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Fitness instructor jobs

Type of Job

Working as a fitness instructor, you will help both groups and individuals with exercise programs designed to help them improve their health and fitness.

What is the job about?

Fitness instructors often specialise in a particular area such as yoga, Pilates, keep fit, aquacise or weight training. The job involves:

  • Performing fitness assessments, consultations and inductions with new clients
  • Showing clients how to exercise safely and effectively
  • Supervising exercise machines and free weight areas
  • Leading group exercise classes - anything from circuit training to aerobics
  • Designing personal exercise programmes
  • Providing advice on healthy living

At some clubs you might also work with specialist groups such as older adults, children, people with disabilities or clients referred by doctors.

In smaller clubs, it is also common for fitness instructors to perform routine duties such as working at reception or performing health and safety checks.

Key Skills & Knowledge needed

In addition to a good knowledge of exercise and nutrition, you will need to be a people person, happy working with the public. The ability to motivate and enthuse people is also crucial, as is a positive attitude to health and safety.

Qualifications and experience needed

There are various routes to becoming a fitness instructor. You can complete a nationally-recognised qualification before starting work or start as an assistant instructor and complete work-based qualifications.

Nationally-recognised qualifications include The Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing approved by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) - this is considered the industry standard and will allow you to gain level 2 entry on the REPs, (also known as the 'Exercise Register'), which will most employers require.

The Level 2 is awarded by various bodies including City & Guilds, Active IQ, VTCT, CYQ, EDI, OCR, Lifetime Awarding and NCFE. You can choose to specialize in gym, exercise to music, aqua and physical activity for children.

It is also possible to start work as an assistant instructor and complete your training while working under the supervision of a qualified instructor.

What other training and development could I do?

Fitness instructors can further their career by taking higher level or more specialized training. You can take the Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training, or other industry-recognised awards offered by employers and universities.

Level 4 Specialist Instructor qualifications allow you to focus on designing and adapting physical activity programmes for:

  • Cardiac disease
  • Mental health
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Fall prevention
  • Strokes
  • Back pain

Salary and benefit expectations

Starting range from ?13,000 a year up to around ?20,000. Freelance instructors can expect to earn ?10 to ?20 an hour.

Where else can I go for more information?

You can get information from:

Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs)
3rd Floor
8-10 Crown Hill
Tel: 020 8686 6464

OCR Information Bureau
Tel: 024 7685 1509

Castlewood House
77-91 New Oxford Street
Advice line: 08000 933300

YMCA Fitness Industry Training

Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT)
3rd Floor
Eastleigh House
Upper Market Street
SO50 9FD
Tel: 023 8068 4500

Central YMCA Qualifications (CYQ)

Active IQ

City & Guilds
Tel: 0844 543 0033