Group Fitness Instructor Salary - How Much Can You Make In 2023?

Hey Everyone, and welcome to PT Pioneer.

If you’re new here, this is the best place to learn how to excel in professional fitness. 

I provide top-tier, definitive insight on the ins and outs of working as a successful health and fitness professional.

This article is your one-stop guide to understanding income and salary statistics in group fitness.

I’ll be hitting on a few key topics, such as:

  • What a group fitness instructor is
  • Factors that influence group exercise instructor salary
  • Salary statistics of group instructors in the US

Before we go all in, make sure to take this quiz. 

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It will help you understand which certification is the best for you once you’ve decided to pursue a fitness career.

And with that out of the way.

Group Fitness Instructor Salary

Introduction

What is a Group Fitness Instructor?

So right out of the gate, you need to know what the job description is, of course.

In the case of a group fitness instructor, and fitness instructor or coach delivers training instruction on a mass scale.

That means you are training two or more individuals at a time.

I detail the job description, role, and scope of practice in this article.

This article is all about the salary, of course, so despite how diversely group fitness instruction can be applied, your goal is to find the right format to optimize your income potential.

Finding the right training format is just one factor that influences your salary as a group coach.

What Factors Influence Group Fitness Instructor Salary

The first thing we need to understand is the average expected salary when it comes to what factors influence your success and income as a group.

Group fitness instructors in the US earn an average of $42,401 per year, much lower than the $62,288 per year personal trainers earn, according to salary.com. 

Things change when we look at the upper percentile, with the 90th percentile (top 10%) earning an average of $74,688, a comfortable income for most.

When we break down earnings to an hourly rate, we see that group fitness instructors earn around $19/hour based on statistics by the Bureau of Labour Statistics.

This depends on which gym you work for and whether they pay you by the hour or a monthly fixed salary.

These factors vary from place to place, so to get a more general idea of how you can shift income potential in your favor, let’s look at some of the main factors at play.

1. Location

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Location is the biggest determining factor when considering what generally influences income potential.

Many people worldwide will migrate from their current location specifically to earn better in their chosen field.

Within location are a few sub-factors contributing to the overall earnings you can expect.

From my expert understanding, I’ve isolated three of the most prominent, those being the local economy, the health of the population, and the population size.

Local Economy

The local economy directly impacts what you can expect in any career field.

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The economy’s strength is pivotal when working as a group fitness instructor.

That’s because services such as health and fitness typically rank lower in priority with weaker economies.

For example, when taking a model like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, health, and fitness are still considered aspirational expenses, even though we can argue for their importance for a normal life.

Because of this, the strength of the local economy means a career in fitness; in this case, group fitness is particularly sensitive.

Using the same approach, we agree that affluent communities from the upper-middle class and beyond are almost obsessed with health and fitness services.

The sort of economies that support a large middle and upper-middle-class society are the sorts of economies that will be open for you to do business in.

Population Health

Unlike the local economy, the next important factor, which is very specific to the health and fitness industry, is population health.

Population health is a statistical indication of the health status of the general population based on disease reports and access to healthcare and fitness facilities.

Aspects such as obesity rates and diabetes are considered, as well as the state of the local healthcare system and the size of the local health and fitness industry.

The size of the local fitness industry also indicates how many potential job opportunities you can access.

So how does population health factor in?

Well, a healthy population can indicate that the general masses invest in their health to maintain it.

Part of that investment is likely towards the health and fitness industry, which includes group fitness.

An unhealthy population would indicate the inverse in most cases.

Population Size

Population size determines market size.

The more people in a location, the more you’ll potentially do business with; it’s that simple.

With all things regarding population health and the local economy considered, the size of the population plays an important role.

This, however, isn’t just based on sheer numbers; that’s because population density also needs to be considered.

Population density measures the number of people per unit of physical area.

A densely populated area will present great opportunities because the more people there are packed into one given amount of space, the more potential to convert them into clients.

A location with a large but sparsely distributed population may sometimes present less potential than one with a smaller but densely packed population.

2. Credentials

Your credentials are your ticket into most industries.

The general trend is that the more credentials you have, the higher their level, and the more access you’ll have to better-paying job opportunities.

Let’s compare a fitness professional with a certification in personal training to one with a bachelor’s degree. You’ll find that the trainer with a degree stands a better chance of earning more on average.

According to salary.com, however, trainers with degrees don’t fare significantly better than those without degrees.

I can chalk it up to the possibility that trainers who have completed university or college programs usually find themselves involved with higher positions within the fitness world instead of just operating as group fitness instructors.

For instance, while the average annual income is around $42k for group fitness instructors, the figure drops to around $41k for those with degrees.

This would suggest that a degree offers much more lucrative career paths than group fitness instruction.

One area which does have an expected influence on income is the level of experience.

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3. Level of Experience

Your level of experience, unlike location and education, is not something you can readily determine.

You must go through the process and allow time to build on your career.

The more experience you are, the more you will learn and hone your skills, adding value to your services.

Having significant job experience also allows you to build a reputation you can capitalize on increasingly as time passes.

According to statistics by salary.com, an experience level of 3-4 years will see the average income of group fitness instructors bumps up to $43,662.

That’s an increase of over $1,000 from the standard national average.

With more experience, the growth in the income curve remains more or less proportionate.

This is shown by the fact that at 20 years of experiencegroup fitness instructors in America earn an annual average of $48,707, just over $6,000 more than the national average.

If we do the math, an increase in income of $1,200 every four years leads to an average income of $48k after 20 years.

How Much Does A Group Fitness Instructor  Make in America

By now, you know that a group fitness instructor in the US earns an average of $42,401 per year.

Now, if we go back and consider location, it’s a good idea to break the salary stats down on a per-state basis.

