Some people wonder if personal trainers are worth the investment since “Google is free.” What they may not consider is that personal trainers provide accountability to stay focused on your fitness goals, and this is just one way you get value for your money.
As you reap the rewards of your investment so too should your personal trainer get value for their time so the relationship is mutually rewarding. Just how much (financial) value do personal trainers reap from this profession?
We dug around for some answers, and here’s what we found.
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What Determines How Much Personal Trainers Make?
Various factors influence how much income fitness trainers make. These include:
- The gym they work for and payment models used
- Certifications, years of experience, and reputation
- The state and industry they are in
- Whether they work full-time or part-time
- Type of personal training provided
How Are Personal Trainers Paid?
Personal trainer running their own business or working as independent contractor sets their own rates and is paid directly by clients.
A trainer who’s employed by a gym is paid for by that facility. Clients pay the gym which then pays the trainer an hourly rate or a training rate which is a percentage of the client’s fee for their sessions. Check out this article for more information about this payment structure.
Some facilities also have a pay scale where the amount of education or certifications a trainer has determines how much they earn.
Even though the typical entry-level education is a high school diploma or equivalent, personal trainers who commit to continuously learning about human anatomy, fitness, etc. can expect to be rewarded with higher income than their counterparts with less education.
Employee vs. Independent Contractor: Which is Better?
Both running your own business and being an employee have pros and cons. This is why you must do your research before making a decision about how to offer your services.
As an independent contractor, you set your rates and don’t have to give up a percentage of your income to “an employer.” You have the freedom to be creative and design schedules that work for you and your clients. You are more independent and accountable to yourself and your clients only.
However, there are some drawbacks. These include increased liability for injuries. You are solely responsible for building brand awareness or marketing your business to potential clients. Also, if you don’t have a single location to work from, this can result in a loss of clients during transit.
When you’re employed by a gym facility, there’s already a team that markets the service. The facility covers training expenses and cushions you against the stress that often comes with running a business. What’s more, you can get employee benefits such as paid sick leave or medical insurance.
However, being an employee limits your creativity and how you work with your clients. It also limits your ability to increase the income you earn from your personal training services.
Annual Salary for Personal Trainers Across the US
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for personal trainers was $40,700 or $19.57 per hour in 2021. Half of the trainers earned higher than this, with some earning higher than $75,940. The other half earned less, with some earning less than $22,960.
Salary.com, another salary information database, highlighted that the average personal trainer salary is $65,482, with a range of $47,135 to $80,254. These numbers are as of February 2023.
Top-Paying Companies for Personal Trainers in the US
Personal trainers working at gym facilities earn varying salaries which can be determined by the size of the establishment or how successful it is.
Here are the top-paying companies, as highlighted on Indeed.com
- OneLife Fitness — $49.00 per hour
- Camp Gladiator — $42.29 per hour
- Orangetheory Fitness — $42.23 per hour
- The Edge Fitness Clubs — $39.49 per hour
- Discover Strength — $39.09 per hour
Remember that even though a gym may not offer these hourly rates, it can still offer other benefits that can make it worth working at. In addition to paid sick leave and medical insurance, other benefits include 401(k), life insurance, and a retirement plan.
Personal Trainer Salaries in the US States
BLS further highlighted the states with the highest number of trainers and their annual mean salaries.
- New York paid the highest mean salary of $61,840 or $29.73 an hour. The state employed 13,220 fitness trainers.
- California, which had the second-highest mean of $55,480 or $26.68 per hour, had the highest employment level of 25,160 fitness trainers.
- Illinois had an average salary of $48,300 per year or $23.22 per hour and employed around 12,270 personal trainers.
- In Texas, the mean salary was $40,010 per year or $19.24 an hour. That said, the state had the second-highest employment level of 17,010 personal trainers.
- Florida had a slightly lower mean salary of $37,720 or $18.13 per hour, and it employed 14,900 personal trainers.
Note: Even in these states, how much a personal trainer makes varies depending on the factors highlighted earlier.
Top-Paying States for Personal Trainers in the US
According to BLS, New York paid the highest mean salary in 2021. The District of Columbia paid $61,370. Broken down, this is around $29.50 per hour.
Vermont offered the third-highest mean salary of $58,780 or $28.26 per hour. In the fourth position was Connecticut which had a mean salary of $57,740. The trainers were earning around $27.76 per hour. Trainers in Massachusetts took home an average salary of $57,640 or $27.71 per hour.
Conclusion on How Much Do Personal Trainers Make?
BLS projects about 65,500 job openings for personal trainers each year over the 2021-2031 period. If you’re one of the aspiring personal trainers considering filling these openings, you now have a better idea of how much you can expect to make and what determines this salary.
You’re likely to start out earning a lower salary than the medians above, but there are steps you can take to boost your earning potential.