When teaching new personal trainers who are just at the start of their journey into the fitness industry, one of the most common questions we’re asked is ‘what is the average personal trainer salary?’ This is not an easy question to answer as there are many different options when it comes to working in the fitness industry.

There are three types of opportunities: employed, self-employed & a hybrid model of being both employed & self-employed. Understanding these three options and deciding on which is going to be best for you is your first step.

Employed jobs tend to have all the perks of being safe, having a guaranteed salary with none of the hassle, for example not having to worry about PAYE (tax) & National Insurance calculations as these are all taken care of by your employer. The major downside however is that salaries can be much lower than if you were self-employed.

When you consider self-employment, the thought of being your own boss may excite you or scare you. Having a strong network of friends and colleagues may leave you feeling secure that you will find the clients you need to make a living, or the idea of not having a set income may leave you feeling insecure. As self-employed, you’ll need the knowledge and skills to run a business, all of which is taught on our personal training courses. While the earning potential of an employed position is set, the sky is the limit for salaries of self-employed personal trainers. 

In recent years we have seen a new hybrid model for personal trainers being offered by health clubs. It’s a combination of both employed and self-employed which offers the best of both worlds. You have a set number of salaried hours to work on the gym floor and then the rest of your time you work as a self-employed trainer in the club. Your earning potential on your employed hours is set, but you can spend the rest of your time working with as many clients as you can or want to earn the wage you desire.

Personal Trainer Salary - What to Expect to Earn

Employed Personal Trainer Salaries

Fitness Instructor Salary – as a fitness instructor many gyms will employ staff to conduct new member inductions (showing new members how to use the equipment), maintain the gym equipment and keep the gym floor tidy. Fitness instructors are generally also available for members who may have questions about their programmes. The starting salary of a gym instructor is approximately £21,730 with an average of £25,000. Fitness instructors however can earn up to £47,898. (talent.com)

Personal Trainer Salary – Fully employed positions in health clubs are rare, with most clubs offering only self-employed or hybrid models. The average salary of a fully employed personal trainer in the UK is currently £31,562. You can expect to start out on approximately £25,000, however more experienced personal trainers can earn on average £54,877. In an employed role, you will be expected to sell your services as a personal trainer to members who will pay on average, £30/session. This can go over £100/hour in business districts such as Central London. It’s important to remember, when you’re employed, you earn your set salary, not the hourly rate your clients pay to the club. Employed PTs generally have targets they must hit in terms of the number of sessions per week they must do with paying clients. When not doing PT sessions, you may be expected do the role of a fitness instructor.

Fitness Manager Salary – Many personal trainer decide after a number of years of training clients, to leave the gym floor and work in management roles. It is a natural career progression. Within the leisure industry there are a wide range of roles available with general managers earning between £27,000 at a smaller club up to £50,000 at larger sites. Moving into a regional management role can give you a salary upward of £70,000.

Exercise Referral Specialist Salary – The NHS and community based projects are fast becoming a big employer of personal trainers. There is a large demand for trainers, particularly those that are level 4 qualified, to work with referred populations both within hospitals and in the community. Salaries for exercise referral specialists align closely with those of personal trainers.

Self-employed Personal Trainer Salaries

Personal Trainer (gym-based or mobile) Salary – there can be a massive range in terms of the amount of money freelance personal trainers earn it all depends on the number of clients per week you train and your hourly rate. The calculation is simple: number of clients per week x rate per hour = salary. The average hourly rate a personal trainer charges in the UK is £24.92. (payscale.com) The average number of sessions is 5-15. One of the great things about being self-employed is that you have control over the hours that you work and the rate you charge, so if you want to earn more all you have to do is work more hours or increase your rate! Freelance personal trainer have been known to earn over £85,000/year and as you’re your own boss running your own business, there are plenty of other ways to supplement your income with the sale of other products and services.

Exercise Referral Salary – Many NHS trusts and exercise referral schemes use freelance trainers to deliver their sessions. The rates for this depend on your level of qualification, experience and area of speciality. Average hourly rates range between £25 and £65 per hour.

Class Instruction – Many personal trainers supplement their income by teaching classes. By doing a group indoor cycling course, circuit course or a T3 HIIT Training course, you can easily earn between £15-£50/class. If you run your classes in your own venue or outdoors, boot camp style, you can charge your clients £5-£10/person, which would give you £50-£100 per class for just 10 people.

Corporate Wellbeing – This is a very niche area of the fitness industry to be involved in, which involves going into organisations and driving healthy workforce initiatives. Corporate wellness is popular in most large companies who can offer contracts to fitness professionals and personal trainers. Day rates can range between £150 to £300 per day depending on your experience and speciality.

Hybrid Employed/Self-employed Personal Trainer Salaries

Personal Trainer Salary – the hybrid model of being both employed and self-employed by a health club is relatively new. Health clubs have identified that new personal trainers need the security of a set wage each month, but also want to have the earning potential of a self-employed trainer. These positions are ideal for newly qualified personal trainers as, when starting out, you can earn enough to live on while growing your business. When employed and working on the gym floor, you have time to meet the club members, chat to them and the sell them your services as a personal trainer. Generally, you will start out with more hours as an employed member of the team, and these gradually decrease over time as you train more clients one-on-one. Starting salaries will depend on the number of hours you do but on average are around £12,000 for 20 hours/week. You then earn money for each personal training session you do, with the average hourly rage being £24.92/session.

A career as a personal trainer can be highly rewarding, both from a job satisfaction point of view and financially. We always recommend new personal trainers work backwards; work out how much money you need or want to earn, then look at the different employment options to see which is best suited to your goals. Then consider quality of life, how many hours you want to work, do you want to be your own boss. Answering these questions will guide you into the position that’s ideal for you.