Careers in fitness are expected to grow in the coming years according to the American Council on Exercise or ACE. The growth in the health and fitness job market reflects an increasingly unhealthy general population that needs to get fit. Fitness-related careers cover many different areas from fitness instruction to sports medicine and lots of things in between.
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Personal trainers provide one-on-one fitness instruction and workout planning for their clients. Standards for personal trainer certifications vary. Certifications by the American College of Sports Medicine and National Strength and Conditioning Association require a high school diploma, CPR with automated electric defibrillator certification, and passing a certification exam. A 2010 survey by the American Council on Exercise reports average salary information for ACE certified personal trainers as $53,323 a year for those working full time, while part time trainers earned $18,650. The survey also found that salary of personal trainers increased with their education level.
Fitness careers also include jobs related to treating and preventing injuries. The American College of Sports Medicine explains that athletic trainers work with teams, athletes and coaches to help keep athletes healthy and recover from injury as quickly as possible. An undergraduate degree from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is one of the requirements you must meet to take the National Athletic Trainer's Association licensing exam.
Group Fitness Instructor
While personal trainers work with exercisers individually, group fitness instructors teach group classes. These classes may contain individuals from a variety of fitness backgrounds and states of fitness. Examples of group fitness classes include Pilates, yoga, water aerobics and general body conditioning. The 2010 ACE survey found that full time group fitness instructors earned $47,659 a year, with part time instructors earning $12,451 annually. Certification standards vary but are similar to those for personal trainers.
Going Beyond the Gym
There is a variety of other fitness related career choices to consider. If you enjoy working directly with others to improve their health and fitness, a career in physical therapy, sports medicine, dietetics or sports nutrition are rewarding careers. If working one-on-one with clients is not for you, fitness careers in media -- writing and telecommunications -- are other options. Research and teaching in the areas of exercise physiology and kinesiology are fitness academic careers you can pursue with advanced graduate degrees.