How to make money as a personal trainer

Want to make a career in fitness? Read our step-by-step guide and learn tips on finding jobs, industry salaries, and more.

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Personal trainers help clients with goals like improving overall performance or injury recovery. Many people rely on their trainers to keep them accountable. If this type of job appeals to you, you may have considered how to become a personal trainer.

This guide will cover how to make money as a personal trainer and go into details like salaries in different locations, certifications, and how to find jobs. Read on to find out more!

How much money do personal trainers make?

Personal trainers earn an average hourly pay of $40-70, with the national average salary being $37,200. California has the highest salary of $49,700, while South Carolina is the lowest at $23,800.  


Average annual income











Source: Zippia

How to become a personal trainer

Becoming a personal trainer can also be gratifying. It’s flexible, allows for personal growth, and you get to build relationships with different people. Here’s how to start your journey.

Step 1: Get certified

yoga teacher adjusting a student in class

Your first step to becoming a personal trainer is getting certified. Choose an organization accredited by an independent third party like the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). From here, you can check if you’re getting a nationally or internationally-recognized certificate, if the program requires you to be on-site or if it can be done online, any other prerequisites, and cost.

With this, it’s helpful to know what your personal goals are. For example, if you plan to work for a particular employer, find out what certifications they require before you apply.

Some of the organizations you can get certifications are: 

  • American Council on Exercise

  • American College of Sports Medicine

  • International Fitness Professionals Association

  • National Academy of Sports Medicine

  • National Strength and Conditioning Association

  • National Council on Strength and Fitness

  • National Federation of Professional Trainers

Some fitness classes, like yoga teaching and pilates instructing, require different certification requirements before you can teach them.

Step 2: Find a job

gym coach explaining her student's workout plan

Once you get certified, you need to know how to get a personal trainer job. If you’re starting out, consider the following places to work at:

  • Gyms

Becoming a gym employee means steady work, regular clients, and regular pay and insurance. This type of work gives you access to different equipment you’ll need and options for working with groups or individuals. You also won’t have to worry about marketing your services because the gym will handle that for you.

  • Spas and resorts

If you prefer a more flexible schedule, check out spas, resorts, and even large apartment complexes. Trainers are asked to provide training for the establishment’s guests. These are usually contractual jobs, but this is a good job to consider if you’ve looked into how to make extra money as a personal trainer.

  • Senior facilities

More older adults are getting interested in staying healthy and active. Working with seniors is a great choice if you have a specialized certification for working with older adults. This type of work may entail you to work with people with special needs, physical disabilities, or limited mobility. Depending on the demand, this could be a full-time or contract gig.

  • Hospitals and wellness centers

Many hospitals employ personal trainers to help patients recover from mobility-related conditions. Working for a hospital may require a specialty focused on working with clients with health challenges.


Step 3: Seek a specialty

trainer working with seniors

As you gain experience, you may want to focus on a particular aspect of personal fitness. One of the best ways to make money as a personal trainer is by taking on a specialty and getting a higher salary. Some of the available options you have are:

  • Athletics and sports - Personal trainers specialising in this can help athletes improve their balance, speed, agility, and performance using high-intensity training and recovery routines.

  • Lifestyle and weight management - This speciality allows you to work with clients looking to improve poor weight management habits and develop healthier behaviours towards fitness.

  • Medical - A medical specialty will enable you to work with post-rehabilitation clients recovering from conditions affecting mobility, like heart problems, muscle sprains, or orthopaedic conditions. 

  • Nutrition - This certification lets you help clients achieve their fitness goals through diet by giving them specific advice on how to eat healthily. 

  • Orthopedics - This certification lets you focus on helping clients with knee pain, arthritis, or other related conditions.

  • Special population - Do you like working with the elderly or with kids? This certification can let you work with older adults and help them manage a healthy lifestyle or with kids and help them build age-appropriate fitness programs.

Step 4: Continue learning

Continuing education is required to keep your certification updated. It also helps you stay updated with the latest in fitness, weight management, nutrition, and health. Check the available courses your certifying organization has, or look into different organizations with workshops and classes to help you maintain your qualifications.

How to become a successful personal trainer

coach discussing his student's workout progress

Start networking

Networking is a helpful strategy to help you find personal training opportunities. Gyms and other employers are more likely to reach out and hire someone they’ve met in a professional setting. 

To get started, attend classes in as many gyms as possible and introduce yourself to the instructors. You can also begin networking at gym open houses, fitness competitions, locally-run clubs, and online fitness groups.

Offer services to friends

While seeking jobs, why not render your services to family and friends, so you gain some experience? You can do one-on-one sessions with them or even offer discounted or free online consultations. These types of talks may even lead you to referrals!

Search online

Look into online fitness groups or job postings at Airtasker to seek job opportunities. Seek out jobs that say “entry-level personal trainer.” Some jobs even have on-the-job training and support for entry-level personal trainers pursuing certification. 

Prepare a well-written resume that you can send out to potential employers when you apply for jobs online.

Become a Tasker & start earning as a personal trainer

Becoming a personal trainer allows you to pursue your passion for fitness and health and lets you connect with different people and see through the tangible changes they make in their lives.  

Want to kickstart your personal training career? Sign up at Airtasker and find a job today!

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FAQs on becoming a personal trainer

This depends on which certification you signed up for! For example, if you signed up to get certified at the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), they typically run for at least 15 weeks.

To become a personal trainer, you must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and hold a CPR/AED certification with a live skills check. Check with your certifying organization for any other requirements needed.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certification exam is more complicated than other personal training certifications. That said, it’s also one of the most well-recognized certifications, so it’s best to prepare and study for this exam.

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