Fitness workers assist, instruct, or coach different individuals and groups in a variety of fitness activities. These workers usually specialize in one or two areas such as weightlifting, yoga, aerobics, and karate. Their specific duties depend on their specific job title. Fitness trainers assist clients in making and reaching their individual fitness goals. They demonstrate exercise techniques for the client and then assist the client in mastering those techniques. They often maintain detailed records of their clients’ exercise sessions so that they are able to gauge progress.
Personal trainers work exclusively with one client at a time, usually in a gym or at their home. Aerobics instructors lead group exercises that may include aerobic exercising, stretching, and muscle conditioning. Fitness directors manage the overall operation of fitness programs of health clubs or fitness centers. They develop and maintain programs that enhance the experience of the facility’s members.
Important qualities for fitness workers to possess include physical fitness and excellent mental health. They should have outgoing personalities. They should be adept at motivating people and at holding a group’s interest in an activity. They need to be sensitive to the various needs of a diverse population of people.
In 2002, fitness workers earned a median hourly wage of $11.51. The following shows the median hourly wages in the industries employing the highest numbers of fitness workers:
- Other amusement and recreation industries — $13.81
- Civic and social organizations — $9.24
- Other schools and instruction — $8.93
Training and Education
Training and educational requirements for fitness worker positions vary greatly from job to job. Certification in a specialized field of fitness is often required. Such fields include personal training, weight training, and aerobics. Certification usually lasts two years and then workers are required to become recertified by attending continuing education classes. Most workers must have a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification and some are required to have a first aid certificate.
Many employers now require their employees to hold a bachelor’s degree in an area such as exercise science or physical education. Some employers allow workers to substitute a college degree for certification. In order for workers to advance to managerial positions in a health or fitness club, they usually need to have a bachelor’s degree, and sometimes a master’s degree, along with work experience. Many workers have their own businesses as personal trainers in addition to their job in a health club or gym. Some even open their own fitness centers.
In 2002, fitness workers held about 285,00 jobs. Almost all worked in physical fitness facilities.
Between 2002 and 2012, employment of fitness workers is expected to increase much faster than the average. More people are expected to spend time and money on recreation and leisure services. A rising interest in personal training, aerobics instruction, and other fitness activities will add to the demand for these workers. Opportunities will be best for those with a combination of job experience and formal training, particularly bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
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