Aerobics Instructors and Fitness Trainers


Employment Prospects


Approximately 308,470 aerobics instructors and fitness trainers are employed in the United States. Most aerobics instructors work for fitness centers and gymnasiums. Most employers are for-profit businesses, but some are community based, such as the YMCA or a family center. Other job possibilities can be found in corporate fitness centers, colleges, retirement centers, and resorts.

Some fitness trainers work in more than one facility. Others are self-employed and take clients on an appointment basis, working either in personal homes or in a public gym. Approximately 10 percent of fitness trainers and instructors are self-employed. Some fitness trainers will work with high-profile athletes on a one-on-one basis to meet specific fitness requirements.

Most medium to large cities have one or more gyms or fitness centers; smaller towns may not have any such facilities. However, there may be limited openings at retirement homes, schools, and community centers in these small towns.

Starting Out

Students should use their schools' career services offices for information on available jobs. Often, facilities that provide training or internships will hire or provide job leads to individuals who have completed programs. Fitness instructor jobs are also advertised in classified ads and on the Web sites of health and fitness clubs, YMCAs, YWCAs, Jewish community centers, local schools, park districts, church groups, and other fitness organizations. Because exercise is understood to be a preventive measure for many health and medical problems, insurance companies often reward businesses that offer fitness facilities to their employees with lower insurance rates. As a result, local companies may also have opportunities for fitness instructors and trainers.

Advancement Prospects

Experienced aerobics instructors can become instructor trainers, providing tips and insight on how to lead a class and what routines work well.

A bachelor's degree in either sports physiology or exercise physiology is especially beneficial for those who want to advance to the position of health club director or to teach corporate wellness programs.

Fitness trainers working at schools can advance from assistant positions to head athletic director, which may involve relocating to another school. Fitness trainers can advance to instruct new fitness trainers in college. They also can work in sports medicine facilities, usually in rehabilitation work. In health clubs, fitness trainers can advance to become health club directors or work in administration. Often, fitness trainers who build up a reputation and a clientele go into business for themselves as personal trainers.

Tips for Entry

Read industry publications such as American Fitness to stay abreast of developments in the field and learn about job opportunities.

Visit the following Web site for job listings:

Join professional associations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.