If you do a quick search on Google, you’ll likely find that the average salary for a personal trainer is about $52k per year. While that sounds pretty decent for a job that doesn’t require a college degree, there’s a lot to unpack with this somewhat misleading statistic.
For one, the specifics of individual personal trainers are all over the board. Some work 20 hours per week and others work 40. Some trainers work in a big box gym and others train out of an independent gym. Some trainers have 10 years of experience under their belt and some only have 2.
And, if that doesn’t make it complicated enough, the average does little to help explain the vast spectrum of personal training income ($0-$100k+) and the skills or time needed to accomplish those varying levels of income. So, it can be hard to know how much money you can actually make or the amount of work and time you’ll likely need to put in to get there.
Instead, the income of a personal trainer should be viewed as a ladder where you can go as high as you’d like as long as you are willing to climb. But first, you’ve got to understand that each rung of the ladder is a different income bracket that requires different levels of effort and success.
Want to get a better understanding of what you can realistically make as a trainer and what it takes for you to get there?
Read on to learn the hallmarks of each personal training income bracket and what it requires so you can align your expectations and identify what looks to be an ideal destination for your career.
Making $20k – $30k Per Year
This is quite possibly the most pivotal time for personal trainers and is often experienced within the first 2 years of one’s career. While this may not seem like a large amount of money, there are a lot of factors to consider here such as inexperience and part-time opportunities.
- Time it takes – 12-24 months
- 20-30 hours/week commitment for newer trainers
- Likely working in a health club
- Primary goal is building a consistent book of clients
- More experienced part-time trainers can make this money in 10-15 hours
Making $40k – $50k Per Year
Probably the first “made it” moment for many trainers, this income bracket is where it’s common to feel like you have a strong footing. Taking 3-5 years for most to arrive, business tends to become more consistent and trainers tend to become more comfortable in their abilities and with their pay. Training sessions delivered per week stay consistent or drop just a little, but pay for each session is often increased by raising prices or becoming an independent trainer.
- Time it takes – 3-5 years
- 25-35 hours/week of in-person sessions plus business planning time
- Working in a health club or becoming an independent trainer
- Business is more consistent and taking on fewer clients
- Potentially implemented new ways to make more per hour
Making $60k-$80k Per Year
This income bracket is where trainers are officially making more than the national average and their skills demonstrate it. The time to reach this point is often 5-8 years and it’s unlikely for someone to get there faster since there are many skills to acquire. This is the point where strategic building of your business is necessary and it’s often not very challenging to find new clients. Instead, you’ll likely add new services for clients and be charging top dollar because you are bringing immense value in your coaching.
- Time it takes – 5-8 years
- 30-40 hours/week of in-person sessions
- Top tier in a health club or an independent trainer
- Business is booming and strategic planning is necessary
- Likely charging top dollar per session and incorporating other services
Making $100k+ Per Year
Often seen as the ideal target as a personal trainer, making $100k per year or more is reserved for the small percentage of trainers willing to put in a decade or more of effort to honing their craft. While this is possible to reach training clients exclusively, it’s quite likely that most trainers that reach this income level have multiple services or strategies at play in their business.
For many, this is a very exciting time because it opens up other possibilities such as opening a facility, offering services such as online training, or creating a new business model of working with clients that creates maximum revenue with reduced hours.
- Time it takes – 10+ years
- 30-40 hours/week of in-person sessions plus business planning/building time
- Independent trainer, business owner, entrepreneur
- Business is consistently stellar and the new challenge faced is helping more people with limited time
- Charging top of the market training rates and diversifying business offerings to leverage time and income
The average salary of personal trainers across the United States is quite misleading and doesn’t really offer any context to explain the possibilities for personal trainers. With multiple income brackets spanning from $20k/year to $100k/year, there’s a lot of potential. However, there’s also a lot of awareness needed to properly understand the steps, sacrifices, and skills needed to achieve what an individual deems financial success.
Have questions about your career or interested in becoming a personal trainer and fast-tracking your path to success? Click here to book a call with an advisor to discover your options and get a sense of what’s possible.