Help Others Stay Fit ... and Yourself, too!

Yoga instructor

Yoga instructors and other physical fitness trainers can work both indoors and outside in a variety of settings.

If you are athletic, and enjoy helping others, you may be interested in a job as a fitness trainer, yoga teacher or aerobics instructor. With the large number of public and private gyms around the world, there is a great need for trainers and instructors. Some of them even find jobs on cruise ships or at resorts. In fact, in the United States in 2008, there were approximately 261,000 people working in the fitness field, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fitness Trainer Job Description

Fitness trainers are people who help others reach their fitness goals. They do this by demonstrating exercise techniques and helping their students to safely attempt the movements, themselves. Their goal is to improve their clients' fitness levels. Fitness trainers may work with groups or individuals in a gym. Sometimes they also work individually as personal trainers in private homes. Aerobics instructors have a similar job, except that they concentrate on teaching group aerobic exercise classes.

If you are going to be teaching classes, you may wish to use this direct Amazon link to "The Aerobic Instructor's Handbook."  It's loaded with lots of helpful information on what to teach and how to teach it.

Working Conditions for Fitness Trainers

The most common location for fitness trainers and aerobic instructors to work is in some sort of recreation center, health center or club. Some may also work for corporations or on cruise ships or at summer camps. This is a great job for anyone who wants to stay in good physical condition themselves, as they are constantly working out.

Popular locations to find jobs are the YMCA, Gold's Gym, Curves for Women, and other fitness clubs. You can also be hired by city park and recreation departments, community centers and colleges. Some fitness trainers will work with college or professional sports teams. Others work as yoga or Pilates instructors.

When first starting out, many trainers and instructors begin working part time or seasonally; however, eventually those who are serious will be able to work up to forty hours per week. One downside of the job is the high potential for injury.

Training and Qualifications to become a Fitness Trainer or Aerobics Instructor

The great news is that it is not necessary to have a college degree to become a fitness trainer or aerobics instructor. However, most of them do need to earn their certification in personal training, weight training or aerobics. In order to maintain your certification, you will have to take continuing education classes and be recertified every two years. Fitness workers are also usually required to be certified in CPR.

The type of training you will need depends upon the type of physical fitness or aerobics program that you are interested in. For example, to become a Pilates instructor, the Pilates Method Alliance has training standards that recommend at least 200 hours of training. Training for yoga teachers is similar. Although some programs to become a yoga instructor can take from just a few days to two years, the Yoga Alliance recommends at least 200 training hours covering topics such as teaching methods, anatomy, physiology, philosophy and, of course, the yoga positions.

Obviously, if you want to get a job in this area, it is not enough to just sign up to take a class. You should also be athletic, outgoing and healthy. In addition, it is helpful if you are energetic, enthusiastic, and genuinely interested in helping others. You will want to be able to motivate others, as well!

A benefit of the job is that you are given a lot of autonomy. In other words, you have the freedom to put together your own series of exercises or moves that you choose to include in your aerobic, Pilates or yoga routine … taking into consideration, of course, the needs of your clients and students!

Fitness Trainer Salaries

According to, fitness trainers earn between $12.00 and $24.00 an hour. If they work full time, they can earn between $24,500 and $50,000 a year.

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A Handy Tool to Help You Get Your Career Started

The Aerobics Instructor's Handbook: What to Teach, and How to Teach it Effectively!
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Sep 14, 2014)
Detailed information on how to become an effective aerobic instructor.