All about the fitness and health lifestyle
All about the fitness and health lifestyle

How Much do Fitness Trainers Make?

Last Updated:
June 25, 2024

How Much do Fitness Trainers Make?

Fitness trainers are a crucial part of the exercise and wellness industry. After all, they are responsible for customizing safe and effective workout routines for individuals looking to improve their fitness and overall health. A career as a fitness trainer can be very fulfilling and allow you to choose your hours. But, how much do fitness trainers make, and how do you get started?

How much do fitness trainers make?

In the United States the average national wage for a fitness trainer is $27 per hour. However, the geographical location and experience can greatly impact the wage. For example, Washington DC fitness trainers have the highest average hourly wage at $44, whereas North Carolina fitness trainers earn the least at $18 per hour. Other geographical examples include New York, NY where the average is $35 per hour, Los Angeles, CA where the average is $30 per hour and St Louis, MO where the average is $28 per hour.

Additionally, those who are self-employed can often make more than those employed at gyms. Fitness trainers should stay up-to-date with their certifications to secure the best wage. You must also consider the average overall wages in your area, cost of living, and demand when choosing your prices.

Types of fitness trainers

Independent Contractors

A independent fitness trainer can bring in the highest salary, as they set their own hourly rate. Furthermore, if they use their own space or free spaces, they can avoid pay a percentage of their earnings to a gym. An independent fitness trainer has the capability to earn ten times more than those employed at a gym. Further benefits include choosing your own hours and working with clients you connect with. The downside is that you have to handle all advertising, client communication, insurance, and pricing structure yourself.

Commercial Trainer

Many fitness trainers begin their career working at a gym, or other commercial fitness center. Fitness trainers employed at a gym will typically earn minimum wage with a healthy commission for each individual training session. Commissions can vary from 30% to 60% depending on the trainers experience, certifications and popularity. Benefits of being employed as a fitness trainer include less responsibility for insurance, steady client traffic, and financial stability. However, you will have little to no control over your schedule, or client list.

How to increase your wage as a fitness trainer

Use these strategies to bring in more income, and solidify your presence within the community.


Having a professional certification will improve your hourly wage while showing clients you have the expertise they expect. The most common certifications include the American Council of Exercise Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and the American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer credentials.

Online Marketing

Having your services online is the best way to increase your clientele and showcase your skills. Set up a website and social media account to draw in new clients. Social proof on social media is also a great way to impress potential clients.

Auto-Payment Systems

Make sure that you have an auto-payment system set up for your clients. This not only ensures that you get paid, but can make taxes much easier. Additionally, auto-payment decreases cancellations while maintaining cash flow into your business.

Offer Group Sessions

Not all potential clients will be able to afford one-on-one services. Offering group classes allows you to charge a smaller fee to draw in clients. Once they attend several sessions they wil see the benefit and may consider signing up for occasional one-on-one sessions.

Offer Specialized Services

Consider getting certification in nutrition to further your skillset. This will allow you to offer clients a well-rounded approach to their fitness and weightloss goals.

So, how much do fitness trainers make? Well, this will depend on your experience and certifications, however, most fitness trainers can expect to earn a minimum of $27 USD per hour. Remember, fitness trainers are always in demand, and bringing your personality to the role is how you draw in clients. Clients will look for a fitness trainer that they get along with, trust and respect, so make sure to truly showcase yourself as part of your branding.

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