Online-Only Trainers Earned More Than The $46,000 Average Trainer Salary in 2019, Survey Found

The average income for personal trainers in 2019 was $46,000 per year, but trainers who only coached online made an average of $54,000 in 2019, according to a survey by Personal Trainer Development Center.

The survey of 1,169 trainers—55 percent living in the United States, 17 percent living in Europe, 14 percent living in Canada and the other 14 percent living in other countries—was conducted online from Aug. 6-13, 2020.  

After health clubs in many countries were forced to close in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 58 percent of respondents lost some or all of their income, and 23 percent were furloughed or laid off. Six percent had yet to find new jobs as of Aug. 13. One in five respondents made more money during the pandemic, and about the same number said their income didn't change.

Before the pandemic, 60 percent of trainers responding to the survey worked with their clients in person, 7 percent coached online only, and 32 percent combined in-person and online training. The trainers who coached only online before the pandemic made an average of $54,000 in 2019 (17 percent more than the overall sample) while those who trained online and in-person made an average of $52,250 in 2019 (14 percent more than the overall sample).

The way trainers will coach after the pandemic will change, according to respondents. Twenty-one percent plan to work primarily online—a 300 percent increase from prior to the pandemic. Sixty-two percent plan to combine in-person and online training. Only 14 percent of respondents plan to coach primarily in person, which is a 75 percent decline. One percent said they will leave the fitness industry.

The survey respondents were not asked to identify their race, but they were asked to share their education level, age and gender. Fifty percent of respondents had a bachelor's degree, and 19 percent had a master's degree or beyond. The average age of respondents was 38 years old. Seventy-one percent of the respondents were 25 to 44 years old. Almost 59 percent of respondents were male, close to 40 percent were female and the remaining 0.38 percent were nonbinary.

Female respondents trended older and had fewer certifications than the male trainers. Women made an average of $40,000 in 2019 while men made an average of $50,800. Salaries for female trainers increased 7 percent while male trainer salaries decreased 5 percent from the prior year’s survey, but despite that, women still only made 80 percent of what men made.

The Personal Trainer Development Center is an information and education source for fitness professionals. The survey was sent to PTDC’s email list and posted to its Facebook groups (Online Trainers Unite and Fit Pros Unite).

To view the full results of the report, go here.