If you have been wondering “how much do personal trainers make?” this article will be perfect for you guys! The health and fitness industry has been booming ever since the baby boomer generation realized the necessity to stay fit and healthy. The personal training industry is becoming one of the highest sought after services in America today. Because of this high demand, personal trainer salary and how much personal trainers make, keeps increasing. Over the last 10 years, personal training has had a 24% job growth. According to CNN.com it is ranking number 18 in their list for top jobs in America. If personal training keeps on growing at the same rate that it has been over the last 10 years, there will be an additional 60,000 jobs created over the next decade. This growth is much higher than the average. In my article I will be discussing how much the average full-time as well as part-time trainer will make in 2018. By then you’ll have an excellent idea of what personal trainer salary you can expect to make. Some other great articles to start out on is my huge guide on how to become a personal trainer as well as the best personal trainers certifications!

After you are done with this article you might want to check out two of the top paying certifications in my article that compares NASM vs ACE as well as get an overall timescale on how long it takes to become a trainer. Let’s jump right in!

Personal trainer job growth

The personal trainer job growth is on the rise!

What is the starting salary for a personal trainer?

A starting personal trainer that is just Certified should expect to make approximately $39,000 every year according to ideafit.com. And according to money.cnn the median salary is $56,000. Of course this is not always a clear-cut number and there are multiple factors to consider when calculating this number. The biggest factor by far is your ability to network and how quickly you can build your first client base. It should be relatively easy to build a client base that is large enough to be working full-time. This is especially true if you are working at a large corporate gym that has multiple members. It is also much easier if you have a dedicated sales team for personal training. If you want to learn how to sell your own personal training, check out this article! You will still need to be actively reaching out to friends and family and acquaintances as well as networking with new people you meet around your gym. If you have the ability to gain your clients on top of the clients the sales team hands to you, it will be much easier to reach full-time employment. I use lots of marketing techniques to get more clients if I really need them!

If you have a goal of part-time employment as a personal trainer, you can expect to make between $20,000 and $25,000 pretty quickly. If you have very ambitious goals, you can reasonably envision making $50,000-$100,000 or more. Becoming a successful personal trainer is not that hard as long as you put the work in! These numbers are completely attainable but will take focus and dedication on your part. The reason I built PTpioneer.com was to help individuals like you get started in the personal training industry. I wish I had a site like this when I was starting out. My goal is to help you overcome any hurdles you might come across when starting out in the industry. Let’s talk about the different factors that can affect how much money you can make as a personal trainer.

Factors that can influence your salary as a personal trainer

Some common factors that will influence how much you can make as a personal trainer are: which certification you hold, overall experience, whether or not you are specialized, education level and the location in which you work as a personal trainer. All of these should be taken into consideration if you want to completely dominate in the fitness history. Let’s go over each of these factors one by one.

How your certification can impact your Personal Trainer salary

There are literally dozens of certifications that are on the market right now. One of the main reasons I started ptpioneer.com was to discuss which certifications were the best and which ones to avoid. The same thing that you should avoid is trying to get certified from some online “certifying agency” that only costs $50 and can be taken over the weekend. No legitimate gym will accept the certification like this and there are a lot of scams to watch out for online. Each certification has its pros and cons about it. They all have completely different study materials and curriculum to follow. Although most of them are targeted for people just starting out in the industry, for the most part they each specialize in one way or another. For example ACSM and NASM are more focused on corrective exercise training, where as the NSCA has a stronger focus on reactive training for sports performance, and ACE is very general overall. The type of clients that you train can affect your salary and the type of certifications will affect the type of clients you train. For the most part, you should only accept certifications that are accredited by the NCCA and the DETC. I recommend that you check out my article on the best personal trainer certification for much more information about the top ones as well as what type of training they focus on! For the past few years my favorite two certifications have been ACE and NASM due to their in depth curriculum, helpful study materials and industry recognition! I suggest you check out ACE here and NASM here for more details.


Salary can be affected by your experience

This is one of the more obvious factors that effects how much you can make as a personal trainer. The more practice you have working with in the personal training industry, the better you will get at working with clients and gaining results for them. This increases your value as a trainer significantly. This increase in value that you will provide, will garner you more clients, a raise, or probably both. And the more and more you help clients reach their goals, the word will spread that you are a fantastic personal trainer. If you get the point where demand is extremely high for you, you can ask for more money from your clients and they will be more than willing to pay for your services.

