Are you one of those fitness enthusiasts who’s always offering help and encouragement to others at the gym? Do you have an ever-growing collection of fitness trackers? Is fitness such a big part of your life? That you sometimes feel like you might as well make a living at it somehow?
If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. And now may be the perfect time to embark on a fitness training career. Demand for fitness professionals is growing fast, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And is expected to keep growing well into the future.
Why the Time is Right for a Fitness Career
Why is the job market for fitness professionals growing so rapidly? Here are a few main reasons:
- Aging baby boomers. The boomer generation is one of the first generations most likely to live longer than their parents. This means a significant portion of the population living longer and looking to stay fit and maintain their health. As the boomer generation grows older, demand for specialized trainers will only increase. Even for those in their 40s and 50s looking to prepare for the onset of aging.
- Obesity rate. Almost 35 percent of the U.S. population could be classified as obese. Health officials are concerned about the long-term health effects of obesity, particularly among children. And more and more overweight individuals are looking to take control of their weight and health to combat these adverse effects.
- Company fitness programs. Just as more individuals are growing increasingly aware of the importance of good health. So too are employers looking to maximize the benefits of a healthy workforce. Many companies are now offering fitness packages and incentive programs to help their employees exercise more. And participate in health programs. This means more demand for specialized trainers to work with these companies. Sometimes working on-site to plan and organize on-site fitness programs.
The broad demand for fitness professionals means a wide variety of opportunities for fitness fanatics to carve out a lucrative career for themselves. Here are a few ways you could make a living doing what you love.
Physical Education Teacher
While the stereotype of the unskilled, apathetic gym teacher is still common, in reality, being a physical education teacher can be both rewarding and demanding. A phys ed teacher is responsible for creating lesson plans, organizing physical activities for students, and evaluating their progress. A physical education teacher must have a bachelor’s degree and a license. And can command a salary of about $60K a year.
As the name implies, athletic trainers work with amateur and professional athletes to help maximize their performance, prevent and treat injuries, provide emergency care, and more. An athletic trainer is responsible for setting exercise schedules, guiding progress, and being there when a physician cannot. This is an ideal career for those who love guiding others on their fitness journey and can earn up to $50K a year.
Fitness / Personal Trainer
Fitness trainers typically work in gyms and fitness centers. Their responsibilities can include teaching or leading classes and working closely with clients to help with their fitness regimen. A personal trainer must obviously be in peak physical condition to inspire confidence in their clients. And should ideally have the best certifications in nutrition and personal training. Many personal trainers also specialize within their field, teaching a particular style of regimen or type of client.
Sports coaching is a great career choice for fitness enthusiasts who love the spirit of competition and helping others come together as a team. Akin to a physical education teacher, a sports coach’s responsibilities are broader. They must train, guide, and inspire amateur athletes to be the best they can be.
A career in physical therapy is not only financially rewarding (up to $89,000 a year) but also personally rewarding for those wanting to help improve quality of life for others. Physical therapists help people rehabilitate from injuries, manage chronic conditions, and build healthy habits that will make their lives better.
Functional Movement Specialist
A functional movement specialist often finds work in wellness centers or facilities that work with the elderly or those with movement disorders. Learning the intricacies of functional movement is also recommended for fitness trainers to help them spot, assess and correct improper movement patterns to help avoid injury.
Health Club Manager
Managing a health club is one of the most well-paid jobs in the industry. Earning up to $77,000 a year or more. A health club manager is not only responsible for coordinating staff and maintaining equipment, but making the club a friendly and inviting place. Health club management puts a greater focus on the business side of fitness. But is a great choice for fitness fanatics who want to help others become just as enthusiastic as they are.