How Much Do Personal Trainers Make in 2021?

By Indeed Editorial Team

October 26, 2021

a personal trainer helps a client lift a barbell over their head

Personal trainers play an important role in the fitness industry and are responsible for designing safe and successful exercise programs for individuals looking to improve their physical fitness and overall health. A career as a personal trainer can offer many benefits, including schedule flexibility and a customizable income.

In this article, we discuss the average salary of personal trainers, the different kinds of personal trainers, the factors that affect their salaries and the profession’s projected job outlook.

Read more: Learn About Being a Personal Trainer

Average salary of personal trainers

The average national salary for a personal trainer is $22.22 per hour or about $35,957 a year. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link provided.

The geographical location of a personal trainer can impact their annual salary. For example, personal trainers who work in San Francisco make an average annual salary of $58,386, while personal trainers in Minneapolis make $40,221 per year.

Additionally, the amount of experience level and the certifications they hold can influence how much a personal trainer makes. The more certifications and experience a trainer holds, the higher their salary is likely to be.

Related: 12 Tips for How To Be a Successful Personal Trainer

Types of personal trainers and their earning potential

A primary influence on how much a personal trainer makes is whether they work as an independent contractor or for a commercial company.

Independent contractors

Working as an independent contractor can often bring in the highest salary for personal trainers. This is because independent personal trainers can set their own hourly rates and do not have to pay a percentage of their rate to a gym or company. According to the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), independent personal trainers can make as much as 10 times more than personal trainers who work for a company or organization. Independent personal trainers can work for individuals as a private personal trainer or as a contractor for a gym or organization.

Benefits of working as an independent contractor include:

  • Increased earning potential

  • Schedule flexibility

  • Ability to work in a more intimate environment

Commercial personal trainers

Many personal trainers begin their careers by working for a commercial gym, fitness center or program. Personal trainers who work for gyms typically make around minimum wage and earn a commission for client personal training sessions on top of that. The average commission that a personal trainer working in a commercial gym may earn is typically between 30% and 60%. However, a trainer's education, experience and certifications can influence their commission.

Benefits of working as a commercial personal trainer include:

  • Less responsibility for insurance, paperwork and taxes

  • More financial stability

  • More client traffic

Related: How To Start an In-Home Personal Training Business (With Steps)

How to earn more as a personal trainer

The following are tactics you can implement to bring in more income as a personal trainer:

1. Obtain certifications

Earning a professional certification will likely increase your earning potential and set you apart from other personal trainers in your area. Common certifications that a personal trainer may pursue include the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer credential, the American Council of Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer certification and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer credential.

2. Use online marketing methods

Nearly everyone turns to the internet to discover products and services these days, and that includes personal training services. Setting up a website and maintaining high-quality social media accounts can help draw in new clients and increase your overall income.

Related: 7 Ways to Market a Small Business

3. Establish auto-payment methods

For clients who have signed up for a membership with you, you can establish an auto-debit or electronic funds transfer program to ensure that payments are made on time each month. This will help maintain a steady flow of cash, as well as encourage memberships and decrease session cancellations.

4. Offer group personal training sessions

Not all potential clients can afford one-on-one personal training sessions, especially if your rates are on the higher side. Offering group training sessions can allow more individuals to afford personal training, as well as increase your overall income by charging multiple individuals for one training session.

Related: Benefits and Types of Personal Training Certifications

Personal training job outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for fitness trainers and instructors are projected to grow 39% from 2020 to 2030, almost five times faster than the average for all occupations. The job market is expected to add about 69,100 openings for fitness trainers and instructors each year, or 121,700 total openings over the decade.

Much of the projected employment growth in this occupation is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession that began in 2020. The BLS predicts that this job growth is likely to occur early in the decade.

Read more: How to Become a Personal Trainer in 5 Steps

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