Hey everyone, and welcome to PT Pioneer.
This is your ultimate destination when it comes to news, information, and resources on cracking the fitness industry,
I also highly recommend that you take the quiz and find out which strength and conditioning certification is best for your career goals.
What strength and conditioning certification is right for you?
We developed this critical quiz to help you find the best certification for you and your goals.
It’s quick and easy, but it will help you understand which certification best suits your career goals.
Now for a brief intro to this article, we’ll be talking about the strength and conditioning coach’s salary and potential income today.
To get to the heart of it, I’ll be focusing on the following:
- Factors that influence salary
- Strength and conditioning coach salary status in the US
- Online S&C coach jobs and how it stack up
With that said, let’s jump right into it.
Who is a Strength and Conditioning Coach?
This article is part of a series that paves the way to fully understanding a strength and conditioning coaching career.
As such, I’ve already fully covered what a strength and conditioning coach is in a separate article.
However, if this is your first article, let me give you a brief rundown.
A strength and conditioning coach is a fitness expert whose main engagement with clients or athletes is to enhance performance and prevent or rehabilitate injuries.
This is achieved through improving the following:
- flexibility/range of motion
Strength and conditioning coaches often work with competitive athletes, but their methodologies are commonly applied to general population groups.
With this in mind, a Personal Trainer with a background or credentials in S&C can easily translate this knowledge into higher-quality service for their clients.
What Factors Influence Salary
Before we delve into the statistics of a strength and conditioning coach’s income prospects, let’s look at some factors that typically affect salary.
These factors are universal across most professions, but it’s important to see how they influence strength and conditioning coaching.
Location plays a major role when it comes o salary and income.
It is such a significant factor that people frequently migrate or relocate from one location to another to improve their earning prospects within their chosen career path.
I’m sure you’ve heard of or even know of people who’ve moved cities, states, and even entire countries to get a better earning job within their field of expertise.
Sometimes company promotion, which naturally comes with a pay bump, will also require transfer or relocation.
But why does location play such a prominent role in earning?
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons.
The first and obvious subfactor regarding location is the local economy.
How big and stable an economy is directly impacting the prevailing wages for population members.
A local economy with a high GDP, growth rate, and stability will likely mean the local population has a high minimum wage and decent employment benefits.
The local economy isn’t just about how much money is floating around. It also determines what infrastructure is in place to make it easier to set up shop and operate in your chosen field: strength and conditioning coaching.
Infrastructure that contributes to higher income prospects includes:
- Communications and telecoms
- Transport infrastructure
- Utilities and general services (water, power, gas)
Having this infrastructure in a location and functioning well is both an indicator and a catalyst of a strong local economy.
Regarding the local economy, we also have to look at some drawbacks, such as taxation and cost of living.
These also play into your income prospects and the value of what you earn.
How much you earn is one thing, but the expenses you will inevitably incur ultimately determine how much money you make.
Keep that in mind when looking at locations with high-income stats.
It is common for places with high salary statistics to come with a proportionately hefty price tag regarding taxes and cost of living.
Exclusive PTP CPT Offers
|Gold Standard Cert||Most Popular Cert||Best Study Materials
|A Good Option||A Good Option||Best CPT for you?
Population health is a factor that is more significant within the health and fitness field than in many other careers.
It is an industry focused on the health and wellness of individuals, after all.
When we look at population health and how it affects your revenue-generating potential, we’re looking at the size and activity of the strength and conditioning market or the number of people likely to purchase strength and conditioning services.
Population health, in this case, emphasizes two aspects.
The population’s general health and disease prevalence and access to health and fitness services and facilities.
Regarding general health and disease prevalence, the best metrics to look at are metabolic syndrome diseases, focusing on obesity prevalence rates.
Obesity prevalence is a good general indicator of public health since it exposes dietary and physical activity habits which are the main contributors to the state of health.
The higher the disease or obesity prevalence, the smaller the market potential is for health and fitness services.
Your goal with this in mind is to target locations with a common disease and obesity prevalence rate.
Now looking at access to health and fitness infrastructure, we can look at gyms and fitness facilities first.