Personal training experience

Being specialized can impact your personal trainer salary

As I talked about above, different certifications specialize in one way or another to target clients with different needs. As in most professions, if you specialize in one area or another, you increase your value for individuals that are in need of your skills. Why would any client hire a personal trainer that is mediocre at most styles of training when they could hire a personal trainer that is an expert at attaining a specific goal that they have. By becoming a specialist in a certain area of personal training, your value increases significantly for clients that need results in an area that you have specialized in. There are tons of different advanced certifications on the market right now. Some good advanced certifications from NASM are: the weight loss specialist or WLS, corrective exercise specialist or CES, Pre-and postnatal exercise, performance enhancement specialist or PES. Some of my favorite specialization certifications from ACE are their health coach certification, their group and instructor certification and their orthopedic exercise certification. Remember that becoming specialized in one or more area greatly increased your value as a personal trainer!

Advanced personal trainer certifications

Where you train can impact your personal trainer salary

Some areas have a higher demand for personal training compared to other areas. Where you live and where you perform personal training can impact how much money you make. In geographical regions where personal training is in high demand are the places you could typically make the most money. Another factor that is location-based is how much money your client earns from their profession. A good example of this is if you live and work in Hollywood California. There’s a much higher chance that you will be training individuals that are much more wealthy compared to other areas of the United States. You could even be working with actors that are looking to get in shape for the movie they are going to star in. These actors are willing to pay a large sum of money to get the results that they need. On the other hand if you reside in a smaller town where the average personal trainer salary is not that high, you might find it difficult to find people willing to pay top dollar for your services.

Where you train can affect salary

Here are the top five cities in the United States with the highest average personal training salary

  • $64,280 in San Francisco California
  • $59,380 in Lowell-Billercia-Chelmsford, Massachusetts
  • $57,830 in Trenton Ewing New Jersey
  • $56,490 in Santa Rosa/Petaluma California
  • $52,080 Vallejo/Fairfield California

How much education you have (especially in a health related field) can impact your Personal Trainer salary

When you are a candidate for employment as a personal trainer, there are multiple factors that your potential employer looks at. If you possess a college degree, it will definitely improve your chances of getting hired. This is especially true if you hold a degree in a health related field. Both commercial as well as local gymnasiums prefer their employees to be well educated. A formal college education will also impact the success you have in obtaining and retaining clients. A very important aspect of obtaining and retaining clients is building a strong rapport. Many of the potential clients you will be inevitably soliciting your services to, most likely have a college degree and thus you will surely be able to build a stronger rapport with them if you hold a degree yourself.

More importantly than the direct financial impact a college education can have on a personal trainer’s salary is the impact an education can have on your capabilities and performance as a personal trainer. Majoring in some health related field will provide you with an extensive scientific foundation that is invaluable to providing exceptional advice and training. You also get hands on practical experience within the labs that you just can’t get from studying a book at home. I truly believe in the learn by doing philosophy. What I have learned while obtaining my B.S. in Kinesiology has been invaluable in allowing me to better help my clients achieve their goals in a safe and effective manner. Don’t get me wrong, I have known dozens of personal trainers that do not have a college education and are excellent personal trainers, but I know if they had obtained a college degree, they would be even stronger and have a larger toolbox of knowledge to provide the best solutions and tactics to help their clients achieve their goals.

Beyond just the micro perspective on how a formal college education will directly impact your reputation personally, I think it is also important to consider the macro perspective. An industry with more college educated professionals will raise the standards of personal trainers overall and consequently increase the validity and authority of the industry as a whole.

Albeit that it is not required, I highly recommend that in addition to getting certified through a well-known certification, you seriously should consider perusing a formal college education in human movement sciences such as exercise science or kinesiology.

Passing the personal training test

Education is very important in building your personal trainer skillset and may affect your personal trainer salary

How much do personal trainers make working for a commercial gym, studio or independently?

The type of gym or studio that you work for is one of the most important factors that can affect your salary as a personal trainer. In general you can make the most amount of money if you work for yourself, the second most by working for a local or private studio and the least amount of money if you work for a commercial gym. Let’s dive into each of these three situations to find out more.

How much do personal trainers make working completely for themselves?

If you can manage to work completely for yourself outside any influence from commercial gyms or using someone else’s equipment, you could make the most money by far. This is also the hardest scenario to get successful at. You will need a location with all the necessary equipment to train and get excellent results for your clients. The three most common places to perform this training is in your own house, and your clients house or renting out a designated area for your sessions. Depending on where you live, renting out a dedicated space for your personal training sessions can be costly. In most locations it will cost upwards of $1000 a month. On top of this monthly payment you also need to buy all the equipment necessary as well as liability insurance for your clients. If you work for a local or commercial gym, most of the time they provide liability insurance for all their personal trainers. Once you are on your own, you will need to purchase your own liability insurance. Most of the time this will run you approximately $200 a year.

