Fitness Instructors' Salaries

I have recieved numerous hits and questions regarding what an instructor actually makes for teaching classes.  Unfortunately, I do not have an answer that applies across the board, but I can shed some light on the question.

First, Group Fitness Instructors rarely earn a salary.  Most often, they are paid an hourly wage or a fixed amount  per class that they teach.  How high that wage is depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Experience.  I have worked at clubs that gave you a raise every year that you taught for them or everytime you earned another certification.
  • Geography.  Depending on the cost of living or minimum wage in your area, the wage might be higher or lower.  Although, interestingly enough, I get paid more in Charleston, SC than I did at any of the clubs I taught for in NYC.  Go figure.
  • Club Exclusivity.  Working for the most exclusive club in your area is certain to yield higher income than the public gym, although this is not a hard and fast rule.  There are some places that want only the best, and they pay to acquire them.
  • Class Attendance.  It isn’t common, but yes, you might earn a sort of “commission” based on how many attendees you have.  How much and the cutoff are completely dependent upon the health club.

I think a fair ballpark for the average GFI is somewhere between $15 and $25 per hour-long class.  It is just a guess, of course, but it is based on my experience.  Then, if you figure that you are teaching the maximum recommended number of classes per week (no more than 12 according to AFAA to stay safe), you are pulling in $180 – $300 per week before taxes or $800 – $1300 per month.  However, I don’t know too many instructors who teach more than 6 per week.

Also,  instructors often are given perks, such as free gym membership, sometimes for spouses too, and discounts on merchandise, training, or services.  Even so, many instructors (myself included) don’t teach to make money.  By the time you purchase gear, music, shoes, and continuing education, you haven’t even broken even.  In order to profit from group fitness, you have to find creative ways to charge for your services, which I blogged about last month.  Check out How to Make $100 or More Per Class.

 I hope that helps!


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