How to become a Fitness Instructor

Fitness instructors are involved in the assessment, teaching, training and supervision of a variety of people in health and fitness clubs, gymnasiums, sports centres and community recreation organisations. Fitness instructors may specialise in fields such as aerobics, aqua-fitness, personal training, exercise for specific groups (such as older people), resistance training and swimming.

Personal requirements of a Fitness Instructor

  • Good level of physical fitness
  • Enthusiastic, outgoing personality
  • Background in fitness activities may be an advantage
  • Good communication skills

Education & Training for a Fitness Instructor

To become a fitness instructor you usually have to complete a VET qualification in fitness. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a fitness instructor through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Additional Information

Registration by Fitness Australia or Physical Activity Australia is generally accepted as the minimum requirement to work as an instructor in the health and fitness industry. Registration requires a current Provide First Aid Certificate and a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certificate. The registration category depends on your qualification and level of experience. Those who have obtained a Certificate III in Fitness can register as an Exercise Instructor and are eligible to register as a Gym Instructor, Children's Instructor, Older Adults Instructor, Aqua Instructor or Yoga Teacher. Those who have obtained a Certificate IV in Fitness can register as an Exercise Trainer and are eligible to become a Personal Trainer, Children's Trainer, Older Adults Trainer or Aqua Trainer. Those who have obtained a diploma can register as a Specialised Trainer. Fitness Australia and Physical Activity Australia are responsible for all aspects of assessing and registering fitness instructors in Australia. Registration is valid nationwide.

Duties & Tasks of a Fitness Instructor

Fitness instructors:

  • assess the needs and capabilities of individuals through weighing, measuring and conducting fitness tests to check blood pressure, heart rate and lung capacity
  • provide training and assistance to individuals and groups by preparing a routine of exercises to music
  • provide advice to individuals on the correct method of exercising with weightlifting equipment, exercise bikes, treadmills and other training and exercise machines
  • devise personal exercise programs for individuals according to age and level of fitness
  • provide instruction in a variety of fitness activities
  • provide general non-medical nutrition advice
  • assist with the cleaning and general maintenance of the centre and ensure equipment is maintained and correctly set up.

Working conditions for a Fitness Instructor

Fitness instructors may be employed on a casual basis and work at a number of different locations, including fitness centres, clinical settings, private practice and in the workplace. Shiftwork is often involved, including early mornings and late nights.

Employment Opportunities for a Fitness Instructor

Fitness instructors can expect to find employment instructing individuals or groups in traditional settings, such as fitness centres or studios. Roles introduced more recently include assessment, consulting, health promotion and management roles in settings such as community, sport, workplace, clinical, outdoor and mobile services. A high proportion of fitness instructors are employed on a part-time or casual basis, although an increasing number of full-time positions are becoming available within the industry.


Personal Trainer

A personal trainer provides individual assessments, develops tailored fitness programmes and offers exercise instruction, demonstration and support for individuals and small groups.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:

Very strong

Employment by state:

ACT 2%

NSW 32.1%

NT 0.4%

QLD 19.8%

SA 6.1%

TAS 1.4%

VIC 27.6%

WA 10.6%


Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 40%

Female 60%

Education level:

Highest qualification is secondary school: 11.2%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 34.4%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 20.3%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 24.1%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 5.7%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.1%

20-24 - 6.1%

25-34 - 26.8%

35-44 - 22.6%

45-54 - 19.5%

55-59 - 8.2%

60-64 - 7.1%

65 and Over - 9.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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