25 Careers in Fitness
As the fitness field grows and the wellness industry expands, more people are looking toward the fields of exercise, fitness and sports medicine to make a career. In this article, we talk about fitness careers, why you might choose one and provide details about jobs in the industry.
Why choose a career in fitness?
You might choose a career in fitness if you are interested in working with athletes to keep them functioning at their best or if you're passionate about teaching others about physical fitness. Many jobs in fitness involve helping others learn, grow and lead healthier lifestyles which can be very rewarding. With many career paths available in fitness, you may find one that fits your interests.
25 careers in fitness
Whether they are clinical or non-clinical, all fitness careers share a common trait: They involve improvement or restoration of physical ability or health through exercise and/or nutrition. If you've discovered that your passion is in fitness and this is a field you want to pursue, you might consider these jobs and their respective salaries.
National average salary: $49,029 per year
Primary duties: A bodybuilding coach works with individuals, athletes, sports teams and competitive bodybuilders to help them achieve their fitness and physique goals. Bodybuilding coaches design weightlifting routines using scientific research to ensure maximum effectiveness.
National average salary: $47,941 per year
Primary duties: A dietitian is knowledgeable about the dietary needs of anyone who makes fitness a large part of their lives. They can inform and assist clients in developing meal plans based on their caloric output and recommend vitamins and supplements. Their work helps improve performance and manage weight so their clients can live a healthy lifestyle that supports their fitness goals.
Related: What Is a Dietitian?
National average salary: $35,596 per year
Primary duties: An exercise physiologist handles the analysis of a patient's vital statistics at rest and during activity. They measure heart and breath rate, blood pressure and metabolic rates and overall cardiovascular response to design an optimal fitness plan.
Exercise physiologists administer exercise stress tests to evaluate patient health. They also develop exercise programs to increase a client's overall physical fitness, health, strength, endurance and energy.
National average salary: $66,542 per year
Primary duties: A fitness apparel designer has a wide range of daily responsibilities, such as planning and attending meetings with cross-functional teams, spying market trends, researching, sketching new designs and working out to gain first-hand experience on innovative technological trends for manufacturing fitness clothes. They are responsible for creating prototypes that are useful in solving different requirements regarding their clients' sportswear.
National average salary: $42,167 per year
Primary duties: A fitnessconsultant works directly with individuals or groups to define, achieve and maintain their fitness goals. They evaluate their clients' physical health and abilities in order to prescribe workout regimens and give nutritional advice. They may even help create meal plans and offer guidance to help prevent injuries. Consultants often work with specific populations like athletes, pregnant women, the elderly or people with certain medical conditions.
National average salary: $55,065 per year
Primary duties: A fitness director regulates and manages the large-scale activity of a fitness facility or group of facilities. They typically hire and train managers and other leaders, buy and sell equipment, track performance metrics and report to corporate offices. They work to improve revenue, growth, client satisfaction and member loyalty. They may also contribute to sales and marketing efforts to generate new business for their facility.
National average salary: $114,246 per year
Primary duties: A fitness technology engineer'sfitness technology engineer's main responsibility is to study the problems affecting fitness issues and create practical solutions. It is among the highest paying jobs in fitness because the job duty is to solve real-world situations due to a sedentary lifestyle. The engineers also research how current technologies affect their clients' fitness levels and then issue the recommended solutions.
National average salary: $47,444 per year
Primary duties: A fitness equipment technician repairs and replaces gym equipment. They work on treadmills, exercise bikes, ellipticals and universal weightlifting machines. Fitness equipment technicians can service equipment in gyms, physical therapists' offices, apartment complexes, office buildings or individual homes.
They often disassemble machines, replace parts, check electrical wiring and determine if equipment needs replacing. They also help install new requirements and ensure proper calibration or installation.
National average salary: $52,744 per year
Primary duties: A fitness instructor teaches exercise classes for various age groups. Fitness instructors can teach a variety of fitness activities, including yoga, pilates, aerobics, biking, swimming or running classes. They typically have to perform workouts alongside patrons multiple times a day, which keeps them fit while they work.
Related: What Does a Fitness Instructor Do?
10. Fitness manager
National average salary: $51,084 per year
Primary duties: A fitness manager handles the day-to-day operations and maintenance of a fitness facility such as a private gym, hotel or resort gym or corporate fitness center. Fitness managers hire and train staff and oversee teams of personal trainers.
National average salary: $52,744 per year
Primary duties: A group fitness instructor usually works in a gym to instruct groups of people. They develop fitness programs for classes such as Zumba, yoga and strength training and motivate individuals in the class. Group fitness instructors could also teach different difficulty levels of each class and adjust the programs accordingly.
