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How Much Does a Personal Trainer Make a Year?

By Emily Greenhill Pierce · February 05, 2024 · 6 minute read

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How Much Does a Personal Trainer Make a Year?

A personal trainer earns an average of $67,012 a year, according to the latest data from Salary.com. However, salaries typically fall somewhere between $48,347 and $82,320.

How much you can make as a personal trainer depends on several factors, including where you live, who you work for, your training experience, and your areas of expertise. Let’s unpack this.

What Are Personal Trainers?

A personal trainer develops customized exercise programs for clients based on individual skill levels, health goals, physical limitations, and other considerations. These professionals work with clients of all ages and skill levels to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance; complete workouts safely and without injury; support them on their weight loss journey; and more.

Trainers are often paid hourly, but they may earn a yearly salary if they work for a gym or high-end client. How much money a personal trainer makes depends on the range of services and level of attention they provide — in general, the more, the better.

It also helps if you have good people skills, as you’ll be working closely with clients. (Not much of a people person? You may want to look into jobs for introverts instead.)


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How Much Do Starting Personal Trainers Make an Hour?

The average entry-level wage for a personal trainer in the United States is $29 per hour, or $61,104 a year, according to ZipRecruiter. But depending on a host of factors, personal trainers can earn anywhere from $11.06 to $51.92 an hour.

So is it possible to make $100,000 a year or more as a personal trainer? Short answer: yes. A six-figure income may be attainable once you gain enough experience and establish a steady client base. But keep in mind that those things often take time to develop.

Recommended: What Is Competitive Pay?

What Is a Personal Trainer’s Yearly Salary by State?

Location can play a major factor in a personal trainer’s income. A professional who’s established in their career may earn an average of $67,012, but as the chart below shows, take-home pay can vary significantly from state to state.


The Average Personal Trainer Salary by State

State

Median Salary for a Personal Trainer

Alabama $53,023
Alaska $59,756
Arizona $54,514
Arkansas $45,525
California $61,037
Colorado $57,837
Connecticut $53,361
Delaware $66,789
Florida $43,714
Georgia $49,394
Hawaii $57,813
Idaho $58,505
Illinois $53,350
Indiana $55,666
Iowa $53,072
Kansas $49,804
Kentucky $47,885
Louisiana $48,567
Maine $59,455
Maryland $64,637
Massachusetts $60,291
Michigan $47,929
Minnesota $55,627
Mississippi $52,898
Missouri $51,521
Montana $53,693
Nebraska $63,126
Nevada $56,502
New Hampshire $57,587
New Jersey $58,470
New Mexico $55,489
New York $64,556
North Carolina $49,937
North Dakota $58,914
Ohio $54,118
Oklahoma $61,134
Oregon $58,939
Pennsylvania $59,132
Rhode Island $54,591
South Carolina $50,988
South Dakota $55,680
Tennessee $51,669
Texas $58,217
Utah $51,630
Vermont $63,225
Virginia $65,639
Washington $71,304
West Virginia $45,668
Wisconsin $57,762
Wyoming $56,523

Source: ZipRecruiter

Recommended: The Highest-Paying Jobs in Every State

Personal Trainer Job Considerations for Pay and Benefits

When you’re just starting out as a personal trainer, there are many factors that may influence the direction of your career. For instance, working at an established commercial gym can offer an opportunity to gain experience, build up a client network, and receive job benefits.

If you’re more of a self-starter and prefer a degree of independence, working as a self-employed personal trainer might be the better fit. You’ll have the ability to set your own hours and hourly rate; however, you’ll also have to pay for health benefits and set money aside for retirement.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when starting a career as a personal trainer:

•   How many hours are you willing to work?

•   Would you rather work for someone else or be your own boss?

•   Do you need health insurance benefits?

•   Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?

•   What type of clients do you want (ex. senior citizens, athletes)?

•   Are you willing to commute or relocate?

•   What additional certifications might you need?

•   What are your financial goals?

Establish what you need to earn as a personal trainer in order to cover your expenses and maintain the lifestyle you want. It can help to sit down and create a budget.

As your personal trainer career gets going, you can lean on financial tools like a money tracker app to help you monitor your spending and saving.

Tips to Increase a Personal Trainer’s Salary

Clients can come and go for a number of reasons, but there are some things you can do as a personal trainer to keep the ones you have and attract new ones. Here are some strategies to consider:

•   Listen to your clients, and be willing to adapt to their needs.

•   Sharpen your motivational skills. Pay attention to other successful trainers and how they inspire their clients.

•   Be empathetic. Many clients may struggle during their workouts, both physically and psychologically. Empathy can go a long way in maintaining healthy client relations.

•   Go where you’re needed. Investigate niches where your expertise can be of use, be it an elderly care center, health center, or a new neighborhood gym.

•   Network and market yourself. Chat up members at your gym and discuss their fitness goals. You can also promote your own fitness journey and methods on social media.

•   Earn new certifications. Get certified in CPR, yoga, Pilates, and nutrition. The more you know, the more in-demand you may be.

Pros and Cons of Being a Personal Trainer

As with any job, there are pluses and minuses to working as a personal trainer. Here are some of the benefits and challenges of the field:

Pros:

•   Flexible hours. You can often schedule clients when you want to.

•   Professional control. You’re able to build up your business through marketing and networking, adding clients as you raise your earning goals.

•   Staying physically fit. You’ll have to practice what you preach. Staying in shape is a job requirement.

•   Personal satisfaction, especially when you help a client meet their goals.

Cons:

•   Fluctuating income/job security. There’s no way to predict how many clients you may have month-to-month or year-to-year.

•   Lack of benefits. Many personal trainers work for themselves and have to pay for their own health and dental insurance, plus save for retirement.

•   Nontraditional work hours. Although you have the ability to make your own schedule, most of your working clients will likely request early morning, evening, or weekend sessions.

•   Shorter career lifespan. Even the most in-shape trainer ages, and there may come a day where you struggle to physically keep up with your clients.



💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

The Takeaway

A personal trainer’s salary can rise and fall with the ebb and flow of clients, but there is also no limit to the amount of money you can make. Whether you are working with a few dedicated clients or creating your own global fitness brand, being a personal trainer can be a great way to earn a salary while keeping yourself and your finance goals in shape.

FAQ

What is the highest paying personal trainer job?

Personal trainers to wealthy clients and celebrities typically command lucrative salaries. The most popular fitness influencers on TikTok and Instagram, for example, can make over $1 million a year.

Do personal trainers make $100k a year?

A well-established personal trainer can make $100,000 a year with experience, marketing savvy, good time management skills, and a loyal client base.

How much do personal trainers make starting out?

The average starting wage for a personal trainer in the United States is $29 per hour, or $61,104 a year.


Photo credit: iStock/Drazen Zigic

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