If you’re searching on how to find the best personal training jobs, you have to start by prioritizing your values first. The fitness industry has such a wide variety of work environments and client types to choose from. You can work anywhere from resorts with high-profile clients to the comfort of your own home, virtually training people (just like you) to achieve their health and fitness goals. 

So, as you start the journey of how to find the best personal training jobs, determine if money, stability (and predictability), or elite/prestige are most important for you. Once you know which of these you value the most, then you can start identifying the best fitness job to work toward. Here, we’ll give you a breakdown of the best jobs for each priority type and how you can start making your dream job come true. Then, we’ll provide other scenarios that might not fit perfectly into this category. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear direction on a fitness career path.

High-Income Personal Training Job

Let’s face it. Most people have a job in the first place because they either want more money or need money to sustain a certain lifestyle. If a big salary is what you’re looking for in the fitness profession, then your best bet is to go into business for yourself.  There are a few trade-offs when running your own personal training business. The first is that it might be a slow ramp up. Unless you already have people asking for your services or extra cash to invest into advertising, it will be a slow, steady build. But, as you’ll see, earning a six-figure income as a personal trainer is by no means a long shot when you run your own business. The other potential trade off is the risk starting a business can carry with it. Depending on what you invest to get the business started, it might be a long time before you see your return.

Despite these tradeoffs, having your own personal training business is great for earning more money. Most gyms owned by someone else, or a corporation, will either charge you rent or take a percentage of what you charge your clients. In many instances, this can mean you’re only earning 25% of what the client is paying you. So, if your personal training client pays the gym $100 per session, you’ll only be capturing $25 per session. So, if you want to pull in a great salary, you need to consider starting your own business. 

How To Start Your Own Personal Training Business

Many trainers who run their own business started out working for a gym. Once they realized their earning potential, they transferred to owning their own business. In many cases, the personal trainer lowers this transition risk by telling existing gym clients about the change. Then, when it comes time for the client to renew their personal training package, the trainer simply has them renew under the new business. 

It’s important to note that some gyms will have an agreement for you to sign that restricts this ability. 

This means there are strong professional and ethical implications, and you should start your business in a better way. Instead of taking members from the gym you work at, offer referral programs to friends of theirs who don’t have a gym membership. Another option is to build your business in the online environment, providing online fitness coaching. This is the safest way to start your fitness business without running the risk of creating bad professional relationships with your gym owner. In many cases, once you are completely independent, you can then reach out to former clients, asking if they want to be part of the new services you offer. It’s advised that you make your personal training business model different from what you were offering at the gym. For example, you can provide on-demand access if clients have questions. Or, you can host online fitness challenges for them to opt into. Either way, the greater the differentiation of the service, the better off you’ll be.

Learn all about the steps it takes to start a fitness business, including determining a business plan and financial forecasting. When you have your own fitness business, you have more flexibility in choosing your education- specifically your personal training certification. However, you should consider a degree in exercise science. An exercise science degree will teach you additional things a certification won’t. This includes fitness business, communication, exercise psychology, and a more in depth education on nutrition. Collectively, this knowledge will set you up for success in your own business. 

Other Jobs You Can Get

Once you own your business, you can hire trainers to work for you, allowing you to scale even more. You can also offer other services, finding more revenue streams that supplement the health and fitness business. Here’s a list of things you can add or do once you get your company up and running:

  • Online personal training
  • Wellness coach services
  • Health coach services
  • Corporate wellness consultation

Stable And Predictable Personal Training Jobs

If you’re looking for stability, and you like the idea of a more conservative approach to being a trainer, consider working for a commercial gym. A larger, more commercial gym has plenty of benefits. Although we previously discussed the downside to working for a gym that carries with it the cost of rent or forfeit earning potential, it’s still a good option. These benefits can include:

  • Predictable income
  • Consistent hours and scheduling
  • Covered marketing costs 
  • Established training session structures and pricing
  • Health insurance

Larger gym chains (and even some smaller studios) absorb the advertising costs to acquire new members. And, the personal trainers they hire often provide initial fitness consultations. This is the chance for a personal trainer to give the member a taste of what a fitness coach can do for them, ideally resulting in a sale. So, there’s a constant flow of potential clients for you, relieving you of the responsibility to pay for advertising and get them yourself.

Additionally, a larger gym will frequently have a set session structure. This means you won’t have to worry about developing your own paperwork, billing your clients, pricing structure, or member record keeping. Additionally, you’ll be able to connect with other trainers and potentially find fitness mentors to help you along your career. 

