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by Casey McIlvaine

financeThe goals and aspirations of anyone that has a desire to become a personal trainer go far beyond just the career as many desire to have a family as well. Although they will ask themselves many questions, one that must be answered is the question of whether they can sustain a family on the salary they make as a personal trainer. The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no because questions of such magnitude require answers built on individual drive, planning and persistence.

In the United States, the average salary range for a personal trainer is about $34,000 to $48,000. The problem with averages is that they don’t apply to everyone in a given field. Regardless of this truth, it is always better to have more information than less. A great source of information on personal trainer salaries across the country is the 2013 Ace survey. According to ACE, the average salary of personal trainers has increased by 12 percent since 2010.

Like many other careers, there’s no hard and fast rule concerning personal trainer salaries. Everything from the certifications that you hold to where you work and live play a significant role in the salary you can make as a personal trainer. For example, salary ranges can be lower in the Midwest region of the country where demand and costs of living may be lower than in coastal cities or major metropolises.

In the beginning of your career just as with other careers, when you become a personal trainer, you will likely work for someone else, which can severely limit your income range. Many personal trainers work for gyms and other fitness clubs. These positions can offer a lot in the way of benefits and perks, but you still have to prove yourself through assisting gym customers in attaining their goals. A lot can depend on the rapport that you have with clients and your ability to bring in new business.

This stage of your career can make it difficult to start a family. That being said, most young married couples today are two-income families, so having a spouse and living relatively comfortably is certainly possible. Depending on a number of factors, you may have to wait a while to bring children into the mix.

For those that are already married and a little older with established families, the decision to become a personal trainer is one that they undertake with a fair amount of planning. This allows them to build savings, consider additional part-time jobs or rely more heavily on their spouse’s income until they establish themselves as a personal trainer.

As you simultaneously gain more experience and develop relationships with your clients in a gym or fitness center position, you should be concurrently building your personal brand to strike out on your own. Becoming an independent personal trainer provides the broadest opportunities for career advancement and income growth.

Many personal trainers that have their own business can charge anywhere from $75 to $500 per session. Although there are personal trainers with annual salaries over $100,000 per year, they didn’t get there overnight. By building your brand through diligent and inventive marketing and networking as well as gaining additional specialized certifications you can put yourself in a position to increase your salary.

Happy_FamilyFor instance, your clients crave valuable information about nutrition, what to do when they travel or go on vacation, and what’s acceptable as far as fast food meals. By developing information products for your clients and learning to effectively market them, you build your brand and increase your income.

These individualized products can range from fitness guides for specialized populations or groups to health and nutrition plans for different lifestyles etc. Utilizing these tools in conjunction with specialized certifications can all work together for income and career growth.

Every successful and positive relationship with a client is an opportunity to expand your client roster. By calling on them for referrals you can spread the word on your brand and gain additional likeminded clients. As you build your client base, incorporate their successes into your marketing both online and offline. At a certain point, you can begin to raise your rates based on demand.

Being successful as a personal trainer is much like any other career in that it requires drive, ambition, planning, and business savvy, not to mention a little risk taking. For those that choose to become a personal trainer, it is within your power to have a sustainable income that provides for a family. The key beyond the aforementioned attributes is developing a personal definition of what success and happiness looks like for you. You can then adjust your work and life balance to achieve your goals.

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