Fitness workers instruct groups and individuals in various physical or exercise activities like yoga, aerobics and weightlifting. They demonstrate proper techniques, keep clients' workout records and conduct group aerobic or stretching sessions. Though most work in fitness centers and health clubs, these workers' "offices" can be as exotic as atop a cruise ship.
Training and Education
There are no formal educational requirements for fitness instructors, but most jobs require certification classes in their specialized field. Certification generally must be renewed every two years. In addition, most fitness workers must be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and some employers require first aid training.
Excellent physical fitness and health is extremely important for a fitness instructor career, due to the nature of the job. Instructors should also be outgoing, good motivators and sensitive to others' needs.
Fitness trainers help clients assess their personal fitness level and help them set and attain their fitness goals. They also demonstrate exercise techniques and keep records of their clients' exercise sessions and progress. Personal trainers work with clients one-on-one in a gym or at home. Aerobics instructors conduct group exercise classes that emphasize aerobic exercise, stretching and muscle conditioning.
Seasonal employment is common in this field; some college students and teachers work as fitness instructors when school is not in session.
Pros and Cons of a Career in Fitness
This job is ideal for outgoing, energetic, healthy people who can't stand the idea of wearing a suit and tie. The hours are generally regular. However, the physical nature of the job puts workers at risk for injuries.
Median hourly earnings of fitness instructors and trainers were $11.51 in 2002, according to the BLS.
Fitness training and instructing jobs are expected to grow much faster than average through 2012, due to increased public interest in fitness activities. As people spend more time and money on gym memberships and other wellness programs, job opportunities will grow to keep pace.
Source: BLS September 2004
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