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Fitness instructor

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Summary of occupation

Fitness instructors help people improve and maintain their fitness through exercise programs and tailored fitness classes. They work with people in groups, or one-on-one, and assess their fitness, develop individual fitness routines and teach them how to use gym equipment and weights correctly. They also work with individuals who are training for a particular sport or event, or who may be recovering from physical illness or injury.

ANZSCO description: Directs, instructs and guides individuals or groups in the pursuit of physical fitness and wellbeing.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Aerobics Instructor, Aqua Aerobics Instructor, Gym Instructor, Physical Fitness Trainer, Swimming Instructor
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A fitness instructor needs

  • a friendly, supportive and motivating personality
  • excellent communication skills
  • excellent physical fitness
  • good organisational skills
  • the ability to work both independently and in a team.
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Working conditions

Fitness instructors work in gyms, fitness clubs and leisure centres, which can be noisy and crowded. They are often required to work shift work for early morning or late evening fitness classes or client appointments. Some fitness instructors work on a casual basis and may work at a number of different locations.

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Salary details

On average, fitness instructors can expect to earn between $765 and $880 per week ($39 775 and $45 739 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a fitness instructor develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

Once qualified, many personal trainers run their own small business. Earnings will depend on the level of demand for their services, as well as their level of skill and experience.

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Tools and technologies

Fitness instructors use gym and pool equipment, weights, steps, pads, mats and safety gear during training. They also may use fitness testing equipment such as heart-rate monitors and scales to gauge a client's progress. When leading large fitness classes, they often use stereo systems and microphones.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a fitness instructor you usually need to complete a formal qualification in fitness.

The Certificate III in Fitness and the Certificate IV in Fitness are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship. The fitness instructor (group exercise), (gym), (aquatic) or exercise trainer (personal trainer) traineeships usually take 24 months to complete.

You will be required to have a current Provide First Aid Certificate.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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