How much do personal trainers make in the USA?

By Parisa Hashempour

Published 9 December 2019

If you’re trying to decide what to charge as a personal trainer, or you’re just about to launch your PT career and want to know what you’re getting into, you’re in the right place.  In this article, we’ll look at the salaries personal trainers can achieve in the UK, USA and Spain, which should give you a solid idea of what you can expect money-wise in your own career.

We’ll break it down by country, experience and gender, so that you know what to expect and can work towards.

So do the salaries differ greatly between the three countries? Well, yes and no.

Personal trainers working in the UK and the USA often earn similar salaries with slight differences. In Spain, however, personal trainers earn the least when compared with the UK and the USA.

men in gym working out together weight lifting blue shirts

Personal trainers in the USA

The average personal trainer makes $47,700, which is slightly above the median salary in the U.S. in 2019. ZipRecruiter, for example, says the average is $49,000, while the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average for “fitness trainers and instructors” is $42,000. According to a survey of 1,021 personal trainers from August 6th to 13th, 2019, the average respondent said they work with twenty-three clients a week, and charge about $60 per session for individual or group training.

And, as is expected, 51% earn more than $50,000 a year, compared to 17% of those with fewer than five years of training clients. So, the more the experience, the higher the salary.

The median income for women is about 80% that of men

However, these figures are different for women. In the U.S., across all fields, the median income for women is about 80% that of men. But in the fitness industry, our results show female personal trainers earn $37,300 a year, just 70% as much as their male counterparts. Many believe this is due to women beginning their personal training career later than men, and having less experience and therefore, a lesser salary than male personal trainers.

Working out women personal trainer gym

Among trainers who earn more than $50,000 a year, 27% have an NSCA certification, compared to 13% of those who make less. That number rises to 30% for those who earn more than $75,000. If there’s one certification that’s globally recognized within the fitness industry, it’s the NSCA’s CSCS. Because it requires a bachelor’s degree, and just 56% pass the test on their first try, those who earn a CSCS tend to be the most serious about training and coaching.

Highly successful personal trainers can make over £60,000 a year

Personal trainers in the UK

According to PayScale, the average personal trainer salary is £19,346 per year, but this is far from a conclusive figure. Several factors affect your income and could see you earn significantly more. Typical starting salaries for personal trainers who are employed by a gym are around £16,000. With a year or more’s experience, though, they can usually expect to earn between £20,000 and £35,000. This is not a conclusive figure though – highly successful personal trainers can make over £60,000 a year. High-end personal trainers can charge over £1000 for six weeks’ work with just one client.

Woman doing yoga in london on balcony personal trainer salary

However, in the UK salaries depend on the geographical location as well. One-to-one sessions in the wealthier parts of London can easily cost £80 to £100 an hour. In other parts of the UK, £25-£35 an hour is the norm, whereas in more affluent areas you can earn £30-45 an hour. Depending on the area, hours worked and the standard of service, personal trainers based in affluent areas have the potential to earn between £40,000 and £60,000 a year. So, aspiring personal trainers in the UK should consider where they want to start their career as it affects the salary a ton.

In Spain, someone with an experience level of between two and five years is expected to earn 2,538 EUR per month

Personal trainers in Spain

An average personal trainer working in Spain would make around 3,417 EUR per month. As seen in the USA and the UK as well, personal trainer salaries may differ drastically based on experience, skills, gender, or location. Personal Trainer salaries in Spain range between 1,606 EUR per month (minimum salary) to 5,057 EUR per month (maximum salary). As you can see, this is a huge difference. There are many reasons for this, experience levels being the most important determining factor in a personal trainers salary.

Woman squatting with dumbell gym working out

Naturally, the more years of experience the higher your wage, as it is in the UK and USA. A Personal Trainer with less than two years of experience makes approximately 1,848 EUR per month. While someone with experience level between two and five years is expected to earn 2,538 EUR per month, 37% more than someone with less than two year’s experience. Moving forward, an experience level between five and ten years lands a salary of 2,848 EUR per month, 12% more than a person with two to five years of experience and so on.

Unfortunately, gender affects the personal trainer salary in Spain as well – male personal trainer employees in Spain earn 16% more than their female counterparts.

Education level also seems to affect personal trainer salaries. When the education level is Certificate or Diploma, the average salary of a Personal Trainer is 2,331 EUR per month. While someone with a Bachelor’s Degree gets a salary of 3,418 EUR per month, 47% more than someone with a certificate or diploma. Thus, the higher the education, the more the salary. Unfortunately, gender affects the personal trainer salary in Spain as well. Male personal trainer employees in Spain earn 16% more than their female counterparts.

loading barbell weights in gym

If you’ve been thinking about becoming a personal trainer, now is always the best time to start. Complete the coursework and pass the exam, and you’ll be ready to help clients lose weight, build muscle, and achieve their fitness goals. Choose where you want to build your personal training career wisely as different locations yield different results.

To make life easier many personal trainers choose to opt for member management software such as Virtuagym, which offers less administration, more sessions, better coaching, and aids your personal training experience massively overall. You can try it out with the free version of the coaching app.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your personal training career, take advice from those that have made it and read Sweat Equity’s story here.

Parisa Hashempour

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