What is a personal trainer?
This is a specialist who provides a person one-on-one guidance to achieve their fitness goals. They may also work with small groups of clients. The job of personal trainer has been for centuries but the responsibilities have changed over the centuries. They are the professional that people seek out if they want to lose weight and get in shape but are unsure how to do it on their own. A personal trainer will also work with people, who are recovering from an injury, have lost a limb, to become more independent. Some think that a personal trainer and an athletic trainer are the same but they are not. Being an athletic trainer means you are trying to protect athletes from having a sports injury. Being a physical trainer will require you to also be in shape and physically fit because if you are not you will most likely not have a clientele because the client figures if you are not taking care of yourself you will not help them take care of themselves.
Job description of a personal trainer
There are many different duties/jobs that a personal trainer may have to do. It all depends on where they are working and what their client’s goals are that they want to achieve. One of the first things that a personal trainer will need to do when they first meet a client is to test and analyze the physical condition of their client. The next step is designing a workout program that will help their client attain their goals. The last step is once the workout program has been designed it will be the job of the personal train to track the daily progress record of their client and analyze it to make sure it is working and if not, make adjusts.
Other duties/jobs that a personal trainer might do can include:
- Choosing the correct set of exercises for their client
- Demonstrating to the client how to do the exercises correctly so they do not hurt themselves or do it incorrectly when they attempt to do the exercises.
- Explaining to the client what the effects of a particular exercise to the client
- Making sure that the exercise equipment is in good condition and working properly
- Making sure that their client knows how to use the weight and cardiovascular machines and supervising them when their clients when they are using them.
- Motivating the client to achieve the fitness goals that have been set.
- Designing an exercise/rehabilitation program for a client that has suffered from some injury.
- Providing the client with fitness and nutrition tips to their client to help enhance the workout program
- Observing the client during their workout and if they seem to be struggling with any exercise or have trouble breathing you should give them a break to rest and get something healthy to drink.
One important thing to remember is that whether you are working with one or more clients, no matter what the work environment is, is that you are punctual and are there when the client has been scheduled to work on their goals. You should also have a contact list where you can get in touch with your client if you are going to be late or have to reschedule their workout time. You should also allow enough time for your clients and not schedule them back-to-back. You should allow at least 30-60 minutes between clients so you will have time to make sure that the equipment and mats are clean and sterilized. If you have your own personal fitness center you could provide a small snack area where your clients could get some juice and a healthy snack.
How to become a personal trainer?
There are many different paths that you can take to become a personal trainer which include through education programs referred to as post-secondary and certification, which are the two most chosen paths. Although certification is not required to work as a personal trainer but many employers do have policies in place that require any personal trainer they hire to be certified. For freelance/self-employed personal trainers who rely on word-of-mouth and reputation showing you are certified is great way to start getting your business off the ground. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics fitness centers and other organizations that deal with the health and fitness field are starting to require personal trainers to have a bachelor’s degree in fitness or health-focused filed. Sometimes they will allow a professional certification to be substituted for the bachelor’s degree. In most programs the student must have proficiency certification in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) before they can enroll in the program.
Some of the common courses that a student studying to be a personal trainer would have to take include exercise physiology, kinesiology, and nutrition. In some programs the students would also learn rehabilitation techniques that they could use to help their clients recover from an injury and complete fitness assessments.
Some of the areas of study that the students will cover include:
- Therapeutic exercise—this is an introductory course and will teach the students different ways to prepare the body for a workout. They will learn techniques and stretches to warm up their muscles before they start to exercise to prevent injuries. The students will also learn techniques in how to work out damaged soft tissue along with different ways to tape and brace muscles. They will also learn about exercise that will help pregnant women and the elderly
- Strength and conditioning—this is an intermediate course and will teach students how to develop techniques to help young adults and adults’ condition and strengthen their bodies and muscles. They will learn how to teach others the fundamentals of weight conditioning and training. The best exercises for women and men are identified and tried on other students to make sure that they are doing them correctly.
- Personal training—in this advanced course the students will learn how to develop fitness programs for groups and individuals. They will be taught methods for testing and assessing people to see if the program is working and if not create a new one or update the one that is being used.
- Weight management theory—in this course the student will examine how metabolic influences and environmental psychological physiological affect weight gain. They will study and learn long-term weight loss strategies and how to keep the weight off.
- Sports nutrition and fitness—in this course the student will examine the connection between nutrition and fitness and learn to provide nutritional needs to people of all body shapes and ages. They will learn how to make sure that the diet is well balanced and meeting all the client’s dietary needs.
Personal trainers can obtain their certification through several different professional association that are devoted to fitness and other related areas like the American Council on Exercise, the International Sport Sciences Association, or the American College of Sports Medicine. After completing the entire training requirement the professional organization the student has chosen to certify them will set a certification exam date. Once the student has the certification they must complete continuing education requirements every 2 years in order to keep their credentials.
Work environment and schedule
Being a personal trainer can provide you with a wide array of work environments and schedules. You could work in gyms, corporate offices, private homes, rehabilitation centers, hotels, spas, health and fitness clubs, or even open your own training center. The hours that a personal trainer would work depends on where they are working and how many clients they are working with on a daily basis. For most personal trainers they do not work a normal 8-4 or 9-5 schedule. If their client does not get off work until 6 p.m. the personal trainer may stay until 8 p.m. to ensure that client will have a change to work with a personal trainer. If you are self-employed you can pretty much set your own schedule. When working for a spa, hotel, or regular fitness center your hours would depend on what time they open and when they close.
Personal Trainer job growth
Over a period of five and up to ten years, the employment growth rate that is projected for personal trainers is of 8%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The factors that mainly sustain this job growth are due to the aging population and their desire to remain physically fit, the cases of childhood obesity and the dangers that appear, as well as the trend of businesses offering employees fitness programs.
