IDEA Health & Fitness Association, the leading membership organization of health, wellness and fitness professionals worldwide with more than 23,000 members in over 80 countries, has published the results of its seventh biennial IDEA Fitness Industry Compensation Survey ( The information gathered identifies solid job opportunities and sustained growth for the fitness industry, despite the global economic downturn that is impacting many other industries and market segments.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the fitness industry is expected to grow by 27 percent through 2016, a figure that is greater than the average for all professions. This latest compensation survey was compiled from the responses of 501 IDEA members currently working in a variety of health club settings. The questionnaire covered a diverse cross-section of topics related to compensation of eight different fitness industry positions, including fitness/program directors, personal training directors, group exercise coordinators, personal trainers, fitness floor staff, group fitness instructors, specialty instructors and yoga/Pilates instructors. In gathering data, IDEA researchers discovered that the wages for all positions except fitness floor staff are higher than the national average while all positions surveyed reported higher wages than two years ago.

“Continued wage increases and growth in the fitness industry reinforces the vital role that fitness professionals play in our daily lives,” says Kathie Davis, co-founder and executive director of IDEA Health & Fitness Association. “These dedicated professionals, who gladly share their knowledge, skill and passion to help their clients lead healthier, more active lives, are being recognized and rewarded well for their efforts.”

In addition to reporting on current wage and salary trends across various geographic regions, the survey also provides details and perspective on benefits as well as hiring, pay raise and promotion criteria. Highlights from this year’s survey include:

• Salaries for fitness program directors are higher in the West; averaging $52,808 compared with all other U.S. regions, where salaries are in the $42,000—$47,000 range. The West also reported the highest hourly wages for personal trainers, group fitness instructors and specialty instructors.

• Instructors of Pilates and yoga receive the highest hourly pay of all instructors ($33.25). A comparison with the rate from the 2006 survey ($29.50) indicates that the wages have kept pace with inflation.

• The mean salary for fitness/program directors was $46,920. For personal trainers: $39,074. For group exercise coordinators: $33,364.

• More than two-thirds (69 percent) of full-time employees are covered by liability insurance while more than 55 percent said they received benefits such as health insurance and paid sick time.

• Benefits and discounts awarded to fitness professionals dropped slightly over 2006 levels, which may reflect the approach that employers are keeping wages high during these times of economic instability.

• Communication and leadership skills are the two most important factors for promotion (recognized by 100 percent of respondents), whereas job performance remains key to receiving a merit raise (according to 88 percent of those surveyed).

• More than half (58 percent) of respondents said their companies pay for staffers to receive continuing education, in the forms of in-service training and attending workshops.

IDEA Health & Fitness Association is the world’s leading membership organization of fitness and wellness professionals with more than 23,000 members in over 80 countries. For more information on IDEA fitness and wellness conferences, publications, professional fitness education and products, member services and other activities, visit