National average salary: $36,867 per hour
Primary duties: A health coach assesses, evaluates and helps improve their clients' health. Health coaches conduct initial evaluations of an individual's health and make recommendations that encourage the adoption of healthy behaviors and choices. A health coach designs and implements personalized health plans for their clients. They also conduct follow-up meetings with clients to ensure they remain on track and meet their goals.
National average salary: $53,415 per year
Primary duties: A health club manager can be the general manager of a gym or other training facility. They purchase the equipment and keep the establishment running. They are responsible for keeping the gym well-staffed through proper hiring and scheduling. Health club managers usually report directly to the owner of the facility and may be expected to provide income and membership reports to them.
National average salary: $46,552 per year
Primary duties: An injury prevention specialist is an expert in the most effective and safe ways to perform exercises and use gym equipment. With knowledge of exercise physiology, kinesiology and first aid, injury prevention specialists guide patients and clients in the correct usage of equipment like free weights, weightlifting machines, treadmills and exercise bikes to avoid injury and maximize benefits.
National average salary: $47,187 per year
Primary duties: A kinesiologist tests muscles and develops treatment plans to improve their function. They may be able to identify sources of stress, also known as imbalances in structural, chemical and emotional energy, in the body and provide rehabilitation to eliminate them. Kinesiologists can work in a variety of settings, including offices, laboratories, recreation facilities, hospitals, schools, and residential facilities. They work for organizations that develop and implement fitness plans for individuals or that study human movement.
National average salary: $29,071 per year
Primary duties: A lifeguard supervises swimmers and swimming activities at pools, lakes, beaches, ponds and aquatic facilities to ensure the safety of all participants. They enforce safety rules and procedures and assess different water conditions to determine the safety or danger it poses to swimmers. Lifeguards use their knowledge of life-saving techniques like CPR and first aid to prevent injury and spot signs of distress in the water.
Related: How To Become a Lifeguard
National average salary: $50,123 per hour
Primary duties: A sports massage therapist provides rehabilitation to the sore muscles of fitness seekers by offering deep tissue massage. Their work relieves pain, prevents further injury, increases flexibility and eases knots formed by lactic acid.
Related: How To Become a Massage Therapist
National average salary: $297,778 per year
Primary duties: Orthopedic surgeonsOrthopedic surgeons specialize in the tendons, bones, ligaments, muscles and joints of the body and treat sports-related injuries. They operate on musculoskeletal body systems to correct injuries so an athlete can maintain their ability in their sport.
Read more: Learn About Being an Orthopedic Surgeon
19. Personal trainer
National average salary: $36,324 per year
Primary duties: A certified personal trainer is an accredited expert in fitness training and exercise. They use their knowledge and experience to help their clients achieve their health and fitness goals. They assess their client's current physical conditioning and develop exercise and nutrition plans according to specific goals.
Related: How To Become a Personal Trainer
National average salary: $46,1827 per year
Primary duties: A physical education (PE) teacherphysical education (PE) teacher works in a school setting to educate students about the importance of physical fitness and healthy lifestyle choices. Their curriculum can include team sports, exercise activities and competitions. They coach sports teams at the school and develop individual exercise lessons as needed. Physical education teachers also make sure that students understand what teamwork, sportsmanship and cooperation mean.
National average salary: $71,841
Primary duties: A physical therapist assistant aids physical therapists in the direct treatment of patients who are recovering from injuries or surgeries. They help people regain function and movement of their muscles and limbs. They also help patients perform exercises, treat them with massages and help them stick to their care plan. Physical therapy assistants may also clean, prepare equipment, schedule appointments and answer phones in a physical therapy office.
National average salary: $81,979 per year
Primary duties: Physical therapists are experts in the proper movement and function of the human body. They assist their patients in the recovery from diseases, injuries and surgeries. Physical therapists examine patients and understand their case history and rehabilitation goals. They also design and implement treatment plans to help reduce pain, increase joint and muscle health and prevent further injury.
Read more: Learn About Being a Physical Therapist
National average salary: $79,416 per year
Primary duties: A senior fitness instructor handles the overall direction and execution of a facility's fitness program. They oversee junior instructors, design and schedule fitness programs, consult on the acquisition of new fitness equipment and market and advertise on their facility's behalf.
National average salary: $37,556 per year
Primary duties: A sports medicine medical assistant typically works with patients who have fractures, swollen muscles, sprains and strains, dislocations and shin splints. They communicate with the patient about their injuries, prepare them for diagnostic tests, offer wound care assistance and help the head physician with else anything involving the patient and their care.
National average salary: $247,464 per year
Primary duties: Sports medicine physicians provide care to athletes and fitness professionals. In addition to providing basic care, such as yearly checkups, they may also help with injury prevention, nutrition and rehabilitation, as well as prescribe medication as needed. Sports medicine physicians work alongside physical therapists and athletic trainers to provide well-rounded treatment.
Related: What Is a Sports Medicine Physician?
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