Always loved fitness and had the dream of making a living out of it, but then had others tell you or just assumed yourself it wasn’t feasible? Sitting at home reading this right now and not sure what your next career ambition is? Fact is you could become fully qualified and be operating on a healthy income in less than 6-months. The fitness industry is becoming a leading force when it comes to ticking all the boxes of a career with longevity, enjoyment, and new opportunities.
Many people have always been under the impression that working in the fitness industry as a personal trainer or fitness instructor was a great part time job to gain some experience while studying at University or searching for their dream job. However, they viewed it as a vocation that would never be able to pay the bills long term. Yes, working in a gym as an instructor or trainer part time is a good way to earn some extra cash while focusing on other ambitions, yet what many fail to understand is that these professions can provide a fulltime salary equivalent to that of the average high school teacher in Australia, whom earn $65,389 a year. A fulltime fitness instructor starts with a base salary of $42,000 and can earn up to $90,315, whereas a fully qualified personal trainer has a base salary of $44,636 and can earn up to $123,807.
What makes these professions even more inviting is the ease with which one can become a fully accredited personal trainer or fitness instructor. This is in comparison to countless other certified careers that require at least 4 years worth of dedication, study, and not to mention the accruement of a massive debt that is attached to them.
So how does one kick start their career in the fitness industry? The differences between fitness instructors and personal trainers are described below, along with the requirements necessary to gain accreditation.
Fitness Instructors are involved in group exercise sessions and class delivery, including aerobics, strength sessions, spin classes, yoga, and kickboxing to name but a few. They work in controlled, supervised environments such as gyms and fitness studios. One can earn up to $90,000 a year simply by supervising, training, and motivating others to exercise and get fit, while also having the opportunity to exercise themselves in a fun and safe environment.
how to become a fitness instructor
In order to become a fitness instructor one must complete their Certificate III in Fitness. This course generally takes around 6-12 months for those working full time and studying part time, however can be completed much more quickly if study is the priority. A Certificate III in Fitness is a great way to kick-start a career in fitness and is an essential course for anyone looking to take a forward leap in the fitness industry.
Personal Trainers go one step further than fitness instructors in that they cannot only supervise and deliver group fitness sessions, but also have the extra knowledge to be able to accrue their own clients and design and deliver personalised training programs. Furthermore, personal trainers not only work in gyms to deliver programs, they can start their own business and build up client bases within the community. They even have the opportunity to work in other facilities such as cruise ships, resorts, health and fitness clubs, and mobile training facilities.
In order to really earn the big bucks personal trainers can go one step further by specialising in certain areas, such as strength and conditioning, nutrition, or rehabilitation. This not only gives them a wider range of knowledge and skills to open up a broader client base, but they will be more highly regarded among fellow peers in the fitness industry.
how to become a personal trainer?
The minimum level qualification to become a personal trainer is a Certificate IV in Fitness. This course takes around 6 months to complete, and can be done online and face-to-face, and like the Certificate III can be completed in a quicker time period if the student is motivated and time permits. However, if one wants to go a step further, be recognised above the rest, and gain real respect within the industry a Diploma of Sports Development is the qualification that is recommended. This can lead to not only higher salaries but also a greater level of industry knowledge, which will help both the trainer and clients achieve their goals.
It should also be noted one of the major positives of studying a degree in fitness is that it can be completed at one’s own pace on either a fulltime or part time basis. This means the student can still be working fulltime in another job while gaining the knowledge to complete and work towards their qualifications simultaneously.
where to now?
Although this all sounds quite astounding, are there actually going to be jobs available once one attains their qualification? According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there was a 17% increase in employment in sport and recreation occupations across a recent 5-year period. Further to this the largest number of those employed in sport and physical recreation occupations were fitness instructors at 36%. Take these numbers into account with an aging population, an influx of obesity, and an increase in physical inactivity, and the need for fitness professionals such as personal trainers and fitness instructors is only going to increase further. So buy your ticket now before you miss the train to a wealthy and healthy life.
Positives of a career in fitness
- Can study full time or part time
- Only takes 6-12 months to become fully qualified and established in the workforce
- Salaries are equivalent to many professional vocations
- There is a growing need for fitness professionals
- Work in a fun and enjoyable environment
- Opportunity to help others achieve their goals
- It’s a healthy working lifestyle
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012). 4148.0 – Employment in Sport and Recreation, Australia, August 2011. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4148.0
PayScale (2018). Personal Trainer Salary. Retrieved from
PayScale (2018). High School Teacher Salary. Retrieved from