Personal Trainer Salary Guide

Strength specialist instructing proper kettlebell swing technique.

Quite a few variables are associated with determining a personal trainer’s salary. At the top of this list is your track record and credibility. Personal trainers with a steady and well-established work history tend to demand a higher pay rate compared to those who are just getting started.

Personal referrals can play a huge role in expanding your client base, and as the interest for your services gains momentum, your income potential will grow. Applying the basic business principle of supply and demand, when more people want to hire you, it puts you in the position to increase the price of your services.

What You Can Expect To Make

Typically, personal trainers bill per hour or by the session. Training sessions usually last an hour for most clients. In some cases a high-profile client or professional athlete will want you to dedicate a few hours or even days at a time just to them, and you can charge accordingly. Furthermore, some trainers charge more during peak hours, such as early mornings and evenings, and weekends.

According to a report published by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the average rate is approximately $25 an hour or just over $52,000 annually for full-time trainers holding their ACE CPT certification.

Basically, how much you make boils down to the amount of time you’re able to devote to training and the number of clients you’re able to take on. Experienced trainers that are self-employed with a full book of clients can earn over $140,000 annually – in some cases even without having a college degree. However, the number of trainers that break into the six-figure mark is not the majority.

How Much Do Personal Trainers Make at Chain Gyms and Fitness Centers?

Paying Your Dues

It’s a common rite of passage for personal trainers to start out working at commercial fitness centers or gym chains. There’s a good chance you’ll start out “working the floor”, in most cases getting paid close to minimum wage, while you try to get gym members to hire you for your services or have them assigned to you. Your commission will be a percentage of the total fee your client pays the facility per session.

Commission usually ranges from 30% – 60% depending on your experience, education and credentials. If you’re allowed to train clients that aren’t members of the fitness facility, the percentage may drop to as low as 15% – 20%.

Pay Rates at 15 Popular Gym Chains in 2021

The following table is a general guideline to how much personal trainers make at several popular gym and fitness chains. Please note rates can vary widely according to location, experience, bonuses, sales commission, etc. These figures are meant to give a general idea of what you can expect to earn at these places.

GymHourly Session WageHourly Base/Floor WageAvg. Overall Hourly Wage (Glassdoor.com)
24 Hour Fitness$7.00 at PT 1

$10.00 at PT 2

$13.00 at PT 3

$15.00 at PT Elite

$17.00 at Master Trainer
State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$18.00
Anytime FitnessPayment structure varies by franchise location. Some do a 40-50% commission based off what the client pays. Can vary from $17 - $28 an hour.State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$19.00
Bally Total Fitness$12.94 - $17.00 at Level 1

$15.54 - $20.75 at Level 2

$24.94 - $29.10 at Level 3

$34.40 at Level 4

$39.10 at Level 5
State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$22.00
Crunch Fitness$22.00 - $38.00
(No official tier structure)
State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$29.00
Equinox$26.00 - $31.00 at Tier I

$30.50 - $42.50 at Tier II

$36.50 - $53.00 at Tier III

$45.50 - $61.00 at Tier III+

$64.00 - $74.50 at Tier X
State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$24.00
Gold's Gym$20.00 - $35.00
(No official tier structure)
State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$19.00
Goodlife Fitness (Canada)Figures in U.S. dollars:

Level 1 at $12 - $15

Level 2 at $15.86 - $17.44

Level 3 at $21.41 - $23.00
Minimum wage based on province.$20.00
LA Fitness$12.00 - $15.00
(No official tier structure; varies by franchise location and experience). Trainers are either contracted (no hourly floor pay, only pay per session) and employee trainers (usually just hourly floor pay, including during sessions).
State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$27.00
Life Time FitnessTier 1 at 1.15 x min. wage

Tiers 2 - 5 | No info, but a recruiter from Lifetime said their trainers make $50,000 - $60,000 per year on average.
State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$20.00
Orangetheory FitnessCoaches get paid $25.00 - $65.00 depending on size of the class.Around $15.00 when working/coaching the floor.$41.00
Planet FitnessNo official tier structure, but pay varies from $11.00 - $16.00. State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$13.00
Snap FitnessNo official tier structure, but pay varies between $12.00 - $35.00. The higher end of this scale seems to reflect what contracted trainers get paid.State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$19.00
Vasa FitnessNo official tier structure, but pay varies from $8 - $30.State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$17.00
YMCATier 1 at $15.00 - $20.00

Tier 2 at $17.00 - $22.00

Tier 3 at $21.00 - $26.00

Tier 4 at $23.00 - $30.00
State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$18.00
YouFitNo official tier structure, but pay varies from $14.00 - $28.00.State minimum wage. Varies between $7.25 - $15.20 an hour.$20.00

Personal Trainer Salaries by State in 2021

Salary Description and Collection Methods

Since personal trainers can work for fitness centers and gyms (company-employed), work for themselves (self-employed) or a combination of both, it is difficult to get an accurate overall estimate of how much they make.

The salary figures reported by online resources such as Salary.com and BLS.gov only represent data for company-employed PTs. This is because they only survey establishments that hire employees and don’t include independent contractors or those that work for themselves. As a result, this leaves out salary information for trainers that are either partially or fully self-employed.


Given that self-employed trainers have the potential to make significantly more money than their company-employed peers, the following figures may seem on the low end for some. So, please keep in mind all the figures in this section represent NON SELF-EMPLOYED salaries.

