Go to main ACSM site
|   Schedule Your Exam   |   Find a Pro   |   FAQs   |   Contact Us
Blog / 2013 / March / Still Strong, Still Growing: Job Prospec...
March 24, 2013

Still Strong, Still Growing: Job Prospects For Fitness Professionals


With two out of three American adults overweight or obese, the need for fitness and wellness professionals is rising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for fitness trainers, instructors and other wellness professionals is expected to grow by 24 percent by 2020, much quicker than other job sectors. The salary a fitness professional can expect depends on each individual's industry-specific career route.ACSM Health and Fitness Summit Session

What Does The Current Fitness Professional Field Look Like?

The Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) recently completed a national compensation survey within the fitness and wellness field. More than 800 health and business leaders completed the survey, a majority of whom were female, with an average age between 30-39 years. Listed below are some of the other key take-aways from the survey:

  • Average hours worked per week was 40
  • Over half of the respondents do not supervise other employees
  • Nearly 350 respondents had between 1-5 years in their current position
  • Over 300 respondents work for companies with more than 1000 employees
  • Nearly all of respondents said they receive a benefits package

Another feature of the survey was what the average professional makes in the fitness and wellness industry. Here's a breakdown of the responses:

  • $0 to $25,000 - 28.22%
  • $25,000 to $50,000 - 26.65%
  • $50,000 to $75,000 - 18.27%
  • $75,000 to $100,000 - 10.93%
  • $100,000 or more - 15.93%

The average median income was $45,018 per annum-close to the level of the average median U.S. household, earned by an average of 2.6 individuals.

What Can You Expect To Make?

This survey provides great information to employers, employees and potential professionals. But it's also important to remember that there are many factors that go into determining the salary for a position. When you're looking for a position, know your magic salary number that you know will work for your personal budget. Look for a job that you know you'll love-the personal satisfaction from enjoying your work can make it not seem like work at all.

Another item to remember is that more education results in higher salaries. In this survey, those who had completed higher levels of education and certification had higher starting salaries. When you are looking at furthering your education, WELCOA recommends that the total amount of your student loans should not exceed your first year's salary.

How Can Longevity and Growth Potential Affect Your Career?

The survey also examined how long individuals stayed in their current position, and how it affected their salary. The results showed that those who stayed longer were paid more than a person who transitioned from job to job. Your salary will typically grow higher and faster if you stay with a company or position longer. Find an organization that encourages professional growth and has opportunities for working your way up the career ladder.

While these salary numbers are important, don't let it dictate your performance or professional growth potential. Harvey Mackay said, "A mediocre person tells, a good person explains, a superior person demonstrates, and a truly great person inspires others to see it for themselves." Be a truly great person in any fitness or wellness job, and you'll be prepared to see a difference in your salary. 

Julieann Hansen is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Yoga Instructor, Certified ACE Group Fitness Instructor, Certified Spin Instructor, Certified Workplace Wellness Specialist and has her Masters in Public Health. She has been in the fitness and wellness industry for nearly 10 years. 

She currently serves on the Exam Development Team for ACSM's Committee on Certification and Registry Boards (CCRB). Julieann writes for a few online magazines and blogs, including Livestrong.com and Patriots Fitness Magazine. Julieann currently works as the Wellness Specialist for Rocky Mountain Health Plans and loves helping employer groups implement their wellness programs. When Julieann isn't working, she loves music, the outdoors, and running.

Sign Up For a
Free Certification
Resource Guide
Learn about the different ACSM Certifications and discover which one is right for you!

Contact Us:

For general ACSM Certification questions,
Certification Resource Center
by calling 800-486-5643.

To schedule your exam with Pearson VUE,
or call 888-883-2276.

Or contact the ACSM Certification Department,
or call 317-637-9200 ext 115.


Go to main ACSM site Find a Pro FAQs Contact Us