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Personal Trainer Salary

Libby Remi provides advice to help you better understand and improve your salary as a personal trainer.

While we know that the job market for personal trainers is hot, what does a job in personal training mean for your pocketbook? The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a report covering fitness trainers generally, including personal trainers and their salaries. How much you work is up to you. The average median hourly wage in 2010 for fitness trainers was $29.10/hour. However, the range is wide, and a personal trainer salary can be as low as below $15,000 a year or as high as over $100,000. Here are five tips to help you better understand and improve your salary as a personal trainer:

Experience Pays

Personal trainers who are new to the field find a lower salary than those with more experience. The newbies generally find themselves earning a salary closer to $20,000 a year. With just a few years' expertise, however, a personal trainer salary can make a jump to the $40,000 a year range, and with more experience, keep on rising. Therefore, take comfort that with time will come better pay.

Experience can also be attained more proactively. If you know that a particular field within personal training is gaining popularity, get experience in that field. Take a class on that new piece of equipment or workout, shadow a personal trainer with expertise in that field, and take control of the experience that you get. This way, you can ensure that the knowledge you gain will significantly impact your trainer's salary.

Polish Your Sales Experience

Another thing you can proactively do to improve your trainer's salary is to improve your sales expertise. A large part of having a successful career as a personal trainer involves being a good salesperson. You want to make yourself indispensable to your clients and prospective clients, and accordingly, you need to be good at selling your services. The more clients you have, the more money you will make. Improve your sales-related skills, and your pocketbook will thank you.

Fill Up Your Hours

Improve your trainer salary by adding another job. The majority of personal trainer jobs are part-time. So, if you want to fatten your wallet, take a couple of jobs, or fill up your extra hours with one-on-one sessions in a client's home. Yes, this means more work, but if you need the money, take comfort knowing that the work is usually easy to find.

Education Matters

Many employers and clients care if you have an educational background in fitness or exercise science. Therefore, having a degree in the field may result in a higher salary. It might also improve your ability to get and keep clients, as they might see you as better qualified to train them. If you don't already have a degree under your belt, look into getting one. Many certifications require extensive continuing education, so it might be worth exploring whether those credits could be achieved while pursuing a degree, allowing you to get re-certified and move closer towards a degree with the same classes.

Negotiate Your Take-Home Percentage with Your Gym

Another way to improve your trainer's salary is to renegotiate your gym's cut from your trainer fees. If you work for a large gym, your employer will take out a percentage of your training fee that your clients pay. That percentage, however, is negotiable, and the more indispensable you are to the gym, the higher the bargaining power you will have at a negotiation. If you have a good client base, then you may want to sit down with your manager and ask them to lower their cut of your fees; otherwise, they might lose you and all your clients with you.

Page Reference

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  • LIBBY, R. (2012) Personal Trainer Salary [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Remi Libby is a graduate of the University of Dayton with a degree in Kinesiology and Political Science.  He is a certified personal trainer for individuals in the Chicago land area and volunteers his time in youth initiatives at summer camps and the Special Olympics.