While some people consider personal fitness training a luxury, others view it as a necessity. Survey statistics indicate that time-crunched fitness enthusiasts, as well as people with medical needs, are willing to make the required financial sacrifices to afford a personal trainer.
According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor in May 2017, the number of jobs for fitness trainers and instructors is expected to grow 10 percent by 2016 — faster than the average for all professions.
In May 2017, the median annual fitness trainer wage was $39,210, with the top 10 percent earning more than $74,520 and the lowest 10 percent earning less than $19,640.
These statistics are difficult to interpret, because they do not distinguish between group-exercise instructors and personal trainers. Personal trainers, especially those who are self-employed, may be paid at a higher rate.
A May 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey identified New York, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Washington as the top-paying states and districts for fitness trainers. New York, with an average annual mean salary of $60,730, had the highest-paid trainers; but, once again, the survey did not differentiate between personal trainers and group exercise instructors.
The International Dance Exercise Association, or IDEA, also conducts fitness industry salary surveys. The most recent survey, conducted in 2015, reported that most personal trainers were paid by the hour or by the session, with only 7 percent receiving an annual salary. The average hourly rate for personal trainers was $30.50, but rates as low as $7 and as high as $130 were reported.
Of those wage-earners, 62 percent worked as employees, and 28 percent were independent contractors. Thirty-three percent of respondents reported receiving benefits, and 37 percent reported receiving cash perks and/or education fund contributions.
The 2015 IDEA survey revealed that certification, personality, skills and abilities and years of experience were the most important criteria used when hiring personal trainers. When determining pay upon hiring, skills and abilities, years of experience and certification were the most important factors.