One of the most common questions new personal trainers ask is ‘how much do personal trainers earn?’ This is not an easy question to answer as there are many options and paths when working in the fitness industry.

The best way to look at this is to split the type of job roles into two key groups, employed and self-employed.  Employed jobs tend to have all the perks of being safe, guaranteed salary, all the hassle (tax, NI, CPD, Insurance, and the list goes on) taken care of, but the major downside is that salaries are much lower than self-employed salaries. While the route of a self-employment personal trainer can be a scary idea, when weighed against potential earnings, the self-employed route offers a much higher potential salary.

Personal Trainer Salary - What to Expect to Earn

Below we explore the routes available and how much a personal trainer can earn.

Employed Personal Trainer Salaries

Personal Trainer

Personal trainers working this way can expect a salary between £20,000 and £35,000 per year. As an employed personal trainer, there are generally a set number of hours to work on the gym floor as a fitness instructor each week and these hours are paid at an hourly rate. This allows personal trainers to have a very basic salary, many new entrant to the fitness industry are reassured by having this guaranteed baseline income. A personal trainer is then expected to sell personal training clients to the membership base, for each of these sessions clients pay between £30-40 per hour and the gym will then pay the personal trainer 50% of this in their wage packet.

Fitness Instructor

This job is a relatively lowly paid with fitness instructor salaries being as low as £12,000 per year. A fitness instructor is employed by gyms to do things like inductions, maintain the gym floor and just be around as a port of call for members who have questions. Unfortunately, as the industry grows and develops many gyms are going down the budget route and these roles are increasingly rare.

Fitness Management

A fitness manager can expect to make anything from £21,000 at a smaller club up to £50,000 at larger sites. This can go even higher with national leads earning £70,000 plus in larger gym chains.

Exercise Referral

Trainers could expect to make between £25,000 and £35,000. The NHS and community based projects are fast becoming a big employer of personal trainers. There is a massive call for trainers, particularly those that are level 4 qualified to work with referred populations both within hospitals and in the community.

Self-employed Personal Trainer Salaries

Personal Trainer (Gym-based or Mobile)

A PT can expect to earn anything between £12,000 to £50,000 and upwards. Initially wages for the first year can be as low 12k (based on and average of 8 clients per week), however after 12 months, as a PT hone’s both their training and sales skills, this could raise to £30,000 – £50,000 dependent on the rate being charged and the number of hours being worked. One of the great things about being self-employed is the control; over hours of work and rate you charge. To earn more- work more hours or increase the hourly rate.

Exercise Referral

PTs working in Ex Ref can expect to make average hourly rates between £15 and £30 per hour. Many NHS trusts and exercise referral schemes use freelance instructors to deliver their sessions. The rates for this depend on your level of qualification, experience and area of speciality.

Class Instruction

A class instructor can expect to make anything from £10 – £100 per hour.  Many personal trainers supplement their income by teaching classes, dependent on the class and if you are delivering it for somebody else or if the class is yours, hourly rates can be as low as £10 per hour up to £100 per hour for a bootcamp with 20 members.

Corporate Wellbeing

This is a very niche area of the fitness industry and PTs can expect to earn between £150 to £300 per day dependant on experience. A PT would be working with organisations to create and deliver healthy workforce initiatives. There are a small number of large companies that tend to get the contracts to deliver these services, which they then use freelancers to deliver.

The most important thing to look at when considering what kind of salary you can earn as a personal trainer is to not view the industry as a quick way to make money. As with anything in life, a career in the fitness industry will be a journey and the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. As discussed, the self-employed route is a higher risk strategy but in the long run if it works, the rewards are substantially higher! Our last top tip, to maximise your earning potential as a personal trainer, have a wide range of skills and abilities, mix and match what you can offer to have the broadest appeal.