Personal Trainer Salary: How Much Do Trainers Make?

When changing or starting a new career, one of the most important aspects to consider is salary. Having a job that you enjoy and are passionate about is one thing, but you also have to be able to support yourself, and – possibly – a family.
The amount of money that a personal trainer earns can vary quite a bit. According to Payscale, the average annual salary of a personal trainer in Canada ranges from $23 802-$59 529. This difference can mean being barely able to scrape by to being able to live a comfortable life.
Several factors can determine your overall earning potential, such as:
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Job location
  • Facility type, and
  • Additional income opportunities.
Education and experience
Personal training is currently an unregulated industry. This means that no formal education or certification is actually required in order to call yourself a personal trainer. However, most gyms and training facilities will require that you obtain some form of certification through a recognized course.
Once a certification is obtained, an entry level personal trainer can expect to earn $14-16 per hour when training clients. You may be able to command more if you have a post-secondary degree in a related field, such as kinesiology.
As you build your clientele, you may be required to “work the floor” to build relationships with gym members and sell personal training sessions. Depending on the individual gym’s policies, this time that you spend may be compensated at a rate equal to minimum wage or nothing at all.
Having more experience and – more importantly – a proven track record of being able to deliver results will also increase your overall income. As you gain more knowledge, you may choose to specialize in a certain area, such as high performance athletics or pre- and post-natal training. Having these specialties and being considered an expert in your area allows you to command more money.
Job location and facility type
Personal training can be seen as a luxury service. With rates that range from $45-$100+ per session, personal training is a relatively large expense that caters to individuals with the means to pay for it. Trainers who live in major cities tend to earn more than their smaller-town counterparts as there is a greater population of affluent individuals who live in urban areas.
Your income can also be dependent on the type of facility that you work at. Most trainers get their start at a commercial gym. The hourly rate is usually on the lower end at these places, but their sales commission structure can be quite lucrative (more on that below).
Smaller, boutique personal training studios generally offer a higher rate, but they usually hire trainers with more experience. If you are expected to find your own clients, this may be more difficult than a commercial gym because you don’t have as many people coming through your doors every day. On the other hand, people who come into a personal training studio are already looking for personal training. This gives you a greater chance at making a sale compared to approaching people who are working out on their own in a gym.
Another option is self-employment. When working for a commercial gym or small studio, you are only getting a small percentage of what your clients are paying per session. When you are self-employed, you get all of it. This does come with additional expenses, but it means you don’t actually have to train as many clients to earn the same amount of money. However, this doesn’t mean that you will be working less, as you will also be in charge of marketing, sales, and any other aspect related to running your own business.
Additional Income Opportunities
Perhaps the most variable aspect of a personal trainer’s salary is any additional income opportunities that a trainer may devote his or her time to. As indicated above, most facilities have some form of bonus structure that rewards trainers who sell more packages or have more client contact hours every month. The most common benefit is earning a small percentage of any personal training or supplement sales as commission.
According to Payscale, factoring in these bonuses raises the average personal trainer salary to $85 687. Your salary can even get much higher than that as there is no limit to the amount of sales you make.
The topic of online training is beyond the scope of this article, but it deserves a mention. Learning how to leverage your personal training skills and applying it to an online platform opens up even more additional income opportunities. You can provide consultation and programming to clients online, write ebooks to sell, or earn money through writing articles in online publications. This also gives you the benefit of more freedom and flexibility as you are not necessarily tied to a specific location or set work hours.
A career that rewards hard work
As you can see, there are a lot of variables that come into play when determining the average salary of a personal trainer. The first year of training can be quite difficult because a lack of regular clientele means that you won’t have a dependable income. This unpredictability is a big factor in the high turnover rate in the personal training industry. However, there is virtually no ceiling on your earning potential.
When it comes to determining your own salary, the single most determining factor is YOU!
It is up to you to gain the knowledge and expertise that comes with being a successful trainer. It is up to you to improve your sales skills to gain more clients. It is up to you how hard you want to work to make more money.
If you work hard and you want to be in control of your own destiny, personal training can be quite a lucrative career.
No more working harder than Tom in the next cubicle over, but earning less simply because he’s been there longer than you have. No more waiting for a promotion in order to get a higher salary.
It’s all in your hands. You decide how much time you put in to educating yourself to make yourself a better trainer. You decide where you want to work to suit your needs. You decide how much more work you put in to gain additional income opportunities. There is no limit to how far you want to go.
Sign up for our free 5 day mini course