Over the past decade, becoming a Personal Trainer has become one of the most popular occupations for fitness fanatics. Health clubs, fitness centers, boutique studios, country clubs, park and rec departments, YMCA’s, JCC’s, senior living facilities, medical fitness centers, colleges and universities, boot camps and online training for personal training entrepreneurs are all competing for qualified, experienced, and professional fitness talent.
So how do personal trainers decide where to work? Not an easy decision! This article will help personal trainers navigate the landscape to find an environment that will provide a professional environment, where one will thrive while making competitive compensation.
Personal trainers who have a degree in the exercise sciences or related field, a nationally recognized personal training certification (ACE, ACSM, NASM, NSCA, CI-CPT) a CPR certification, and relevant experience with verifiable references will be able to choose where they will work.
Personal trainers with all the above qualifications, minus relevant experience should also be well positioned to land an excellent job in the fitness industry.
Aspiring personal trainers, with no relevant education and a lower-level certification with a less than stellar work history, will need to start off working in a more challenging environment, building their resume.
How to Identify Top Employers
There are numerous things to consider when starting a new position as a personal trainer. Below, we will list the main points to look for. It would be helpful to create a list of the following items to help you stay organized during your job search.
1. Location. Is it convenient for you? Short commute times make sense for personal trainers as you may have clients throughout the day and night.
2. Will any current clients you have be able to follow you to your new location?
3. Is the fitness business you will be working for located in a good demographic area where clients can afford personal training?
4. Will you receive clients immediately or will you have to build your own business?
5. What does the compensation plan look like? Is there an hourly base plus commissions? Is the commission split favorable? Is there a bonus program? Do you have access to health benefits? Do they provide continuing education reimbursement? Is there PTO?
6. Does this fitness business have a great reputation? Have you looked at their website and GOOGLE REVIEWS?
7. Do they have a membership base or a new flow of clients coming through the door because of their marketing efforts?
8. Do you feel comfortable with your immediate supervisor and the management team?
9. Do you feel you will flourish personally and professionally with this position?
10 Will it meet you financial and family needs?
Best Vertical Markets to Seek Top Personal Training Jobs
We will list the most favorable places to seek employment as a personal trainer. Even the best places to work, may have management issues and turnover. As in life, there are no guarantees!
1. Country Clubs are a wonderful place to work. Over 65% of country clubs have super fitness offerings. The management team are looking for qualified, experienced staff members that will fit in nicely with their members. The facilities are always top-shelf and compensation should meet or exceed what you need. Plus, all the members can afford personal training. Having additional certifications in rehab comes in handy as many of the members are having joint replacements and are also week-end warriors getting all types of injuries.
2. Medical Fitness Facilities are also a top place to land. All medical fitness facilities have an affiliation with a hospital/health care system. The more unique, advanced certifications you have will not only increase your chances of getting hired but will also become key when negotiating compensation.
3. High-end, multi-purpose health clubs. Look for the most expensive health clubs in your area and there is a great chance this will be provide you with an excellent job opportunity. Do not forget, an interview is a two-way street. You are interviewing them and their company as much as they are interviewing you. You should always have a notepad with questions you would like to ask potential employers.
4. YMCS’s and JCC’s can be good places to work as well. They usually have a decent culture and respect for employees. Also, the YMCA has a personal training certification/training program. This may be a beautiful place to land if you are just beginning your career as a personal trainer.
5. Park and recreation departments, colleges and universities and senior living facilities may offer unique opportunities, based on your certifications and passions.
6. Franchises and boutique fitness studios are a popular option based on the substantial number of these businesses across the U.S. You will be working for individual owners who have made the business investment. They may not have a lot of upfront compensation to invest in you. However, they also may have a tremendous need for quality trainers and if the comp plan and location meet your needs. This may be a good option. Also, if you are just starting your career as a trainer, they may offer you additional hours working at the front desk or membership sales to help you get started.
7. Finally, national big box chains (Large multi-purpose facilities), will always consider hiring personal trainers with any type of certification. A good place to start your career with little or no experience. These clubs usually have ongoing training, to help you become successful. They may also offer paid training for a limited time. They usually expect you to work all hours of the day, at the busiest times: Morning, noon and after work. If you do not have other responsibilities and live near the club, this may work out well. You can workout in between busty times and develop relationships with fellow employees and members.
8. Other unique opportunities for personal trainers are hotels, resorts, cruise ships and numerous online platforms.
Alan Cohen is a renowned fitness industry expert with more than 30+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry. He is the president and founder of FitnessJobs.com, the first recruitment website dedicated to the health and fitness industry. For more information on posting jobs or other staffing services, call FitnessJobs.com at 800-259-4397, or email email@example.com.