Exercise and Fitness - Gym Instructor

Helping everyday Australians reach their health and fitness goals.

What do gym instructors and personal trainers do?

  • Gym instructors and personal trainers are responsible for improving the physical fitness of individuals or groups of people.
  • Gym instructors can give general fitness advice and run group fitness classes, while a personal trainer gives specific exercise advice, usually on a one-on-one basis.
  • Students graduating with a degree in Exercise and Sport Science and qualifying as an ESSA Exercise Scientist will be qualified for both positions, in addition to being able to work at a much more specific level with your clients compared to your TAFE-qualified workmates.
  • While not required, many Exercise and Sport Science graduates find it easier to work with a local TAFE to gain a Certificate III/IV. They do this using their university units of study to gain TAFE credits.

Where are the jobs?

  • The most common place to start a career will be in facilities already established, such as commercial gyms or others’ businesses.
  • After gaining significant experience working for someone else, you can open your own business. This can either involve an arrangement with an established gym to bring your own clients into their facilities, or can involve you owning your own facility and equipment.
  • Many successful instructors and trainers have a ‘niche’, specialising in particular populations. Children’s movement programs, pregnant women, and military-style boot camps are all specialisations. Can you think of a niche group in the fitness industry that you could train?
  • Prior to getting work, you may need to obtain your own liability insurance. ESSA will have procedures for this with Guild Insurance.
  • A gym instructor or personal trainer with a degree fresh out of university should expect to earn a minimum of $26.10 per hour ($991.80 per week) according to the Fair Work Act.

Job titles to search

  • Personal trainer
  • Gym instructor
  • Fitness instructor
  • In addition to the usual seek.com.au and other websites, be sure to check https://www.sportspeople.com.au/
  • There are also job boards for members of Exercise & Sport Science Australia, and Fitness Australia.

Skills required for the job 

Gym instructors and personal trainers make their livelihood form instructing people how to move and encouraging them to do it, so you will need to have an outgoing personality and outstanding communication skills.

You also need to be punctual and well organised, because few clients will keep a trainer who wastes their time (and money).

How to develop your skills

Many students are eligible to accredit with a Cert III in fitness during their studies at Deakin University. Others students have come to Deakin University from TAFE after completing a Cert III/IV or Diploma in fitness already. Regardless, having this accreditation will be valuable because you will be able to work in the industry while you’re studying. The contribution of industry-related work to your leaning while you’re studying cannot be overstated.

What units or courses to study at Deakin

HSE101 and HSE102 + HSE103 and HSE105, or HSE301 and HSE312

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