Having an abundance of fitness facilities means there is a higher likelihood of people engaging with fitness, thus improving your business prospects.
It also means more job opportunities. The more gyms, the more potential employment.
Secondly, let’s look at healthcare.
The access and quality of healthcare in a location inform you of the potential size of the market for your services, which tells you how much you could be earning.
Healthcare quality also improves public health, affecting overall market activity.
The population’s size will determine how many prospective clients you can capture and informs your overall odds of success.
The blogger the local population, the better your odds of doing sustained business or having a stable job, thus better salary prospects.
When looking at population, we must consider size and density.
When looking at size, the bigger, the better, yes?
Well, looking at it in a general sense, that’s the case.
But the population size in a demarcated area like a city or a country doesn’t always signify better prospects.
A geographically large area, for example, might inherently mean a large population, but being in such a large area might mean the population is very dispersed and isolated.
Conversely, a geographically smaller area with the same population would have less separation between population clusters, meaning more immediate access to local goods, services, and activities.
This is where population density comes in and acts as a factor in determining income prospects.
Given this, it’s better to be located in a more densely populated area.
Your qualifications and credentials play a major role in your income potential.
Firstly, the type of credentials you have is essential. Not only must they be relevant, but they must also be current.
Relevant credentials in strength and conditioning include your standard university or college program and accredited certification.
With college-level programs, you’ll want something in the field of sports science or sports medicine, such as:
- Sports medicine
An undergrad or bachelor’s degree will suffice, but to secure top prospects, a master’s degree is recommended.
From there, you would need an S&C cert from an accredited institution.
My top picks would be
When I say your credentials must also be current, I’m referring especially to the accredited certifications.
These often have a two-year validity period, after which you must renew them.
I’ve written a separate article focusing more in-depth on the credentials and qualifications required and recommended for strength and conditioning coaching.
Take a look at that for more info n this topic.
Exclusive PTP CPT Offers
|Gold Standard Cert||Most Popular Cert||Best Study Materials
|A Good Option||A Good Option||Best CPT for you?
3. Years of Experience
Your experience level also influences your income potential, as you would imagine.
Unlike other factors in which you have a significant degree of control over how you implement or acquire them, the only thing you can control about how much experience you have is not quitting.
Experience accrued over time, so staying in the game is the only way to gain more.
Staying in the industry for a long period isn’t all it takes.
The quality of your experience, as determined by your reputation, track record, reviews, and accolades, truly gives your experience quality and quantity.
The reason level of experience gives you additional earning potential is that the more experience you have, the more expert you are in your field.
The more expert you are, the more valuable your services and time can come with a premium.
In a nutshell, experience is all about how much time you spend in the ring and how good that time is.
4. Job Style
Job style comes into play when looking at income prospects.
But what is a job style?
It’s simply the nature of your employment or business to earn an income.
There are three main types of employment.
Those are employment, self-employment, and freelancing/independent contracting.
With employment, you’re working as hired labor for an organization or company full-time or part-time.
This includes having a fixed income and some employment benefits such as a facilitated 401k and medical and dental insurance.
As an employee, you will have little to no overhead expenses and few administrative responsibilities outside your job description.
Being an employee, while beneficial in many ways, also presents the lowest potential income on average.
So overall, being a hired employee will have a generally lower payoff but a much easier, secure, and manageable income experience.
Next is self-employment.
This is essentially the same as employment, with the difference being you are hiring yourself and paying yourself a salary.
You’re also responsible for establishing and setting up the corporate structure of your business, which comes with a lot of admin and expenses.
Ultimately, being your boss through your own company allows you to adjust your earnings to something more agreeable with what you’d want to get paid, with the trade-off being an immense amount of responsibility and operational expenses.
Now we have freelancing.
Freelancing is essentially a compromise between employment and self-employment.
That’s because you don’t own or run a business while you’re your boss.
You’re just hiring your time and labor as and when requested.
This allows you to charge your rates while limiting operational expenses and admin responsibilities.
The tradeoff is that you don’t have a fixed or guaranteed income. While mostly determined by your sales and marketing capabilities, your income potential is also subject to change, leaving a great deal of uncertainty to deal with.
So which is the best job style when it comes to employment?
