Fitness Management: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a fitness manager, or fitness center director. Learn about job duties, education requirements, employment outlook and average wages to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Fitness Manager Do?

A fitness manager, or fitness center director, oversees all operations within a fitness center or gym. They may develop fitness programs, hire and supervise employees, maintain fitness equipment, monitor facility cleanliness and manage the facility's budget. They also communicate with fitness center users in order to make sure their needs are being met and to get ideas for facility improvements and new programs.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Kinesiology, exercise science, sports fitness administration
Key Responsibilities Develop health & fitness programs, supervise and train staff members, manage operations of the facility
Job Growth (2014-24) 8% (all fitness trainers and instructors)*
Median Salary (2017) $76,236**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

What Is Fitness Management?

A fitness manager or director is responsible for making sure that the fitness center runs properly. You may hire personal trainers and other employees while facilitating staff development. You help your business meet its goals by developing plans for sales, membership growth and retention. You may also be responsible for customer satisfaction; this includes supplying professional staff members, high-quality programs, positive customer service and revenue-generating incentives. You may need to manage member files and organize billing and invoicing records.

Due to the nature of the field, it is very beneficial for you be able to adjust and operate all of the facility's equipment and have strong interpersonal skills. The ability to demonstrate a friendly and positive attitude is also beneficial.

What Type of Education and/or Training Would I Need?

You need at least a high school diploma or its equivalent to enter a fitness occupation. Depending on your job, it may be helpful or necessary to acquire certification from a recognized institution like the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), American Council on Exercise (ACE), The Cooper Institute, International Fitness Professionals Association (IFPA), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF).

Experience can go a long way, but employers may prefer management candidates with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology, exercise science, physical education or a related field. College courses in business and leadership may be beneficial.

What Might I Earn?

According to, fitness center directors earned a median of $76,236 a year as of February 2017. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( expected job growth for all fitness instructors and trainers, including fitness directors, to increase by 8% over the 2014-24 decade, due to an aging population seeking more ways to stay healthy. Individuals with fitness-related degrees will have the most opportunities.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you want to work at a fitness or recreation center, you could also consider becoming a fitness instructor. This could involve teaching exercise classes, such as yoga or weightlifting, as well as designing training programs for individual clients. Fitness instructors only need a high school diploma, but having professionals certifications in teaching particular exercise techniques can improve job prospects. Alternatively, you could consider a management position in an entirely different field, such as hospitality. As a lodging manager, you would be responsible for overseeing the operations of a hotel or motel. The minimum educational requirement for this job is a high school diploma; however, some establishments may look for individuals who have an associate's or bachelor's degree in hotel management or operations.

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