Download PDF

Contents

Fitness Instructors  (NOC 5254) may also be called:

  • Personal Trainer
  • Leader – sports & recreation
  • Fitness or recreation coordinator
  • Yoga Instructor
  • Pilates Teacher

What Would I Do?

You help people get fit by leading them in a variety of activities such as aerobics or yoga. Depending on your training, you can lead many different types of workouts and fitness classes. You may provide one-on-one instruction, or teach classes to groups of people.

Fitness instructors have a wide variety of tasks including:

  • plan classes and choose activities and music
  • provide instruction, advice and encouragement to students
  • assess clients’ health, fitness and goals
  • work out with clients, offering motivation and encouragement
  • make sure clients exercise safely
  • help clients with special needs and adapt programs as needed
  • maintain equipment

Personal trainers often also provide advice on nutrition, weight control, and lifestyle issues.

If you work for a larger fitness club you may have additional duties such as sales, management, or marketing.

Sources: WorkBC (Profile for program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness) and Career Cruising database (Profiles for Fitness Instructor & Personal Trainer)

Am I Suited For This Job?

You should be in excellent physical shape, a creative and energetic person with coordination and a sense of rhythm.
You should have good communication skills, an outgoing personality, able to generate enthusiasm and motivate clients


As a fitness instructor, you must love to work out. While teaching, you not only demonstrate correct technique, but you also break a sweat!

You may only spend a couple of hours a day teaching classes. Therefore, many instructors also have other jobs, such as being a personal trainer or working in sales or marketing. Classes are often held in the evenings and on weekends to accommodate those who are at school or work during regular business hours.

You should be a good communicator. Fitness instructors don’t just run classes; you also talk to and advise people before, during, and after class.

You should also be willing to learn and try new things, such as new exercise techniques.

You may suffer falls and strains from exercising, but by being careful and knowing your limits, you can usually prevent injuries.

Sources: WorkBC (Profile for program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness) and Career Cruising database (Profiles for Fitness Instructor & Personal Trainer)

What Are The Wages And Benefits?

In British Columbia, the annual median salary is $41,712, with hourly rates ranging from $11.50 to $29.82 / hour. Your wage varies greatly depending on location, experience, and type of employer.

In BC’s regions, you can expect to make:

Hourly Wages for fitness instructors by region

Table from Job Bank Wage Report

You may work full-time, part-time, or on a contract basis. If you are employed full-time you may receive benefits, such as health and dental coverage, paid vacations, and sick days.

Sources: WorkBC (Profile for program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness) and Career Cruising database (Profiles for Fitness Instructor & Personal Trainer)

What Is The Job Outlook In BC?

The job outlook is good for fitness instructors and personal trainers. As people learn more about the importance of fitness and good health, the number of job opportunities is increasing.  Across the province, the average annual employment growth varies with the highest increase of 1.6% in Lower Mainland followed by 1.5% in Okanagan and 1% in Vancouver Island/Coast region.

employment outlook for fitness instructors for 2017 to 2027

Source: WorkBC (Profile for program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness)

How Do I Become a Fitness Instructor?

Fitness Instructors “usually” require:

  • completion of high school
  • completion of a college program in recreation or physical education

or

  • extensive experience in a specific sports program activity
  • Certification may be required for specific types of activity such as personal trainer, or in first aid or emergency care

Certification is not mandatory to work as a fitness instructor or personal trainer in BC. However, it may provide you with more job opportunities as some employers require it.

You can get certification through several organizations.

The BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) is widely regarded as the main regulatory body for fitness professionals throughout BC.

Currently, the BCRPA registers fitness leaders in:

  • Aquatic Fitness
  • Group Fitness
  • Osteofit
  • Older Adult Fitness
  • Personal Training
  • Pilates Fitness
  • Weight Training
  • Yoga Fitness

Certification is also available through Canfitpro, the largest provider of education in the Canadian fitness industry, or the American Council of Exercise (ACE).

For more information about becoming a registered fitness professional see:

How Do I Find A Job?

Where do Fitness Instructors Work?

You may work for a variety of organizations including:

  • gyms and fitness clubs
  • community centres
  • spas
  • health care facilities
  • resorts and cruise ships
  • government departments
  • private businesses

You may also be self employed

Finding Advertised Jobs

Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    NOTE: You can only access this database from the Central Library or VPL branch libraries. Access is NOT available from home or outside the Library.

Online Job Postings

  • BC JobConnect
    **must have permanent resident number**
    newcomers can post their skills, education and work experience to BC employers looking for workers

Finding “Hidden Jobs”

Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.

Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers

You can use company directories to produce lists of employers who employ fitness instructors in Vancouver or the Lower Mainland. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • HealthLocal Directory
    Search listings under Fitness Classes, Fitness Gyms & Clubs, Fitness Personal Training
  • Civic Info
    Includes contact information for municipalities throughout BC. Most hire fitness professionals to lead programs offered through their Parks & Recreation departments.
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “fitness” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies

Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.

Networking and the Hidden Job Market:

When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.

Volunteering in Community Organizations and Recreation Centres

Many public community organizations and recreation centres run fitness classes –go to your local city/town website and search for ‘parks’ or ‘recreation’ or ‘community centre’; when you locate your local recreation centre, search for ‘volunteer’ You can start by looking for organizations in:

  • bc211.ca
    [provides contact information for community, government and social services organizations/agencies in BC]

For additional tips see:

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

For more information see:

Where Can This Job Lead?

Your skills as a fitness instructor can help you in any profession that involves working with large groups of people on a daily basis. Many of these positions will be in the service industry, such as a customer service representative either on the phone or in a retail setting.

You could also work in personal training, club management, fitness writing, equipment maintenance, or lifestyle consulting, or you may direct a fitness program.

Source: Career Cruising

Where Can I Find More Information?