Well, I would say self-employment.
It offers you the opportunity for a high but stable income while being the owner of your own.
On the same token, being employed by a company can have profoundly better income benefits.
This depends on the size of the company and the position you take up.
For instance, you could be the head S&C coach at a major NFL team.
I can almost guarantee you’d earn a much higher salary in that position than running your own start-up S&C practice.
How Much Does A Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Make in America
Now that we’ve dug into how salary and income are influenced,, let’s look at actual US statistics.
According to a salary.com salary survey, the national average annual salary for strength and conditioning professionals in the USA today is $44,985.
That’s considerably lower than what personal trainers in the US make, which sits at around $62k per year.
In my humble estimation, the reason for this is that strength and conditioning isn’t a very saturated field, and the top earners are fewer and further between than in personal training.
To get a better idea of how S&C salary ranges across America, let’s take a state-by-state look:
|State||State Capital||Average Salary|
|New Mexico||NM||Santa Fe||$41,116|
|Utah||UT||Salt Lake City||$42,620|
This table shows quite a wide distribution of income for athletic trainers across all states.
Alaska, aside from being top of the list alphabetically, it’s also the state posting the highest average annual income for strength and conditioning experts at $50,428 per year.
Bringing up the rear is South Dakota, with an annual average of $38,507 per year for S&C coaches in that area.
Looking at states does provide a good breakdown of income prospects across the country, but another good way to approach it is by looking at what the top major cities pay their S&C coaches.
|Major City||Average Salary|
|San Francisco, CA||$56,231|
|New York, NY||$54,117|
So from this data, San Francisco, California, is the top-earning state for strength and conditioning specialists.
This is at an annual average of $56,231.
And when it comes to the lowest average salary in what’s considered a major city, Miami, Florida, comes last with an average of $43,793.
So what does this tell us?
Aside from indicating which areas are the most lucrative, it also shows us that S&C coaching across the US is not as high earning as some would expect.
This is based on the assumption that S&C coaches tend to work within high-stakes professional sports.
While it is true that strength and conditioning specialists in this realm of practice earn a more than comfortable living, there are not many of those jobs up for grabs.
So how else can you make strength and conditioning a viable income source?
The answer might lie in online training.
Online Strength and Conditioning Coaching
Online Coaching is one of the fastest-growing industries on the planet, with online fitness coaching being one of its prominent manifestations.
As the world’s economies, industries, and markets become increasingly digital, it makes sense for health and fitness to jump.
Strength and conditioning are not excluded from this mass evolution, and that’s where you, as an S&C coach, can turn the tide on your average expected income.
You can scale up your operation as an online coach while drastically limiting your expenses.
That is achieved by online coaching, allowing you to expand your client roster far beyond what your in-person time constraints would allow.
You’re no longer limited by distance or location and can service clients as far afield as in another continent.
The brilliance of online coaching also lies in the way that you can manage your workflow.
Automation, client management software, and scheduling applications take most of the heavy lifting off your hands and instead into your clients’ hands…see what I did there?
Whether you’re a strength and conditioning coach or any other career path in health and fitness, the key to success in today’s economy is to have an online component to your business model.
While an exciting and rewarding career path from a quality of experience level, the job title of Strength and Conditioning coach isn’t the most lucrative financially.
It can be if you get a top spot working with professional athletes as a head strength and conditioning coach, but those opportunities are rare in the grand scheme.
However, with some business savviness and an online presence, you begin to reap income rewards that seem more rewarding.
I hope this article answers your questions regarding the salary and income prospects of a strength and conditioning coach.
If you still have any questions or suggestions, please drop a line in the comment section, and I’ll get right to it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a Division 1 strength and conditioning coach make?
An NCAA coach can make upwards of $500,000 annually, with some nearing the million-dollar mark.
Who is the highest-paid strength and conditioning coach?
According to the NSCA, Chris Doyle, the director of Strength and Conditioning at the University of Iowa football, is the highest-paid S&C specialist earning $800,200 annually.
How much does a strength coach make in the NFL?
The highest-paid NFL football strength and conditioning coaches make salaries ranging from the high five to the mid-six, with outliers on either side.