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ACE Announces Results of 2010 Fitness Professional Salary Survey

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (October 13, 2010)—The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s leading authority on fitness and the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world, has released the findings from its 2010 salary survey of fitness professionals.  The survey, conducted by an independent third-party research firm, was completed by nearly 3,000 fitness professionals in an effort to better understand the education and occupational levels of the industry and their associated salaries.  The study results reveal an overall increase in annual salary rates and benefits for full-time fitness professionals across all categories, with fitness professionals in the North Central region of the U.S. who hold Master’s degrees and advanced fitness certifications indicating a higher income and more benefits than any other demographic.

“We believe that the information gained from this survey will prove to be incredibly valuable for fitness professionals, as well as facility managers and owners,” said Scott Goudeseune, ACE president and CEO.  “We hope that the survey results provide guidance for career-defining decisions, as they showcase the incredible amount of opportunity that exists within the fitness industry.  Even in the midst of a recession, the average salary rates for full-time fitness professionals, personal trainers and club owners have exponentially increased from 2005, which only reiterates the stability of this industry.” 

The following provides a glimpse into the survey’s findings:

  • Increased Average Salary Rates for Full-Time Professionals: The annual salary rates for full-time personal trainers have increased almost 20 percent since 2005.  Salaries for professionals with Group Fitness Instructor certifications have also increased over the past five years, while part-time salaries have generally declined. 
  • Average Salary by State/Region and Fitness Certification Type: The top five locations reporting the highest annual income for fitness professionals include the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Kansas and Maine.  Overall, full-time fitness professionals are earning more across most regions compared to 2005, the exception being personal trainers in the Northwest.  Professionals with Personal Training or Group Fitness Instructor certifications earn the most money in the Northeast, whereas full-time lifestyle and weight management consultants and advanced health and fitness specialists earn the most in the North Central region. 
  • Education Levels Positively Related to Salary Levels: In general, education levels are positively related to salary levels, particularly to full-time salaries.  Advanced fitness consultants and specialists who also hold a bachelor's degree earn 24 percent more than those with advanced certifications who have only some college.  Furthermore, professionals who hold advanced certifications and a Master’s degree earn 16 percent more than personal trainers with a Master’s degree and 45 percent more than group fitness instructors with a Master’s degree. 
  • Most Popular Fitness Job Titles: Group fitness instructors and personal trainers still remain as the top job titles among fitness professionals, followed by fitness directors, advanced health and fitness specialists, Pilates instructors, group fitness directors and club owners. Not surprisingly, club owners earn the most money among both full-time and part-time fitness workers.  
  • Increase in Employee Benefits Offered to Full-Time Fitness Professionals: Over the last five years, employee benefits have become more prevalent among full-time fitness professionals.  However, seven out of 10 part-time workers are not receiving any benefits, including health coverage.  On average, across all benefit categories, advanced fitness specialists and consultants receive up to seven percent more in employee benefits.

For a complete survey summary including detailed charts, salary figures and industry quick facts, please reference the latest issue of ACE Certified News® found on the ACE website at

About the ACE
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s premier certification, education and training organization, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE website at


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Founded in 1985, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization committed to America's health and wellbeing. Over the past 30 years, we have become an established resource for health and fitness professionals, and the public, providing comprehensive, unbiased research and validating ourselves as the country's trusted authority on health and fitness.

Today, ACE is the largest nonprofit health and fitness certification, education and training organization in the world with more than 65,000 certified professionals who hold more than 72,000 ACE Certifications. With a long heritage in certification, education, training and public outreach, we are among the most respected organizations in the industry and a resource the public has come to trust for health and fitness education.