Personal Trainer Salaries

personal trainer salary

Personal Trainer Salaries – The Lows, Highs, and Outstanding Averages


Embarking into the field as a personal trainer will soon have you scratching your head wondering about all the claims you hear about personal trainers salaries.

You will hear some people telling you it is the worst possible career to enter because wages are unbelievably low.

The next person talks about a friend who is making an income that makes your eyes grow big.

What is the truth about salaries when you enter a personal trainer career?

The Horror Stories of Personal Trainer Incomes

As you start asking people in the industry about an average personal trainer salary you are going to run into some horror stories of unbelievably bad wages.  You will uncover trainers making under $10/hour for their intensive efforts with clients.  Even in national studies you will find numbers like follows:

  • $9.41/Hour – Study
  • $12.58/Hour – Study

These numbers are not something most people embarking on a course to become a certified personal trainer wish to hear.  You are probably hoping for a much higher salary.

Personal Trainer Salaries

One factor involved in both of these numbers are the facts not all of the trainers are certified and many work in fitness clubs working as aerobics instructors or other class environments, not only as a personal trainer.

The Heroes of Personal Trainer Salaries

The other side of the salary story, when compared with an average sports medicine salary, is the upper tier personal trainers who work with professional athletes, celebrities, and corporate executives.  It is not uncommon to find these trainers making salaries well above $100,000/year.

These trainers have usually paid their dues through years of personal training education with clients slowly acquiring higher-end clientele and establishing themselves as authorities.  These salary levels do not happen overnight.

On a more common scale you will see higher end personal trainer salaries as follows:

  • $34.39/Hour – Study
  • $36.51/Hour – Study

As you can now see, the same two studies giving us the extremely low personal trainer salaries also report very high salaries at the upper end.

The figures represent the upper and lower 10 percentile marks in their study.

How Much Does a Personal Trainer Make on Average Across the USA?
Personal Trainer Salaries
This question may be a little more helpful to you.  The median for personal trainers salaries across the USA as reported by is $52,869.

Now this number looks very good but does have on very critical problem.

The figure includes many respondents for general sports medicine salary and careers, also.   This may be skewing the number slightly higher than what you should expect.

The best way to narrow down the reality of personal trainer salaries is to look at figures reported by several of the major accreditation councils for Certified Personal Trainers.

  • American Council of Exercise Certified Personal Trainer – $53,323/Year (25.64/hour)
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer – $44,000/year (21.15/hour)

These numbers are reported on each of the respective certification board’s websites.  These salary figures should give you a good basis to set your expectations within the field, but there is one other option to improve your income dramatically.

Going Out On Your Own for the Highest Income Potential

The highest paid personal trainers in the country are almost always independently employed.  They have built up a clientele of followers who pay them per session.  By having their own business they set their own income potential.

The challenge with going out on your own is building up your list of clientele and maintaining it as clients come and go.  Here are some figures for you to think about if you are considering going out on your own:

  • 30 client sessions per week at $35/session – $54,600/Year
  • 30 client sessions per week at $55/session – $85,800/Year
  • 30 client sessions per week at $75/session – $117,000/Year

These figures are based upon working 52 weeks per year.  Remember to adjust according to your desires for time off.

Working on your own presents an offsetting challenge, you will be responsible for all of the scheduling, taxes, accounting, and insurance costs.  The potential is much greater but so are the responsibilities.  Consider all of the factors before choosing the right path for you.

Personal Trainer Expenses

The Real Magic behind Personal Trainer Salaries

There are three factors which determine the level of personal trainer salaries above all other factors.  Your drive, motivation, and ability to communicate effectively are the 3 factors which can multiply your income to the stars.

If you can motivate people to take action and change through your leadership your value increases rapidly.  Clients will be happy to pay higher rates for your expertise, enthusiasm, and drive.  You are the real magic behind setting your own upper limits as a personal trainer.