Today’s personal trainers are bringing a lot more to the job than near-perfect physiques and the ability to freestyle an inspiring pep-talk. To make it in the filed these days, it takes a real grounding in the scientific principles behind fitness and nutrition. That means that more and more, clients are looking for trainers with some formal education and industry certifications to go with that trademark high-energy, can-do attitude and bottomless passion for training.
With training of their own in areas like exercise science, kinesiology, and nutrition, personal trainers have established themselves as trusted and respected professionals in the field, and their salaries reflect this.
With the gym as their office and their workout gear as their power suit, these overachievers are dedicated employees, successful business owners, trendsetters, and specialists, and their earning power is stronger than ever.
Keep reading to learn more about what personal trainers are earning and where they’re earning the most:
Personal Trainer Salary Info By State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Landing a Job or Becoming Your Own Boss – Trends in Personal Trainer Pay
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average, annual salary for personal trainers was $45,110 ($21.69/hour), as of May 2019, while top earners in the field command no less than $75,400 a year ($36.25/hour),
Working as an Employee of a Fitness Center or Health Club
Your career in personal training will likely begin by working as an employee of a health club or fitness center. You’ll earn a small hourly wage in this setting, along with a commission for each training session. According to the ISSA, most gyms charge about $50 per half-hour/hour session, with personal trainers receiving anywhere from $6-$25 of this fee.
According to the BLS, personal trainers new to the profession earn from $21,110 annually to $26,910 per year ($10.15 – $12.94/hour).
According to PayScale, personal trainers working for some of the largest fitness centers earned the following average hourly wages:
- YMCA: $17/hour
- Anytime Fitness: $15/hour
- LA Fitness: $14/hour
- Planet Fitness: $12/hour
- 24 Hour Fitness: $14/hour
- Fitness Together: $17/hour
- Gold’s Gym: $15/hour
A steady stream of new customers in busy fitness centers and health clubs will provide you with plenty of opportunities to hone your skills, develop a client base, and put that four-year degree to good use. You’ll also likely have the opportunity to work alongside seasoned personal trainers who can help you learn more about the business – a must if you have aspirations of breaking off and working as an independent trainer.
If you work in a larger facility, you’ll may the opportunity to advance to lead trainer, manager, or director and earn a larger hourly wage or salary as a result.
Becoming Your Own Boss
In personal training, the real money comes to those who break away from the traditional employer/employee relationship and establish themselves as independent contractors and business owners.
You can transition to self-employment by working in a private studio where you’ll pay a weekly or monthly rent in exchange for their space and facilities. In this setting, you’ll be responsible for marketing yourself and attracting your own clients, but you’ll enjoy more opportunities to grow your business and increase your earning potential.
Owning your own personal training business may also mean running your own facility or training your clients in their homes or in other settings. You may even land a gig providing on-site personal training services as part of a corporate wellness program.
According to the International Sports Science Association (ISSA), salaries for personal trainers working as independent contractors can be as much as ten times more than personal trainers working as employees. The ISSA also reports that self-employed personal trainers earn between $50 and $100 per session, depending on geographic location.
According to the BLS, top-earning personal trainers (75th-90th percentile) earn a salary that can range from $57,470 – to $75,400 and up ($27.63 – $36.25/hour). PayScale reveals even higher salaries for the top-earning personal trainers (90th percentile), at $51.48 per hour.
A great way to increase your earning potential is by marketing yourself as a specialist a specific population like athletes or older adults, or in a specific area like nutrition, endurance, or resistance training. The industry is home to a plethora of professional certifications through organizations like:
- National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT)
- American Council on Exercise (ACE)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
Holding one or more specialty certifications is an excellent way to boost your credentials and justify charging higher personal training fees.
For example, according to PayScale, personal trainers who come with specialty skills/certification in specific areas increase their earning potential by:
- CrossFit Coaching: 27%
- Rehabilitation: 16%
- Sports Nutrition: 12%
- Nutrition: 6%
- Weight loss/weight management: 3%
Once you’ve developed a solid client base, marketing and positive word of mouth referrals will help you grow your business – and your bottom line.
