Fitness Worker – Personal Trainer, Fitness Director


  • The most important characteristic that an employer looks for in a new group fitness instructor is the ability to plan and lead a class that is motivating and safe.
  • An increasing number of employers require completion of a 4-year degree in the health or fitness field.
  • CPR certification
  • Personal trainers require additional certification
  • Most group fitness instructors require additional certification
  • A Berea College Bachelors Degree in Physical Education prepares the student for the certifying exams.
  • To retain the certification it must be reevaluated every two years.
  • Life-long learning is required to retain licensure
  • Obtaining a Master’s Degree is useful if an administrative or upper management position is sought.

Median annual earnings of personal trainers and group exercise instructors in May 2004 were $25,470. The middle 50 percent earned between $17,380 and $40,030. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $14,530 while the top 10 percent earned $55,560 or more.

Fitness workers lead, instruct, and motivate individuals or groups in exercise activities, including cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and stretching. They work in commercial and nonprofit health clubs, country clubs, hospitals, universities, yoga and Pilates studios, resorts, and clients’ homes. Increasingly, fitness workers also are found in workplaces, where they organize and direct health and fitness programs for employees of all ages.
Personal trainers work one-on-one with clients either in a gym or in the client’s home. Trainers help clients assess their level of physical fitness and set and reach fitness goals. Trainers also demonstrate various exercises and help clients improve their exercise techniques. Trainers may keep records of their clients’ exercise sessions to assess clients’ progress toward physical fitness.
Fitness directors oversee the fitness-related aspects of a health club or fitness center. Their work involves creating and maintaining programs that meet the needs of the club’s members, including new member orientations, fitness assessments, and workout incentive programs. They also select fitness equipment; coordinate personal training and group exercise programs; hire, train, and supervise fitness staff; and carry out administrative duties.
People planning fitness careers should be outgoing, good at motivating people, and sensitive to the needs of others. Excellent health and physical fitness are important due to the physical nature of the job. Those who wish to be personal trainers in a large commercial fitness center should have strong sales skills.

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Info obtained from: U.S. Department of Labor
This information was collected by Iris Bahr-Winslow, Jennifer Breneman, Allen Brooks, Emily Schneider, Candy Walls, and Ebony Williams.