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Career profile Exercise Trainer

Also known as Aerobics Instructor, Fitness Coordinator, Fitness Instructor, Fitness Specialist, Fitness Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, Group Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor

Exercise Trainer

Also known as Aerobics Instructor, Fitness Coordinator, Fitness Instructor

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Realistic
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$21,640 - $76,550 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Education and Training
  • Psychology
Core tasks
  • Observe participants and inform them of corrective measures necessary for skill improvement.
  • Evaluate individuals' abilities, needs, and physical conditions, and develop suitable training programs to meet any special requirements.
  • Plan routines, choose appropriate music, and choose different movements for each set of muscles, depending on participants' capabilities and limitations.
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What does an Exercise Trainer do?

Exercise Trainers instruct or coach groups or individuals in exercise activities for the primary purpose of personal fitness.

In addition, Exercise Trainers

  • demonstrate techniques and form, observe participants, and explain to them corrective measures necessary to improve their skills,
  • develop and implement individualized approaches to exercise.

What kind of tasks does an Exercise Trainer perform regularly?

Exercise Trainers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Observe participants and inform them of corrective measures necessary for skill improvement.
  • Evaluate individuals' abilities, needs, and physical conditions, and develop suitable training programs to meet any special requirements.
  • Plan routines, choose appropriate music, and choose different movements for each set of muscles, depending on participants' capabilities and limitations.
  • Offer alternatives during classes to accommodate different levels of fitness.
  • Teach proper breathing techniques used during physical exertion.
  • Monitor participants' progress and adapt programs as needed.
  • Explain and enforce safety rules and regulations governing sports, recreational activities, and the use of exercise equipment.
  • Instruct participants in maintaining exertion levels to maximize benefits from exercise routines.
  • Teach and demonstrate use of gymnastic and training equipment, such as trampolines and weights.
  • Administer emergency first aid, wrap injuries, treat minor chronic disabilities, or refer injured persons to physicians.
  • Provide students with information and resources regarding nutrition, weight control, and lifestyle issues.
  • Maintain equipment inventories, and select, store, or issue equipment as needed.

The above responsibilities are specific to Exercise Trainers. More generally, Exercise Trainers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Training and Teaching Others
Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Coaching and Developing Others
Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

What is an Exercise Trainer salary?

The median salary for an Exercise Trainer is $40,510, and the average salary is $45,650. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Exercise Trainer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Exercise Trainers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Exercise Trainers earn less than $21,640 per year, 25% earn less than $27,840, 75% earn less than $57,490, and 90% earn less than $76,550.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Exercise Trainers is expected to change by 39.3%, and there should be roughly 69,100 open positions for Exercise Trainers every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$21,640 - $76,550
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Exercise Trainers?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Exercise Trainer are usually higher in their Social, Realistic, and Enterprising interests.

Exercise Trainers typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Exercise Trainers typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Lastly, Exercise Trainers typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Exercise Trainer tend to value Relationships, Achievement, and Independence.

Most importantly, Exercise Trainers very strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Exercise Trainers moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Exercise Trainers moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Exercise Trainers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, concern for others, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Exercise Trainers, ranked by importance:

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Social Orientation
Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Exercise Trainers need?

Exercise Trainers often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Exercise Trainers usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Exercise Trainers

  • 2.1% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 8.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 19.4% completed some college coursework
  • 9.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 44.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 12.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 2.7% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Exercise Trainers

Exercise Trainers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, education and training, or psychology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Exercise Trainers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Sales and Marketing
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

Important Abilities needed by Exercise Trainers

Exercise Trainers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Exercise Trainers need abilities such as extent flexibility, oral expression, and stamina in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Exercise Trainers, ranked by their relative importance.

Extent Flexibility
The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
Gross Body Coordination
The ability to coordinate the movement of your arms, legs, and torso together when the whole body is in motion.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

Critical Skills needed by Exercise Trainers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Exercise Trainers frequently use skills like instructing, service orientation, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Exercise Trainers, ranked by their relative importance.

Teaching others how to do something.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Learning Strategies
Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.