Fitness instructor

Fitness instructors organise exercise programmes to improve people's health and fitness.

Annual Salary

£14,000 to £30,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 3% more Fitness instructor jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You could work in a gym, health club or leisure centre.

If you're self-employed you could run classes in schools and community centres, or outdoors in a public space like a park.

You could also do a mixture of employed and self-employed work.

Some employers will allow you to use their gym for your private clients in return for unpaid work.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • assessing people's fitness and creating personal exercise programmes
  • demonstrating activities, exercise machines and weights
  • helping people exercise safely
  • leading group exercise classes like circuit training or aerobics
  • giving advice on healthy eating and lifestyle
  • keeping records
  • following health and safety guidelines and maintaining equipment
  • marketing your classes


You can do a recognised qualification like:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing
  • Level 2 Diploma in Fitness and Exercise Instruction
  • Level 3 Diploma in Gym Instructing and Personal Training

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course


You could get into this career through an intermediate apprenticeship in exercise and fitness or as a leisure team member.

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship

Other Routes

You can do qualifications through private training companies who offer specialist courses like:

  • fitness instruction
  • personal training
  • gym instructing

There are no set requirements. You can start as an assistant instructor at a sports centre and train on the job, or take a qualification in fitness instruction.

The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) and The Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) have details about training.

You'll need a first aid certificate and clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

You'll also need public indemnity and professional liability insurance, which may be supplied by your employer.

£14,000 to £30,000

Starter salary: £14,000

Experienced salary: £15,000 to £20,000

Self-employed instructors can earn £10 to £30 an hour, depending on location and client group.

These figures are a guide.


You'll usually work around 40 hours a week. You could work shifts covering early mornings, evenings and weekends.

You may need a driving licence to travel to clients or a more remote location like a spa.

You could take further training to become a personal trainer or teach extra activities.

With experience and qualifications, you could become a senior instructor or manager. You could also start your own fitness club.

You can join the Register of Exercise Professionals and the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity for professional development and to help with your career prospects.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to motivate and inspire people
  • excellent communication skills
  • planning and organisational skills
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
Please sign in to compare your skills to this job. Sign in

To save or view your choices and results you must sign in or register (takes 1 minute).

Sign in Register