How To Get The Best Gym Trainer Jobs

Most gyms want to know two things. The first is that their members will be safe working with you. The second is that you’ll get their customers results. Therefore, they’ll want to make sure you have the right education. Most gyms will want to see an NCCA accredited personal training certification. Further, some gyms partner with education institutions and even have preferred certifications. It’s becoming even more common for gyms to look for a degree in exercise science. This further helps them feel comfortable in hiring you.  Follow these steps to getting your ideal job at the gym:

  1. Do your research. Take tours of different gyms, so you can get a feel for what it will be like there. Watch their trainers on staff. Learn about the personal training requirements. 
  2. Get your resume ready. Even if you haven’t worked as a fitness trainer yet. Find relatable work experience in customer service, sales, communication, or fitness. You can include showcasing your own fitness journey and experience on your resume as well.
  3. Call in advance. Find out who makes the hiring decisions and when they’re there. If possible, do a little background research on the fitness director or person hiring. Additionally, even if the gym isn’t hiring, you should still make the connection and consider it a possibility.
  4. Drop off your resume. Look the part, but dress professionally. Then, go to the gym and explain that you’d like to leave your resume and speak with the hiring manager. If the manager is unavailable, see if you can book time to meet with them. Make sure you get as much contact information as possible, including their email.
  5. Follow up. Put a call and send an email. Doing both will help keep you memorable. This will increase your chances at getting hired and demonstrate your professionalism. 


Other Jobs You Can Get

Once you find a health club that you like and start working there, you have additional opportunities. Successful personal trainers in the gym setting often advance into other roles. Or, they find adjacent roles they can fulfill in the club. All of which adds to your salary. Here’s a list of the career extension you can find working at a health club:

  • Group Fitness Instructor
  • Nutrition Coach
  • Small Group Trainer
  • Fitness Manager
  • Fitness Director
  • General Club Manager

Elite Or Prestigious Personal Training Jobs

There are some high-end environments or experiences a personal trainer can do. For example, you can train or teach group fitness on a cruise ship, destination resort, or award-winning spa. Likewise, you can train celebrities, athletes, or wealthy business people and travel the world with them. These types of jobs aren’t as abundant as others. However, they’re more available than most people think.

How To Get Elite Or Prestigious Fitness Jobs

If you want to work in a beautiful location or get the opportunity to travel, you’re not alone. Follow these steps to get one of the most ideal work environments possible.

  • Get the right education. Resorts, cruise ships, etc. don’t know the fitness space like a gym fitness director does. And, the roles are different. Therefore, hiring managers go almost completely off of what’s on paper. Therefore, it’s likely that just a certification won’t be enough. Instead, start considering an exercise science degree. Not only does it show hiring managers that you’re devoted to your education. It also demonstrates that you’re reliable and professional enough to get a degree. This goes a long way in these settings.
  • Look the part. In these settings, the experience is what people want. By looking the part, you add to the experience for a destination resort or cruise. Of course, you don’t need to look like you just stepped out of a fitness competition. But you should put your best fitness face forward. When you go to an interview, dress professionally rather than in fitness gear.
  • Enroll in vacation fitness exchange programs. You should do this regardless just to enjoy the benefits of being a fitness professional. These types of programs allow you to stay for free at one of their luxury properties in exchange for conducting training sessions or group fitness classes. They help you get your foot in the door at a luxury location because you can include the membership on your resume. This shows that you have experience in working with guests who are paying top dollar for an experience. 
  • Refine your resume. These types of jobs will want to see that you have great customer service skills and are a professional. Unlike working for a gym, where you highlight any sales experience, here you want to highlight experiences in working with customers and having great communication skills. 

Other Jobs You Can Get

One of the best things about working in high-end locations is the people you’ll meet. Therefore, the networking by itself can be part of your career path. You’ll meet people and develop connections. This type of work experience can lead you to working with celebrities, elite athletes, and others.

Jobs That Personal Training Can Lead To

There are plenty of career opportunities that can come from being a fitness trainer. In your job, you’ll learn more about yourself, including what you like and don’t like about the industry. This can prepare you for the next step in your career, beyond just a personal trainer. Below is a list of other jobs professionals develop into after starting as a personal trainer.

  • Life coach
  • Massage therapist
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Athletic trainer
  • Physical therapist or physical therapy technician
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Nutritionist or dietitian
  • Graduate fitness professor

At this point, you realize the world of personal training has more than just one “best job”. This makes it so you can carve your own path and future, depending on what you value most. By knowing what’s most important to you, you can then start taking steps in the right direction to land your dream job. 

First comes your passion for fitness and helping others. Then, comes your education. Regardless of the job you’re looking for, you’ll need (at minimum) a personal training certification. Most successful personal trainers also have a college degree. At Lionel University, you can get both in the same program. This means, you don’t have to invest additional money on expensive certifications. Regardless of whether you’re pursuing an associates degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree, at Lionel you earn multiple certifications and specializations along the way. This means you can start working on getting that dream job before graduation day.

And, with the help of financial aid, earning your exercise science degree is even more of a possibility. Check out our programs and contact Lionel today!