If you’ve heard the term fitness specialist before and are curious about what it is, where they work, and what kind of income potential they have, this article is for you. We’ll give a break down fo fitness specialist salary ranges to guide your decision making process. And. if you’d like to explore the fitness specialist role a bit more in an attempt to determine whether or not it’s the ideal career path for you, we’ve got you covered. 

Throughout this article, we’ll explore what a fitness specialist is, the types of facilities they work in, and their salary ranges so that you can make that decision for yourself. 

What Is A Fitness Specialist?

Some job titles within the fitness industry require specific education, licensing, or certification. For example, a certified personal trainer will get certified by completing a personal trainer course and personal trainer certification exam. Similarly, a dietician requires an individual to obtain and maintain a specific license in their state. 

The job title “fitness specialist”, however, is a broad career term that could encompass a variety of different skillsets and professions in the health and fitness realm. The term fitness specialist is interchangeable with the term fitness professional and a variety of other fitness profession titles. Ultimately, a fitness specialist is a professional that specializes in one or more fitness-related topics. 

For example, a fitness specialist could be a Certified Personal Trainer, a Nutrition Specialist, Behavior Coach, Group Fitness Instructor, Health Coach, Yoga Instructor, Master Trainer, Rehabilitation Professional, or any combination of those or other fitness professions. 

Fitness specialists may lead fitness classes, coach clients, guide behavior change, support improvements in nutrition, create exercise programs, administer assessments, or educate clients on various health and fitness-related topics. The bottom line is they know how to use the concepts of exercise science to coach someone else into leading a healthier and fitter lifestyle.

Learn more on how to make a career in fitness.

Where Does A Fitness Specialist Work?

Fitness specialists can technically become fitness specialists with or without certification and formal education. They may have specific experience in the field, or education and credentials in a particular niche. Because of this, the work a fitness specialist does, where they work, and their scope of practice will be unique to each professional and their education, experience, skillsets, etc.

Fitness specialists are often employed by a variety of different types of facilities. From medical facilities, fitness centers, corporate wellness offices, universities, and companies that collaborate with independent contractors, fitness specialists are needed in many different facets of the health and fitness world.

What Are The Salary Ranges For A Fitness Specialist?

Because the term fitness specialist is a bit of a loose term for a variety of different types of fitness professionals, the income potential can vary greatly. However, keep in mind that although the term fitness specialist can encompass a variety of other fitness professionals, there are specific career paths where a certification or credential often trumps the fitness specialist title. 

For example, although you could refer to a certified personal trainer as a fitness specialist, it’s more likely that they will refer to themselves as a certified personal trainer, especially when using their personal training knowledge and skillset. 

That being said, because the skills and education of a fitness specialist can vary greatly, so does their salary. According to payscale.com, the median income (per hour) for a fitness specialist can range from around $12 an hour to almost $32 an hour. The average pay for a fitness specialist is approximately $18 per hour. 

Payscale.com also suggests that starting salary for a fitness specialist is expected to increase as experience increases (1). But, as previously mentioned, this could be much higher or lower depending on the actual role and skills of the fitness specialist. 

The following are a few examples that could fall under the fitness specialist title.

Personal Trainers And Group Fitness Instructors

In alignment with the data above, fitness specialists that fall under the category of a personal trainer or group fitness instructor have an average salary of over $40,000 per year (and over $19 an hour), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (2). 

However, payscale.com also suggests that a personal trainer’s annual salary can be anywhere from $24,000 per year to $105,000 per year (3). And a group fitness instructor’s salary can range anywhere from $26,000 per year to $85,000 per year (4). The wide range in income ability is due to the fact that some individuals work part time while others start a fitness business.

Yoga Instructors

Fitness specialists that fall under the category of yoga instructors tend to have an average hourly base pay of just over $25 per hour. However, like other professions, the starting salary is typically lower (around $20 an hour), and the hourly rate often increases with experience (5).


A dietician typically has a median salary of about $55,000 per year. However, according to payscale.com, that salary can go as low as $43,000 per year and up to $76,000 per year (6). 

Health Coaches

A fitness specialist that is a health coach often averages somewhere around $20 per hour. However, that income can go as low as about $15 per hour and up to around $37 per hour (7).

Health Educators

Fitness professionals that are health educators have an average base salary of around $47,000 annually. However, according to payscale.com, actual pay often ranges between $35,000 per year and $66,000 per year (8).

Keep in mind it’s imperative that when reviewing the statistics above, you should note that the data is based on a small sample size. Although these stats can give you a rough idea of what the income looks like for these professions, it’s important to remember that the average salary for any profession is heavily impacted by many factors:

  • The number of hours the fitness professional works (or number of classes they teach)
  • The state or city they work in
  • The type of facility they work in
  • And the fitness professional’s education and experience

Are A Fitness Specialist And A Fitness Specialization The Same Thing?

The short answer to this question is no. A fitness specialization is a course credential that you would complete that helps you specialize or learn more about your particular niche. 

For example, an individual could have a four-year exercise science degree and choose to complete a performance nutrition specialization, a corrective exercise specialization, and a sports performance specialization. This is an example of the Master Trainer Certificate you’ll earn while attending Lionel University. The combination of these three fitness specializations can help a fitness professional improve their knowledge and skills associated with working with athletes. With the completion of any of those courses, they could technically refer to themself as a fitness specialist. 

Are you ready to expand your knowledge and take the next step in your fitness career? As a leader in health and fitness education, Lionel University has the exercise science and nutrition courses you need to succeed. Get started with your rewarding career and contact Lionel today.


  1. Payscale.com. (2021, Dec. 5). Average Fitness Specialist Hourly Pay. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Fitness_Specialist/Hourly_Rate. Accessed 2022, Feb. 22.
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. (2021, Nov. 1). Occupational Outlook Handbook: Fitness Trainers and Instructors. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/fitness-trainers-and-instructors.htmAccessed 2022, Feb. 22. 
  3. Payscale.com. (2022, Jan. 31). Average Personal Trainer Hourly Pay. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Personal_Trainer/Hourly_Rate. Accessed 2022, Feb. 23. 
  4. Payscale.co (2022, Feb. 2), Average Group Fitness Trainer Hourly Pay. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Group_Fitness_Trainer/Hourly_Rate. Accessed 2022, Feb. 24.
  5. Payscale.com (2022, Jan. 28). Average Yoga Instructor Hourly Pay. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Yoga_Instructor/Hourly_Rate. Accessed 2022, Feb. 23.
  6. Payscale.com (2022, Jan. 29). Average Dietician Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Dietitian/Salary. Accessed 2022, Feb. 23.
  7. Payscale.com (2022, Jan. 25). Average Health Coach Hourly Pay. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Health_Coach/Salary. Accessed 2022, Feb. 23.
  8. Payscale.com (2022, Feb. 4). Average Health Educator Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Health_Educator/Salary. Accessed 2022. Feb. 23.