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Fitness Instructor Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Fitness Instructor. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Fitness Instructor
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Fitness Instructor Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Fitness instructors are responsible for showing people how to do exercises and use exercise equipment correctly to improve their fitness levels. They supervise clients in either group or one-to-one sessions.

Instructors can work in a variety of contexts including:

  • exercise to music
  • gym
  • circuits
  • step
  • aqua.

At a more senior level they may work as exercise and fitness practitioners or lifestyle consultants. Their responsibilities consist of assessing the general health and physical fitness of individuals, planning and changing exercise programmes and monitoring their progress. They may also advise on other lifestyle matters such as diet.
Full-time instructors may have administrative or publicity duties.

Leisure centre assistants and recreation assistants and supervisors may also instruct people who use centres.

Hours and Environment:

Full-time fitness instructors normally work 47-48 hours a week, often on a shift and rota basis to cover evenings and weekends. Many people work part-time or on a freelance basis. Sessions normally last one or two hours.

Instructors work in gyms, swimming pools or other areas of a health centre. Some instruct in schools or community rooms, or in clients'' homes as personal trainers. Some travel may be involved, usually local.

Some associated tasks can be dusty, wet, smelly or strenuous e.g. cleaning, chlorinating the pool, and setting up equipment.

Skills and Interests:

To be a health and fitness instructor you should:

  • have a high standard of physical fitness
  • be aware of the risks to individuals in exercising
  • be patient, caring and interested in people
  • be good at explaining things in easy to understand language
  • be good at encouraging people to learn exercise routines and to keep them up
  • have a sense of rhythm for teaching exercise to music.


It is not necessary to have formal academic qualifications to be a health and fitness instructor but you will normally need to be over 18 and have a NVQ, Related Vocational Qualification (RVQ) or industry award to obtain public liability insurance.

It would also be helpful to have an awareness of, and be working towards, membership of the Register of Exercise Professionals, which aims to regulate and professionalise the exercise and fitness industry and is backed by the Fitness Industry Association (FIA). Members must adhere to a code of practice which promotes standards, quality and customer welfare. The register maintains details of approved instructors and entry is by holding an approved qualification, insurance and a cardio-pulmonary resuscitation certificate (commonly known as CPR).

The UK Exercise and Fitness Management Group identifies two stages in the process of becoming fully qualified to teach exercise and fitness. Stage One is the acquisition and development of basic skills and knowledge in a controlled and safe environment. Stage Two is the further development of these skills in a place of employment.

Entry is possible through vocational qualifications, industry awards or equivalent, which include:

Central YMCA Qualifications (CYQ) - Certificate in Fitness Instructing (Gym, Exercise to Music, Circuit Training, Step and Aqua)
OCR - Certificate in Teaching Exercise and Fitness, in Exercise to Music, Gym, Circuits, Step and Aqua
a Teachers'' Certificate from the Keep Fit Association
holding a PTI class 3 certificate from the military
David Lloyd Leisure Expert Level 2 Coach
Lifetime Health and Fitness - gym, circuits, step, aqua and exercise to music.


NVQ/SVQ Levels 1-3 in Sport, Recreation and Allied Occupations (Coaching, teaching and instructing) are available as on-the-job training from City and Guilds (C&G), OCR, Edexcel and SQA. An alternative may be OCR Instructing Exercise and Fitness NVQ 2, and at NVQ levels 3-4, the C&G (4832) in Sport, Recreation and Allied Occupations is also available.

Sports Coach UK offers an extensive programme of personal development courses for coaches from all sports and at every level. All courses provide necessary underpinning knowledge to help coaches generate evidence for the NVQs/SVQs in coaching.

The Armed Forces offer the same awards as those recognised by civilian sporting bodies.

Throughout your career you should also keep up to date with new trends and developments in exercise techniques and fitness classes as part of your Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) may be available for people aged 16-24.
For details see: MAPPs (England); Skillseekers MAPPs (Scotland); National Traineeships MAPPs (Wales); and MAPPs (Northern Ireland).


This is a growing industry but there is strong competition for places. Employers include local authority leisure centres or in one of the many clubs and centres in the private sector. These range from small gyms catering for a small local area to large high quality facilities and health farms on the edge of towns or in commercial or residential areas.

Tour operators who run fitness activities for holidaymakers in overseas resorts also employ health and fitness instructors. There may be other opportunities to work abroad, especially for those who work for an international hotel chain.

In council-run leisure centres promotion could be from assistant to senior, and then to supervisory and managerial posts.

There are opportunities to become self-employed.

Some instructors undertake further training and move into teaching other instructors, personal training or coaching a sport.

Annual Income:

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Health and fitness instructors start around £7,000 a year. Average pay is about £10,000.
Experienced instructors earn between £12,000 and £14,000 a year.

Freelance instructors are usually paid at a rate of between £10 and £20 an hour.

Further information:

Register of Exercise Professionals
Charter House
29a London Road
Tel: 020 8686 6464

YMCA Fitness Industry Training
111 Great Russell Street
Tel: 020 7343 1850

Sports Coach UK
114 Cardigan Road
Tel: 0113 274 4802

Other Useful Fitness Instructor Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Fitness Instructor job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Fitness Instructor Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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