No surprise here: Seasoned personal trainers naturally earn higher salaries, as they’ve had the opportunity to build their client base and position themselves as experts in their field. According to PayScale, salaries according to experience level include:
- Less than one year: $15.14/hour
- 1-4 years: $17.71/hour
- 5-9 years: $25.06/hour
- 10-19 years: $32.00/hour
- 20+ years: $40.96/hour
State-by-State Guide to What Personal Trainers are Earning
The top-paying states for personal trainers, according to May 2019 BLS stats, include:
- New York: $59,520 ($28.62/hour)
- Massachusetts: $59,350 ($28.53/hour)
- Washington D.C.: $56,670
- Washington: $54,220
- New Jersey: $54,200
Below is a breakdown of what personal trainers are earning in your state (at the 50th and 90th percentiles):
- Alabama: $35,950 ($17.28/hour) – $53,680 ($25.81/hour) (approximately 3,030 personal trainers)
- Alaska: $37,220 ($17.90/hour) – $60,620 ($29.14/hour) (approximately 800 personal trainers)
- Arizona: $41,920 ($20.15/hour) – $65,010 ($31.25/hour) (approximately 6,100 personal trainers)
- Arkansas: $36,830 ($17.71/hour) – $59,080 ($28.40/hour) (approximately 1,280 personal trainers)
- California: $47,990 ($23.07/hour) – $83,010 ($39.91/hour) (approximately 41,460 personal trainers)
- Colorado: $43,980 ($21.14/hour) – $69,020 ($33.18/hour) (approximately 10,180 personal trainers)
- Connecticut: $55,250 ($26.56/hour) – $89,730 ($43.14/hour) (approximately 5,040 personal trainers)
- Delaware: $31,840 ($15.31/hour) – $69,470 ($33.40/hour) (approximately 1,060 personal trainers)
- District of Columbia: $51,450 ($24.74/hour) – $96,650 ($46.47/hour) (approximately 1,330 personal trainers)
- Florida: $37,180 ($17.88/hour) – $61,380 ($29.51/hour) (approximately 16,460 personal trainers)
- Georgia: $39,560 ($19.02/hour) – $68,300 ($32.84/hour) (approximately 6,560 personal trainers)
- Hawaii: $43,310 ($20.82/hour) – $71,730 ($34.49/hour) (approximately 1,170 personal trainers)
- Idaho: $33,690 ($16.20/hour) – $55,940 ($26.90/hour) (approximately 2,130 personal trainers)
- Illinois: $44,100 ($21.20/hour) – $85,470 ($41.09/hour) (approximately 16,870 personal trainers)
- Indiana: $30,660 ($14.74/hour) – $55,790 ($26.82/hour) (approximately 4,750 personal trainers)
- Iowa: $31,070 ($14.94/hour) – $50,550 ($24.30/hour) (approximately 3,650 personal trainers)
- Kansas: $34,020 ($16.36/hour) – $70,150 ($33.73/hour) (approximately 3,260 personal trainers)
- Kentucky: $32,430 ($15.59/hour) – $53,130 ($25.54/hour) (approximately 2,630 personal trainers)
- Louisiana: $35,910 ($17.27/hour) – $62,230 ($29.92/hour) (approximately 2,340 personal trainers)
- Maine: $40,510 ($19.48/hour) – $94,550 ($45.46/hour) (approximately 1,380 personal trainers)
- Maryland: $46,960 ($22.58/hour) – $78,630 ($37.80/hour) (approximately 9,360 personal trainers)
- Massachusetts: $53,290 ($25.62/hour) – $91,370 ($43.93/hour) (approximately 13,560 personal trainers)
- Michigan: $37,080 ($17.83/hour) – $61,450 ($29.54/hour) (approximately 6,730 personal trainers)
- Minnesota: $40,930 ($19.68/hour) – $72,200 ($34.71/hour) (approximately 6,490 personal trainers)
- Mississippi: $31,040 ($14.92/hour) – $57,880 ($27.83/hour) (approximately 1,280 personal trainers)
- Missouri: $26,380 ($12.68/hour) – $60,570 ($29.12/hour) (approximately 4,800 personal trainers)
- Montana: $35,690 ($17.16/hour) – $52,510 ($25.25/hour) (approximately 1,260 personal trainers)
- Nebraska: $30,070 ($14.46/hour) – $ ($25.41/hour) (approximately 2,490 personal trainers)
- Nevada: $42,930 ($20.64/hour) – $72,010 ($34.62/hour) (approximately 3,500 personal trainers)
- New Hampshire: $46,680 ($22.44/hour) – $64,060 ($30.80/hour) (approximately 1,740 personal trainers)
- New Jersey: $55,470 ($26.67/hour) – $84,670 ($40.71/hour) (approximately 10,640 personal trainers)
- New Mexico: $38,880 ($18.69/hour) – $59,380 ($28.55/hour) (approximately 1,340 personal trainers)
- New York: $49,820 ($23.95/hour) – $109,790 ($52.78/hour) (approximately 24,330 personal trainers)
- North Carolina: $34,820 ($16.74/hour) – $61,590 ($29.61/hour) (approximately 8,910 personal trainers)
- North Dakota: $34,080 ($16.38/hour) – $48,950 ($23.54/hour) (approximately 1,460 personal trainers)
- Ohio: $30,640 ($14.73/hour) – $58,130 ($27.95/hour) (approximately 9,920 personal trainers)
- Oklahoma: $37,470 ($18.01/hour) – $58,020 ($27.89/hour) (approximately 2,920 personal trainers)
- Oregon: $42,420 ($20.40/hour) – $66,730 ($32.08/hour) (approximately 4,960 personal trainers)
- Pennsylvania: $31,980 ($15.38/hour) – $62,600 ($30.10/hour) (approximately 13,400 personal trainers)
- Rhode Island: $40,890 ($19.66/hour) – $63,720 ($30.64/hour) (approximately 1,200 personal trainers)
- South Carolina: $36,720 ($17.44/hour) – $54,720 ($26.31/hour) (approximately 3,340 personal trainers)
- South Dakota: $30,020 ($14.43/hour) – $46,470 ($22.34/hour) (approximately 1,270 personal trainers)
- Tennessee $39,410 ($18.95/hour) – $74,880 ($36.00/hour) (approximately 3,360 personal trainers)
- Texas: $36,070 ($17.34/hour) – $64,330 ($30.93/hour) (approximately 21,690 personal trainers)
- Utah: $44,220 ($21.26/hour) – $64,260 ($30.89/hour) (approximately 3,700 personal trainers)
- Vermont: $44,250 ($21.27/hour) – $74,230 ($35.69/hour) (approximately 780 personal trainers)
- Virginia: $41,130 ($19.77/hour) – $69,620 ($33.47/hour) (approximately 12,040 personal trainers)
- Washington: $52,950 ($25.46/hour) – $86,370 ($41.52/hour) (approximately 10,160 personal trainers)
- West Virginia: $31,090 ($14.95/hour) – $48,970 ($23.54/hour) (approximately 580 personal trainers)
- Wisconsin: $31,410 ($15.10/hour) – $54,770 ($26.33/hour) (approximately 6,200 personal trainers)
- Wyoming: $36,140 ($17.37/hour) – $56,880 ($27.35/hour) (approximately 640 personal trainers)
Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which exercise trainers and group fitness instructors work. BLS salary data represents average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.
All salary and employment data accessed August 2020.