Fitness careers in Australia are extremely popular and competitive. If you’re looking to enter the industry (either as a personal trainer or not), this post is a must-read!
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Fitness careers and fitness related careers are a popular choice in Australia; it’s likely you know someone who is, or is thinking about, pursuing a career in this industry.
Many people who are passionate about living a fit and healthy lifestyle draw on this passion to build heart-led, successful careers.
Usually the immediate and obvious choice for fitness careers is personal training. And why not? This occupation has so many benefits, including the freedom to set working hours and make other business decisions, exemplifying a fit and healthy lifestyle, helping clients to make life-changing transformations, and so on.
However many people who wish to pursue a fitness career are hesitant to become a personal trainer. In this article, we’re going to explore alternative careers for personal trainers.
This post is about exploring fitness careers.
What are fitness careers?
There are many occupations that fall under the banner of ‘fitness careers’.
For the purposes of this article, I’ve covered occupations (including allied health professionals) that work with individuals or groups of people to improve their fitness outcomes (directly or indirectly).
Allied Health Professional is a broad term used to describe trained health professionals who are not doctors, dentists or nurses. These professionals offer services that can diagnose, treat or rehabilitate physical or mental health conditions.
I’ve included some allied health roles in this article as they often prescribe exercise as part of treatment/rehabilitation.
Career skills and traits you need for fitness careers
Fitness careers require a good mix of job-specific and transferable skills, and of course, career traits.
Below I’ve detailed some transferable skills and traits which are applicable to all the careers explored in this article.
Verbal communication/active listening (this needs to be very strong)
Attention to detail
Fitness careers list
Fitness careers can be categorised a number of ways:
- Requiring tertiary qualifications or vocational qualifications
- Directly or indirectly related to fitness
- By specialisation
Below is a Fitness careers list. This list isn’t exhaustive. I’ve included the broad titles of occupations as referenced by Australian learning institutions and government resources.
Fitness careers without degree
Fitness Instructor (gym instructor, group exercise instructor, group fitness instructor)
Outdoor Adventure Leader
Sports coach or instructor (including dance)
Gym or Studio manager/owner
Sports administration or customer service
Recreation administration or customer service
Fitness careers with degree
Dance Teacher (secondary teacher)
Health & Physical Education Teacher (secondary teacher)
Physiotherapist (including women’s health physiotherapist)
Australian Defence Force (ADF) jobs
The ADF promotes its roles to people interested in fitness careers, particularly the Army as the fitness entry requirements are higher than the other services.
The reality is that maintaining a baseline level of fitness is just one part of a military career. If you choose to join the ADF, you’ll have a military-specific occupation (such as an Artillery Operator) and you’ll be required to participate in sporting activities and regular fitness training.
Having said this, there are soldiers, aircraftmen/women and sailors who are full-time physical training instructors (PTIs). These positions are not open to external applicants; they’re recruited from within the services (apart from positions in the Air Force).
Careers in fitness that pay well
Many different fitness careers or fitness related careers can be lucrative, however it pays to be well-informed (no pun intended!) about what remuneration you might expect.
Below I’ve provided some average weekly pay figures in Australian Dollars which have been collected from the Australian Government funded site JobOutlook.
It’s important to note these figures are just an average! Salaries of fitness related workers can vary greatly and are influences by many factors.
These estimates are current at the time of writing, however don’t take into account the impact of COVID-19.
Fitness careers without degree
Fitness Instructors: $1,126 per week
Outdoor Adventure Guides/Instructors: $1,265 per week
Private Tutors and Teachers (such as Dance teachers): $1,122
Fitness careers with degree
Exercise Physiologists: $2,094
Secondary teacher: $1,914
Occupational Therapists: $1,569
It’s worth noting the average full-time adult weekly wage is $1,460.
Other fitness career considerations
Before you jump right into a fitness career, there is some essential information you need to know!
It’s encouraging to know that JobOutlook projects all occupations listed above have strong to very strong future growth 🙂
However fitness careers are competitive! JobOutlook tells us there are currently 37,800 workers in Australia who have stated that ‘Fitness Instructor’ (this includes personal trainer) is their main occupation. In the Australian labour market context, this is a large occupation!
Interestingly JobOutlook also tells us only 29% are full-time workers!!!
Plus JobOutlook advises full-time Fitness Instructors usually work around 45 hours per week which is slightly higher than the average full-time worker of 44 hours per week.
Note these labour market figures are different for the other occupational groups listed above.
How to choose vocational fitness courses
When considering which vocation fitness course to study, it’s important to choose carefully. There are sooo many providers (Registered Training Organisations or RTOs) which offer Certificate III & IV in Fitness in Australia.
A quick search of My Skills – Australia’s Training Directory returns 72 providers for Certificate IV in Fitness, however there are many more.
The quality and value of RTOs differ greatly. Fitness courses are very popular and fitness education is big business! Be sure to consider the following questions before selecting a course:
- What qualification will I receive on completion of this course?
- What exactly can I do with this qualification i.e. what are the career outcomes of the course?
- How do I learn best? Does this course support my learning preferences?
- Is the RTO respected amongst industry professionals and is reputable?
- How does the course fee compare to similar courses? Is it unusually high or low?
- Can I be accepted into a professional association with this qualification?
- Do I have any concerns about the professionalism of this RTO?
- Do I feel like just another number by the staff at this RTO?
- What support is offered at the end of the course to help me find a job?
- Is this RTO affiliated with a predominant fitness organisation I.e. a feeder RTO?
Always be aware of the kind of sales and marketing techniques the RTO is using. Are they using high-pressure sales techniques? Have they engaged a celebrity spokesperson? Are their ‘Career Advisors’ actually sales representatives?
I get asked frequently which course or provider I recommend. Below are a few options that have been recommended to me by fitness professionals. If you do consider these courses, make sure you review the checklist above to ensure these courses are right for you!
Clean Health Fitness Institute
Australian Institute of Personal Trainers
Fitness business considerations
Many of the fitness career options listed in this article provide an opportunity to start a fitness business. In fact, for roles like a personal trainer, it’s expected.
Completing baseline fitness courses like a Certificate III or IV in Fitness may ensure you are qualified to start a fitness business, however this doesn’t mean you have the skills to do so! Very little business management is taught in these qualifications.
It’s highly recommended you complete additional business qualifications or find a mentor to complement the goals you have for your fitness business.
Many people consider fitness careers from a passion for a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Many people become personal trainers, however there is a large variety of fitness related careers to explore!
The key is to remain open-minded to career exploration and firm up your career interests, values, traits and skills.
Now you know more about fitness careers and related options, will you pursue a career in this industry?
This post was about exploring fitness careers
Hi there, I'm Danielle Ward
Your go-to career development and human resource practitioner, guiding your career towards true north.