The job prospects are very good with plenty of job stability due to the early mentioned factors. You can also improve your prospects with a high-level education degree. There are many employers that might ask an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. Many personal trainers take classes and gain certification, and some of them even choose to work with another trainer in order to achieve more experience.
Personal trainer salary
There is no fixed income when being a personal trainer as it depends on your specialization if you have one, your work experience, the geographical area where you will be working, the working environment, and certifications. When working in collaboration with a reputable gym or fitness center you may get paid according to the number of fitness sessions you offered or have a fixed payment. You may also in some cases charge the client directly and give the gym or fitness centers a percentage of the fee that you charged the client.
Generally working as a personal trainer you will be paid on an hourly basis or per session. The average annual personal trainer salary is $30,000 but a very experienced personal trainer who has a large clientele following can make an average annual salary of $100,000. Some of the cities with the highest hourly salary of a personal trainer include:
- $16.26-$54.40 in New York, which is the highest hourly rate in the United States
- $16.50-$30.00 in Houston
- $19.44-$25.70 in Los Angeles
- $14.74-$30.25 in Dallas
- $14.12-$20.56 in Phoenix
Some of the hourly personal trainer salaries in different work environments include:
- $12.41-$23.95 working in an university
- $11.57-$22.63 in a health care service or fitness center
The lowest 10% of personal trainers have an average annual salary of $17,630 while the top 10% of personal trainers have an average annual salary of $66,530.
There is also the benefit package you would receive unless you are self-employed and then you would be offering benefits. There may be some gyms, fitness centers, spas, etc who do not offer benefits or limited benefits to their personal trainers because they may just consider them part-time or “paid on commission” employees. Some of the benefits that a personal trainer might receive include paid vacation and sick days, vision and dental care, 401K, pension, social security, life insurance, health insurance, percentage bonus each month based on the personal trainer’s clientele, disability, free membership to the fitness center or gym, etc. One benefit that every personal trainer gets is the benefit of exercising while you are training others.
Personal Trainer Salary in 2016
The medium hourly rate for personal trainers, in the US, for the year 2016 is estimated to reach at $18.67 per hour. The median income for these professionals tends to reach up at around $35,786 per year, according to the salary data survey that is provided by PayScale.
The starting point in the salaries of personal trainers is estimated to usually have a range from $19,983 per year and up to $61,148 per year. The granted bonuses for these specialists tend to reach up at $3,080 while the profit sharing is around $431.02. The commissions that are received are comprised between $302.02 and up to $30,640, this leading in the end at a total payment that ranges from $20,636 per year and up to $85,472 per year.
The vast majority of individuals who work as personal trainers are men rather than women. The factor that influences the most the income of these specialists is the specific employer, followed by the geographical location and the years of experience in the field. The set of skills that affect the personal trainer incomes are various and have different rates. For instance, the best-quoted skill for these professionals that impact their incomes with above the average figures is rehabilitation, followed at close range by nutrition, weight loss or weight management, and the list continues up to sport nutrition.
As mentioned earlier, the level of experience is also important when it comes to a personal trainer salaries. For instance, an entry-level professional with less than five years of practice in the field can expect to gain around $35,010 per year while one individual that has worked for 5 and up to 10 years in the field can expect to take home around $47,010 per year.
An experienced personal trainer with 10 and up to 20 years of work experience in the field can expect to receive around $55,010 per year while a veteran in the field with up to more than 20 years at the working site with plenty of work experience will receive around $60,010 per year. So, as it normally goes, growing experience always yields growing salaries. Thus, the personal trainer career is advantageous.
When it comes to geographical location factor, the salaries tend to vary according to each state and from city to city. The national average that is estimated for personal trainers reaches at $38,699 per year, according to PayScale. Personal trainers can find the best salaries in New York where the median total payment average is estimated at around $64,872 per year. You can also find cushy incomes in regions such as Huston, Seattle, San Diego, Austin and other as well, with earnings that are above the national average.
On the other hand, regions, where the earnings are below the average, can also be found. For instance, in Atlanta, the incomes for personal trainers can be found at a total median payment that gets at around $37,442 per year, while in Indianapolis the estimated incomes of these professionals tend to reach also at a below the average median payment of $30,482 per year.
Personal trainer salary in Canada, Australia and UK
- Australia—the average hourly rate is AU$16.58-AU$60.04. The average salary of a personal trainer can also depend on their location. The highest average annual salary paid to a personal trainer is for one working in New South Wales at AU$20,426-AU$78,297
- Canada—the average hourly rate is C$10.33-C$41.10 but they can also earn an average annual bonus of C$2,007 and an average annual commission of C$1,500-C$10,00
- UK—the average annual salary of a personal trainer is 11,745-30,704 and an average annual bonus of 5,017
Conclusion on personal trainer salary
In today’s society so many people from the blue-collared workers to the suit-wearing corporate bigwigs are becoming more and more concerned about their appearance and heath than ever before so if you are looking for a field with job security and guaranteed success then being a personal trainer will fill the bill. Yes, the hourly rates are not that high and you may be able to earn more working in a factory or working in the business world but if you are a fitness buff and love to work out while training your clients or on your own free time at the fitness center or gym where you are employed. Many look at the personal trainer job as “getting paid for something they love to do” and that is exercising resulting in a toned body.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics there is expected to be an increase of 24% from 2010-2020 due to the demand for personal trainers to help people with injuries become more independent and to help people who are overweight and out-of-shape to become fit so they can live a long happy healthy life.
- First Published Date: 25 September, 2014
- Last Updated Date: 27 August, 2016