Fitness instructors organise exercise programmes and lead groups in activities including aerobics, weight training, movement and dance, spin, aqua aerobics and circuit training. They may specialise in one area of work.
You could be:
assessing the fitness of an individual or group of participants, and planning exercise programmes to suit them
making up exercise routines to music
demonstrating exercises and doing them with your class
checking the safety of equipment
maintaining equipment, making sure they work properly
giving individuals advice on healthy eating and nutrition
making sure individuals are not injured through incorrect or excessive exercise
going along to workshops with other instructors
learning new routines set by fitness companies.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Fitness instructors in Scotland usually earn around £20.00 an hour. Some instructors can earn up to around £35 an hour.
You could work in local authority sports centres, private gyms and health clubs, community centres and hotels.
You will be active most of the time.
Hours will be flexible including evenings and weekends – you might have to work shifts.
Part time work is common.
You will wear suitable sportswear, which you will usually provide yourself.
You might use a microphone when instructing a large class.
You might have to travel to different locations to teach different classes.
You do not always need formal qualifications from school, but you must normally take a suitable course before you start work. There are a range of courses at different levels.
You must hold a Level 2 Exercise to Music qualification recognised by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REP).
NQs, NCs or SVQs in health and fitness, sport and recreation, sports activity leadership or similar subjects are available. Some courses do not require formal entry qualifications; others ask for some subjects at National 4 or 5.
HNC, HND and degree courses are available in sports subjects. For entry you usually need 1-2 Highers for HNC or HND courses, 3-5 Highers for a degree.
You could do a part time course through YMCA Awards run by an approved training provider.
There are short courses with organisations such as the YMCAfit to learn to teach a subject such as aerobics or exercise to music.
It is useful to have a qualification in first aid and also swimming and lifesaving.
You should be fit as you will be active all the time you are at work.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
able to explain exercises clearly to people from all backgrounds
able to motivate clients and encourage them to persevere
very fit as you may teach several classes a day
tactful, patient and sympathetic.
You should have:
a responsible attitude to health and safety
a working knowledge of first aid
a good awareness of healthy eating and nutrition
a smart appearance.
You could take SVQs in sports subjects, including the SVQ in Instructing Exercise and Fitness at SCQF Level 5, while you are working.
You could also take the ITC Certificate in First Aid for Sport, Exercise and Fitness at SCQF Level 6.
You could take further short courses to increase the range of classes you could teach.
As a qualified fitness instructor, you can join the Register of Exercise Professionals. Members must complete Continuous Professional Development (CPD), and make sure your qualifications are kept up to date. See their website for more details.
You could do further qualifications to train as a personal trainer. See the Personal Trainer job profile.