One of the most important skills that you will need are networking skills in the ability to be a salesman. If you have both of these skills you can be very profitable working for yourself even with the monthly expense of renting out space, buying equipment and liability insurance. If you can build up to working full-time for yourself you could be making between $50 to $100 an hour or more! The most important reason you will make so much more money is that you will not be splitting your clients money with a salesperson, commercial gym or both. If you are working full-time at this hourly rate you could make between $100,000 and $150,000 every year. This number is before taxes and before subtracting rental space(if you decide to rent space) but it is still a lot of money and extremely profitable. Your personal training salary could be immense!

In home personal training

You can make the most money by working for yourself In your home or outside in a park or at a beach

How much do personal trainers make working at a private studio?

By working for a private studio you could make more money than in a commercial gym that less money than working completely for yourself. You will still need to split a percentage of what your client pays for using the space and equipment. Most of the time this percentage is much less than what corporate gyms charge for using their equipment and space. Most private studios and gyms do not have a dedicated sales team to help boost your clientele. You will need to do more networking and sales in a setting like this. If you are strong at both of these skills you should have no trouble building a full-time schedule for yourself. In a setting like this you can expect to make between $25 and $35 per hour on average. This will add up to be approximately $50,000-$75,000 a year if you are working full-time. Check out my article on personal training marketing in order to get more clients in a small studio!

How much do personal trainers make working for a corporate gymnasium?

Most people that get their first job as a personal trainer end up working at a corporate gym. These gymnasiums are great for introducing you into the world of personal training because they provide you with a ton of the essential tools as well as an abundance of clients. This is a perfect way to get your foot in the door. You will have all of the essential equipment necessary for working with clients and a sales team that will build you up to full-time very quickly. The biggest problem about working for a corporate gym is how much money you end up making per training session. The amount that your client pays you per hour is typically broken down into three categories. The sales person that made the deal with the client gets a certain percentage. The club gets a certain percentage for the use of its equipment and facility. And finally you get the rest of the  percentage of what your client pays per session. Typically this is about one third of the total price or $20(out of the $60 your client pays) for an hour long training session. If you can build up to a full-time position which is approximately 8 hours a day you can expect to make approximately $40,000 every year at a corporate gym. Some corporate gyms allow you to sell your own personal training on top of working with clients. If you can manage a way to get most of your clients yourself, you could be making much more than $40,000. The other one third that goes to the corporate gym for the use of their facility will still be lost though.

Working for a commercial gym

Conclusion on Personal Trainer salary

Well there you have it everybody! You have now learned everything that you need to know what your personal training salary could be. This profession can be extremely profitable if you have the right skills and ambition! Besides being a lucrative career, there are many other benefits to personal training that you will be able to enjoy. You will be able to afford living in extremely healthy lifestyle compared to most other professions where you are sitting most of the day. You are in an environment where everybody encourages healthy eating and exercise! Everyone that you run into on a day-to-day basis has a huge smile on their face. This is because everyone is living a healthy lifestyle and exercising on a regular basis. It is like everyone is high on endorphins, and working in an environment like that is quite a fun experience. The job overall it is extremely low stress as well as extremely flexible. In most cases you run every aspect of your business. Even when working for a corporate gymnasium you will most likely be able to completely set your own schedule to fit your needs. It is hard to compare the benefits of personal training to the typical 9 to 5 job where you’re sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer screen all day. Personal training can be extremely profitable, but in reality it is all the other perks that make it a fantastic job! Now whenever you get asked “How Much do Personal Trainers Make?”, You will have a fantastic answer! If you are looking for a place to get started, I suggest you check out the NASM or ACE website to learn more about these amazing certifications! Leave a comment down below if you have any questions! Now get out there and achieve your goal to get into the personal training industry, and make a kick a** personal trainer salary! Some other articles that you might like if you are just getting started out are my huge guide on how to become a personal trainer as well as the top personal trainer certifications!


Tyler Read has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. Tyler is also a certified personal trainer with NASM, ACE and CSCS. Tyler’s main goal is to help people get started in the personal training industry and to become successful personal trainers. Tyler is the owner of Personal Training Pioneer which helps people get started in the personal training industry and become successful.

Join the PTpioneer Comunity and get the very best workout template to use with your clients!

Make sure to check your email for the link to the free download!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!