This will allow you to understand better how to optimize your earnings as a group fitness instructor based on which state you reside in or choose to reside in.

StateState CapitalAverage Salary
AlabamaALMontgomery$40,201
AlaskaAKJuneau$47,201
ArizonaAZPhoenix$41,901
ArkansasARLittle Rock$38,601
CaliforniaCASacramento$48,001
ColoradoCODenver$42,901
ConnecticutCTHartford$48,201
DelawareDEDover$45,201
DCDCWashington DC$47,201
FloridaFLTallahassee$41,801
GeorgiaGAAtlanta$42,001
HawaiiHIHonolulu$44,001
IdahoIDBoise$39,501
IllinoisILSpringfield$43,901
IndianaINIndianapolis$39,101
IowaIADes Moines$41,001
KansasKSTopeka$41,601
KentuckyKYFrankfort$38,401
LouisianaLABaton Rouge$42,001
MaineMEAugusta$39,701
MarylandMDAnnapolis$47,201
MassachusettsMABoston$47,801
MichiganMILansing$43,101
MinnesotaMNSt. Paul$45,101
MississippiMSJackson$37,101
MissouriMOJefferson City$41,401
MontanaMTHelena$35,101
NebraskaNELincoln$35,701
NevadaNVCarson City$43,301
New HampshireNHConcord$43,501
New JerseyNJTrenton$48,901
New MexicoNMSanta Fe$39,701
New YorkNYAlbany$51,001
North CarolinaNCRaleigh$38,901
North DakotaNDBismarck$39,801
OhioOHColumbus$42,001
OklahomaOKOklahoma City$38,701
OregonORSalem$43,901
PennsylvaniaPAHarrisburg$45,401
Rhode IslandRIProvidence$44,401
South CarolinaSCColumbia$40,301
South DakotaSDPierre$38,101
TennesseeTNNashville$39,001
TexasTXAustin$42,101
UtahUTSalt Lake City$38,701
VermontVTMontpelier$41,801
VirginiaVARichmond$39,901
WashingtonWAOlympia$45,001
West VirginiaWVCharleston$41,501
WisconsinWIMadison$42,001
WyomingWYCheyenne$41,501

As you can see from this table, the salary stats vary significantly from state to state.

The top 3 states are New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, with annual average salaries of $51,001, $48,901, and $48,201, respectively.

These are the ideal states to work in, as you would assume.

However, income potential is only one piece of the puzzle.

To understand the value of your wages, you need to understand how much you’ll have to part with.

Taxes, business expenses, and the cost of living also change from state to state.

It’s not uncommon for a state with a high income or wage profile to also have a high cost of living.

New York City, NY, is an example of this.

Commonly regarded as one of the most expensive places to live in the world, having the highest average income by state for group fitness instructors will, at best, offset how much you’ll probably end up paying to live there.

Always check what your expenses will be before deciding on a big move.

You might find you’re better off where you already are.

Online Group Fitness Coaching

The fitness world, especially in recent memory, has evolved to include many of its services and delivery methods online.

Online fitness is one of the biggest trends today, with affiliate marketing in fitness growing into a huge industry.

Coupled with that, a smart online presence’s value to your brand is astonishing.

The right blend of great social media presence and good digital strategies has catapulted many to instant fame.

Online group fitness can be tackled in two ways.

The first is having a dedicated platform to deliver monetizable group fitness services.

You can sell sessions online through your website, which you can direct live over video with services such as Skype and Zoom.

The next is to monetize your social media presence. Instagram and Youtube are great ways to achieve this.

Instagram is one of the best platforms for brand collaboration, called influence marketing.

This is when you present yourself as an opinion leader, in this case regarding group fitness training, and use this as a platform to endorse relevant brands, which you’re then paid by.

A similar process happens on Youtube, but added to this, your youtube presence can be monetized by becoming a platform partner.

This is when the quality of your content and the level at which it is engaged is seen as a viable vehicle for Google to run ads on your content.

This results in a great revenue stream from which many have become quite wealthy.

The last great way to make a bank through online fitness is through affiliate marketing, as I previously mentioned.

This is a process whereby you promote a relevant brand’s goods or services through your online platform in return for a commission on any sales generated.

Combining these ventures with a well-running group fitness business is where success lies today.

Conclusion

The group fitness job title is not the highest-earning venture in the fitness world at all, but at the same time, it isn’t meant to be.

Group fitness classes are something I would put in the category of supplemental services.

That means having the practical skills to put it together in addition to your main scope of practice as a fitness professional is great.

I hope this article helped you better understand what a group fitness instructor’s salary could potentially look like.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below, and I’ll get right to it.

FAQ

Do group fitness instructors make good money?

They can, but on average, the earning potential in group fitness is comparatively low when looking at other fitness instruction sectors.

What affects a group fitness instructor’s salary?

Location, qualifications, and level of experience all play a role.

Another influencing factor is what else a trainer is engaged with aside from just being a group instructor.

How do group fitness instructors get paid?

Group instructors get paid an hourly rate or a fixed monthly salary if they are employed part-time or full-time.

If they function as independent freelancers or business owners, they’ll get paid directly by their clients or through a commission earned if they have partnered with an existing business such as a gym.

How much do group fitness instructors make?

Group fitness instructors earn an average of $42,401 per year.

Where do I find group fitness instructor jobs?

By simply reaching out to gyms or fitness facilities.

Many companies will have job openings listed on their websites.

You can also use platforms like Glassdoor, Salary.com, and LinkedIn to search the job market.

Citations

https://www.issaonline.com/blog/index.cfm/2020/how-much-do-group-fitness-instructors-make

https://www.salary.com/tools/salary-calculator/personal-trainer

https://www.salary.com/tools/salary-calculator/group-fitness-instructor

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htm

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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