Are You Cut Out for a Career as a Personal Fitness Trainer?

fitness trainer career
Doctors and insurers are encouraging clients to increase fitness to prevent disease.

There’s more than one type of personal fitness trainer, and it’s a career path that could appeal to any number of personality types. Most people think of personal fitness trainers as working in commercial gyms or working with clients in their home gyms, but there are actually many different career settings where a fitness trainer may work.

Fitness trainers have a world of options as far as work settings.

A fitness trainer generally instructs, leads, and motivates individuals or groups of people in fitness activity, which might include strength training, cardio exercise, and stretching. Clients may be of any age or fitness level. According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2012, fitness trainers had a median annual income of $31,720. The employment outlook for fitness trainers is positive, with expected 13% growth from 2012 to 2022.

What Type Person Is Suited for a Career as a Personal Fitness Trainer?

Personal fitness trainers are people who want to have a positive impact on individual lives, and who want to see the results of their work as clients reach their goals. The typical personal fitness trainer is a “people person” with a friendly personality, someone with good communication skills, someone who is willing to continue learning about trends in fitness, and who has good organizational skills. Flexibility is important too, because clients differ, as do work settings, and a personal fitness trainer must be ready to adapt.

Where, Other Than Gyms, Do Personal Fitness Trainers Work?

Gyms aren’t the only work settings where you’ll find personal fitness trainers. Today, you can find them in places like high-end condominium developments that have their own fitness center (and plenty of individual clients). Fitness trainers in corporate offices are increasingly common, as employers realize the benefits of having healthy, active employees who are more productive and take fewer sick days. Fitness retreats at spas are becoming more popular, and some of these are located in beautiful and exotic locations. And cruise ships often hire personal fitness trainers to help cruise guests stay active while they’re at sea.

How to Become a Fitness Trainer?

One of the most practical ways of becoming a fitness instructor is by enrolling in an educational program designed specifically for fitness trainers. Fields of study include nutrition, weight loss, corrective exercise, anatomy and exercise physiology. Additionally, courses in fitness assessment and business practices are useful, especially for those who want to go into business for themselves. Top educational programs for personal fitness trainers generally include hands-on learning, and require students to complete externships at accredited fitness centers.

Increasing Emphasis on Preventative Healthcare

Increasing media focus on health and fitness has increased demand for personal fitness trainers as more people become aware of the many ways physical fitness can prevent illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. While many people hire personal fitness trainers to help them lose weight, many others simply want to improve their energy levels and quality of life by improving their cardiac and muscular fitness. Employers, insurers, and healthcare providers have all increased emphasis on the importance of physical activity for their employees, customers, and patients.

Niche Wellness Programs Increasingly Popular

It isn’t just marathon runners and wealthy people who don’t have time for scheduled exercise classes who enlist the services of personal fitness trainers. Today there are any number of niche fitness programs, such as those for pregnant women, new mothers, and older people. And of course there will always be plenty of young adults who want to maintain the fitness levels they had in school or college after entering the corporate world. Perhaps you’ll think of another niche demographic to whom you could market your services as a fitness trainer.


Southern California Health Institute (SOCHi) offers a program in personal fitness training that includes a well-rounded curriculum covering fitness, nutrition, anatomy, physiology, and also business and leadership skills. Additionally, SOCHi offers hands-on learning in the on-site fitness studio. f you would like to know more, please explore our programs page, or contact us. We would be happy to answer your questions.


Learn More at Southern California Health Institute Newsroom

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