list of Pilates training schools that meet their requirements. Some Pilates trainers are certified group instructors and have acquired skills by attending short Pilates workshops. The training requirements for yoga instructors are similar to Pilates trainers. The training programs for yoga instructors range from a couple of days to over two years.

More employers are seeking fitness instructors that have acquired a bachelor's degree in a health or fitness related subject and have certification in the profession. There are numerous organizations which provide certification. Receiving certification from a leading organization has become important for obtaining employment.

Certifying organizations that have been accredited by The National Commission for Certifying Agencies are typically considered to be reputable. The majority of certifying organizations require candidates to have a high school diploma, have a certification in CPR and pass an exam. The exams typically include a written section and a practical component. Most certification organizations provide study materials and exam preparation workshops. Certifications typically last for two years.


Major Employers

The majority of fitness trainers work in physical fitness facilities and health clubs.

Schools for Fitness Trainers And Aerobics Instructors are listed in the column to the left.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 8,990 $50,850
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 5,650 $54,340
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 5,320 $43,870
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 4,950 $51,110
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 4,380 $42,770
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 4,250 $48,730
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 4,080 $38,430
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale 3,820 $41,450
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson 3,610 $45,280
San Diego-Carlsbad 3,090 $44,990

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Fitness Trainers

Use our handy tool to see what employment and salary numbers look like for two different metro areas

Select State
Select Metro Area 1
Select Metro Area 2

Total employment and salary for professions similar to fitness trainers

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors

To find out more about building a career as Fitness Trainers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Amusement Gambling And Recreation 157,150 68% $30,560
Non-profit 36,000 15% $25,230
Education 11,080 4% $25,020
Government 6,960 3% $29,920
Hospital 4,450 1% $31,850
Personal Services 3,800 1% $26,060
Hotel And Accomodation 2,470 1% $31,950
Medical Office 2,380 1% $32,310
Click the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab.
Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school.
Results:  10
Matching School Ads
  • Health & Fitness Trainer
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
  • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
camnpus icon
Request Info
  • AA - Sports and Rehabilitation Therapy
Fremont College traces its roots to Platt College’s founding in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1879, and the Southern California branch campus was established in 1986. The most significant evolution of the College started when its third CEO, Dr. Sabrina Kay, assumed leadership in 2007. Fremont College became an innovative center adopting the framework of Work-Based Learning Leadership at the Wharton School and Dr. Kay’s thesis on improved learning through practice and collaboration.
camnpus icon
Request Info
  • MEd - Corporate Wellness
  • Sports Management - Doctor of Education
  • Sports Management - Master of Education
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
  • Doctor of Health Professionals Education
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News & World Report
  • A celebrated educational institution focusing on Health Sciences
  • Offering Online Bachelor's & Master's degrees
  • Logan University is HLC & CCE accredited
  • MS in Sport Management - Tourism :Thesis
  • MS in Sport Management - Tourism : Non-Thesis
  • Master of Science: Sport Management: Outdoor Adventure Sport (Thesis)
  • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
  • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
  • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned.
  • Personal Fitness Trainer/Health and Wellness Professional Program
  • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training & wellness.
  • Teaches in an environment that promotes learning and encourages empathetic and compassionate therapists.
  • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
  • Students can work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
  • Financial aid representatives help students develop a personalized financial plan to finance their tuition.
camnpus icon
Request Info
  • B.S. in Sports Management
  • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Sports Business
  • Why Earn Your Degree from GCU?
  • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more!
  • Convenience: Complete courses online, on campus, or a combination of both!
  • Earlier Graduation: Our 4-credit courses allow you to complete your degree program in less time.
  • Transfer Friendly: We will request your transcripts, evaluate your graduate coursework, and determine your anticipated graduation date within 24 hours.
  • Quality: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is regionally accredited. Learn more today!
  • Sports Marketing and Media, Bachelor of Science
  • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
  • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
  • Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
  • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
  • Master of Science in Nutrition Education
  • AU challenges students to combine serious study with real-world experience
  • 8 schools & 150+ programs including bachelor’s, master’s & doctoral degrees
  • MSA accredited with multiple accreditations per program, located in Wash. D.C.
  • Ranked #74 in “Best National Universities” by US News and World Report
  • Multiple financial aid options for eligible students in need
  • B.S. in Sport Management
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses help make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 24 months and a master’s degree in 12-18 months.

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

Back to Top