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Tips for Finding a Personal Training Job with a Gym or Studio

If you are reading this, you are newly certified, or just looking for a different place to land your personal training job and are not sure where to look first. Well, you have plenty of options for jobs at gyms or studios before considering branching out into your own business.

After all, it’s ideal to have experience as an employee of a successful company so you can take those skills and insights and apply them to your own path to success. So let’s go over some options for preferences, what to watch out for, and best of all, what gyms pay the best.

What type of gym?

You as a fitness professional probably have your own set of values and preferences for training and coaching clients. When on the hunt for a gym or studio to get a personal training job at, you want to be sure that company’s values and preferences align with yours enough that you would feel comfortably employed there.

So before accepting all those job offers you are going to get, do your research on the companies themselves.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Am I certified in everything I need to be certified in to train effectively at this business?
  • Do they provide benefits and insurance coverage for their trainers? Will they contribute to my continued education credits?
  • What type of training style is the most common? Are there fitness classes? Or just individual training sessions?
  • How will they pay me? Do I earn hourly with commission? Do I have to meet a quota for booked sessions to earn a base pay? Will it be a 1099 contract or W2?
  • Am I going to need to sell anything more than just personal training? i.e. supplements, equipment, or clothing.
  • Am I comfortable with what this company sells and do I agree with the values behind selling these items?

What do gyms usually pay?

Some gyms have a better business model and overall culture than others. Many of the following gyms are great starting points for a personal training job, but be aware of how much you need to make, how much effort and elbow grease you will have to put in, and how much support for your success you will receive from your team.

Planet Fitness

Planet fitness does not offer any bonuses or commission for training sessions and pays starting at minimum wage and goes up with experience. This is a job that would be good to practice your pay negotiation skills if you already have enough experience that you feel you should earn more than minimum wage for.

For a job listing here in Denver, Colorado, the wage range is from $14.77 to $17.72 an hour.

You will have access to full benefits, a 401K, and a free premium membership at any Planet Fitness around the country.

LA Fitness

LA Fitness provides a free gym membership and health benefits, but no 401K. You make minimum wage when not working with clients and make around $15 an hour when working with clients.

LA Fitness also employs a sales staff to help generate leads to you as the trainer. Therefore, you can rely on their support, but it’s up to you to make the conversion.

Golds Gym

The average pay for personal trainers at Golds is $19 an hour, but according to job listings the pay range is between $18-20 per hour. Benefits offered depend on the franchise.

Orange Theory

For high end fitness, you can expect to have a heftier pay rate at an average of $27 per hour. However, this varies depending on how many sessions you book and the commission rate on those sessions.

You have a free membership to all gyms, however benefits depend on the franchise.


Has a very clear payment structure for its clients and you earn at least $26 per session. If you exceed 95 sessions per month, then you will incrementally earn a bonus at the end of the month starting at $2.75 extra per session. You can earn up to $8 per session as a bonus!

Personal Training Job Pay Scale at Equinox
Source: Equinox

Equinox also offers a multitude of educational programs to ensure that you are training clients with the most up-to-date knowledge. It bases the tiers on your education through Equinox workshops, training programs, and specific third-party certifications. At each tier, you increase your earning potential.

They provide health benefits, 401k, and a free gym membership to all equinox gyms as well.


This organization pays for all continuing education credits for its personal trainers as well as all recertification fees. Full-time employees also receive health benefits, 401k, disability benefits, and life insurance. The Y is another gym that has a pay scale in tiers. Starting wage is $15 per session

Do you have the right certifications?

Most gyms and studios require a nationally accredited certification from places like ACE, NASM, ISSA, NSCA, ACSM, NESTA, and so on.

However, depending on what types of classes and clients you want to work with, you might need some additional certifications. A certification that will kick options wide open is a group fitness certification.

Group fitness is popular among all gyms and studios, no matter what the size. You want to be able to cater to clients one on one, but also be able to hop into a group setting. This will create more opportunities for booking sessions and earning more money.

Many corporate gyms have tiered systems for advancement, so if you are more certified to cater to a wider audience, then you will have more grounds for advancing compared to other trainers who can only work with clients one on one.


Pay for a job is only half of the importance. Make sure, while you are on your hunt, that the culture, values, and training style are aligned with yours. You also want to ensure that you will have the support from your team to help land more sessions and continue improving on your training and sales skills so that you can be the most successful you can be.

You can gauge these things based on your initial interview, so have your questions ready! Do not be afraid to negotiate your wage either. Never settle for less than what your service is worth.

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