Salary.com

Salary information from Salary.com is provided on a percentile scale, with the column labeled ‘Lowest 10%’ being the 10th percentile and below, ‘Median’ being the 50th percentile and ‘Top 10%’ being the 90th percentile and above. According to the Salary.com website, Certified Compensation Professionals from this company collect their data from numerous human resource departments of employers that hire personal trainers in each state.

BLS.gov

Average salary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) represents the mean salary of both personal trainers and group fitness instructors collectively. Since group instructors earn either more or less than personal trainers depending on employer, please take this into consideration when viewing information under the ‘BLS.gov’ column as these figures may be higher or lower than they should be for PTs alone. This government agency collects their wage data using various compensation, occupational employment and population surveys.

U.S. National Salary for Personal Trainers

Salary.com (2021)BLS.gov (2020)
Lowest 10%Median SalaryTop 10%Average Salary
≤ $30,818$62,288$89,472 +$45,650

Personal Trainer Salaries for States AL – MS

StateSalary.com (2021)BLS.gov (2020)
Lowest 10%Median SalaryTop 10%Average Salary
Alabama≤ $28,877$58,364$83,835 +$32,310
Alaska≤ $34,548$69,825$100,298 +$39,130
Arizona≤ $30,469$61,582$88,458 +$43,730
Arkansas≤ $28,423$57,446$82,516 +$36,190
California≤ $34,424$69,576$99,940 +$54,770
Colorado≤ $30,726$62,101$89,203 +$45,400
Connecticut≤ $33,346$67,395$96,808 +$63,140
Delaware≤ $32,359$65,402$93,945 +$35,900
Washington DC≤ $34,279$69,283$99,519 +$57,790
Florida≤ $29,278$59,173$84,998 +$38,470
Georgia≤ $29,817$60,264$86,564 +$42,000
Hawaii≤ $32,335$65,352$93,874 +$45,151
Idaho≤ $29,087$58,789$84,445 +$43,940
Illinois≤ $31,651$63,970$91,887 +$47,610
Indiana≤ $30,110$60,855$87,414 +$36,980
Iowa≤ $29,493$59,610$85,264 +$34,250
Kansas≤ $29,247$59,111$84,909 +$34,210
Kentucky≤ $29,000$58,613$84,193 +$39,890
Louisiana≤ $29,542$59,672$85,714 +$40,010
Maine≤ $29,709$60,046$86,251 +$49,410
Maryland≤ $31,776$64,223$92,251 +$50,800
Massachusetts≤ $33,531$67,769$97,345 +$54,290
Michigan≤ $30,843$62,338$89,543 +$39,250
Minnesota≤ $31,527$63,721$91,530 +$46,430
Mississippi≤ $26,812$54,190$77,840 +$39,340

Personal Trainer Salaries for States MO – WY

StateSalary.com (2021)BLS.gov (2020)
Lowest 10%Median SalaryTop 10%Average Salary
Missouri≤ $29,370$59,360$85,267 +$35,730
Montana≤ $27,937$56,464$81,106 +$36,460
Nebraska≤ $28,261$57,118$82,046 +$39,080
Nevada≤ $31,589$63,845$91,709 +$47,260
New Hampshire≤ $31,281$63,222$90,814 +$46,700
New Jersey≤ $34,073$68,865$98,920 +$56,980
New Mexico≤ $28,168$56,931$81,777 +$40,590
New York≤ $33,068$66,835$96,003 +$53,710
North Carolina≤ $29,401$59,423$85,356 +$38,260
North Dakota≤ $28,939$58,488$84,014 +$34,090
Ohio≤ $30,091$60,818$87,360 +$33,400
Oklahoma≤ $28,969$58,551$84,103 +$41,160
Oregon≤ $30,695$62,039$89,114 +$44,690
Pennsylvania≤ $30,757$62,163$77,118 +$89,293
Rhode Island≤ $32,483$65,651$94,303 +$46,510
South Carolina≤ $28,846$58,301$83,746 +$39,590
South Dakota≤ $26,381$53,318$76,588 +$33,420
Tennessee≤ $27,999$56,589$72,685 +$81,285
Texas≤ $30,263$61,165$87,859 +$43,200
Utah≤ $29,198$59,013$84,768 +$42,730
Vermont≤ $29,678$59,983$86,161 +$58,580
Virginia≤ $30,634$61,914$88,935 +$40,050
Washington≤ $32,914$66,523$95,556 +$55,110
West Virginia≤ $27,305$55,187$79,272 +$31,210
Wisconsin≤ $30,356$61,354$88,130 +$36,410
Wyoming≤ $27,428$55,436$79,630 +$38,190

Self-Employed Personal Trainers Earn More

The ultimate goal for many personal trainers who go into this as a career is to become completely self-employed, on a full-time schedule. This involves gradually acquiring your own client base, while working less at a fitness facility so you don’t have to split the commission.




While working at the gym provides great experience and arguably a necessary place to launch your career, again your objective (if you truly want to maximize your earning potential) should be to run your own facility (i.e. gym, studio, warehouse, etc.) and/or to train clients at their house or apartment. The pay off can mean the difference between making a part-time versus full-time income or below-average vs. high income.

For example, if you get a client that you initially started training through a gym chain to independently sign on with you, it can be a win-win situation for both parties. Just scale up your client base and you’re in business!

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