The growth in the health and fitness job market reflects an increasingly unhealthy general population that needs to get fit. If you're the type of person who loves to work out and help others, a career in this industry might be right up your alley. Your interests will help dictate what line of fitness work you go into, but your education level plays a role, too.
Read more: How to Become a Certified Personal Trainer
Personal trainers provide one-on-one fitness instruction and workout planning for their clients. Standards for personal trainer certifications vary. Certifications by the American College of Sports Medicine and National Strength and Conditioning Association require a high school diploma, CPR with automated electric defibrillator certification, and passing a certification exam.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, personal trainers earned a median of $38,160 per year in 2016, or $18.34 per hour. Typically, a trainers salary will increase with a higher level of education.
Group Fitness Instructor
While personal trainers work with exercisers individually, group fitness instructors teach group classes. These classes may contain individuals from a variety of fitness backgrounds and states of fitness. Examples of group fitness classes include Pilates, yoga, water aerobics and general body conditioning.
Fitness instructors are generally certified in the type of exercise that they teach. For example, step aerobics instructors have formalized training in step exercise, while yoga teachers go through a very different sort of training. The salary for group fitness instructors will be approximately the same as for personal trainers.
Fitness careers also include jobs related to treating and preventing injuries. The American College of Sports Medicine explains that athletic trainers work with teams, athletes and coaches to help keep athletes healthy and recover from injury as quickly as possible.
An undergraduate degree from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is one of the requirements you must meet to take the National Athletic Trainer's Association licensing exam.
Athletic trainers earn around $45,630, according to BLS, for a full-time position. However, athletic trainers who travel with sports teams may be expected to work nights and weekends, and be compensated for that.
Read more: Masters Programs in Exercise Science
If you wish to dive into a medically focused fitness career, consider becoming an exercise physiologist. These professionals look at a person's health history and develops a fitness program that helps to recover from diseases and improve overall health. While some physiologists are self-employed, others work for hospitals or other health care providers.
Exercise physiologists typically need to have a bachelor's degree, though some also have a master's degree. Louisiana is the only state that requires practitioners have a license. The median pay for an exercise physiologists, as of 2016, was $47,340.