11 Careers in Fitness: With Salary and Job Description

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 17 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The fitness industry is vast and includes roles that involve practising sports or interacting with and assisting athletes. If you're interested in a career in fitness, you may be able to find employment regardless of your fitness abilities. Understanding the types of careers that you can find in this industry may help you obtain the right qualifications and find a fulfilling job. This article discusses 11 careers in fitness to consider, including their job descriptions and salary information.

11 careers in fitness to consider

Here are 11 careers in fitness that you can pursue:

1. Massage therapist

National average salary: $55,016 per year

Primary duties: Massage therapists deliver sports massages that target the muscles athletes use in sporting events. They work with clients to increase their performance, help them recover from injury and ease physical pain by encouraging blood flow to affected muscles. They typically have intensive knowledge of the muscular system and understand the correct techniques to avoid injury and optimise muscle performance.

During their workday, massage therapists use special techniques, such as friction, effleurage, compression and stretching to improve muscle performance. This means they require comprehensive knowledge of the muscle responses to such treatments. They can specialise in sports, where they may support teams, and can also work at rehabilitation centres.

Related: 16 Highest-Paying Sports Jobs (With Education Requirements)

2. Lifeguard

National average salary: $59,146 per year

Primary duties: Lifeguards are sporting professionals who prevent major injury and drowning through observation. They often use their skills in both leisure centres and on beaches when fighting currents or large bodies of water to preserve life. These professionals try to minimise hazards in swimming pools and beaches to prevent drowning or injury and educate visitors on the correct standard of behaviour to avoid dangerous scenarios.

Lifeguards typically maintain a high degree of fitness to ensure they can swim for long periods of time against forces like tides and undercurrents. They also use the correct techniques to reduce injury to themselves and visitors. They have an intensive understanding of the human anatomy and know how to handle swimmers following an injury to avoid causing more damage to the victim's spine or neck.

Related: What Are Sports Therapist Skills? (And How to Develop Them)

3. Fitness director

National average salary: $62,329 per year

Primary duties: A fitness director is a professional who oversees the general operations of a fitness facility, such as a gym. These professionals ensure that personal trainers operate to a certain standard, uphold a code of conduct and treat clients with respect and dignity. They also manage the administrative, revenue and membership duties related to running a fitness facility. They may schedule fitness classes, devise fitness plans and administer fitness training to new personal trainers to ensure a high standard.

4. Personal trainer

National average salary: $66,461 per year

Primary duties: A personal trainer provides one-to-one fitness assistance by designing programmes to achieve clients' fitness and wellness goals. Typically, they consult with the client to establish a health and fitness objective and then use their knowledge to design a customised programme targeting the client's areas of concern. During training sessions, a personal trainer usually motivates their client with positive reinforcement and helps them understand how to exercise correctly, such as by using equipment safely and focusing on improving form. These professionals may work in fitness facilities like gyms or operate on a private basis.

Related: How to Become a Personal Trainer

5. Health and wellness manager

National average salary: $69,923 per year

Primary duties: Health and wellness managers are responsible for designing strategies and policies that target the health, fitness and wellness of a group or community. They may work with vulnerable groups or residents of a facility and design ways to engage them using fitness to improve their health and well-being. They may also monitor the conditions within an organisation and provide solutions to address concerns about health and well-being. They sometimes work collaboratively with professionals from the fitness industry, whom they may consult when seeking solutions to a community's wellness issues.

Related: 10 Jobs for Physiotherapy Students (With Average Salaries)

6. Fitness instructor

National average salary: $81,473 per year

Primary duties: A fitness instructor typically focuses on providing fitness advice to professional sporting clubs. They often work collaboratively with sporting coaches and team players to design fitness goals that optimise player performance. They then help the athletes achieve these personal goals. Also, they may look for ways to enhance the player's performance during competitions, such as by improving their stamina or focusing on their technique. Additionally, they can help rehabilitate players suffering from respiratory or musculoskeletal illnesses, ensuring that their fitness level matches that of their teammates.

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  • How to Write an Athlete Resume (With Resume Template)

  • How to Become a Swim Coach (Plus Daily Duties and Skills) 

7. Dietitian

National average salary: $86,180 per year

Primary duties: Dieticians are professionals who help clients improve their diet and eat nutritious food. They typically have a comprehensive understanding of food science, including information about calories and nutritional macro and micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals. They can consult with clients suffering from illnesses that impact their eating habits, helping them find foods that can alleviate symptoms and improve overall health.

Additionally, they may work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals to help rehabilitate patients after major surgeries. In the fitness industry, they may help clients meet their health and wellness goals. They often achieve this by preparing dietary plans that contain the correct macro and micronutrients to facilitate muscle growth, increase energy and boost performance.

Related: Dietitian Resume Skills (How to Include Them on a Resume)

8. Physical education teacher

National average salary: $96,659 per year

Primary duties: A physical education teacher is a professional who focuses on showing students the value of physical education and the impact of fitness on the body and mind. They may work in a school, college or university. They often play an important role in the development of young children, teaching them about discipline and strategy through sports and explaining the rules and techniques for particular games and activities. They can also coach sporting teams and provide important lessons about muscle groups and proper nutrition.

Related: How to Become a Strength and Conditioning Coach in 8 Steps

9. Sports psychologist

National average salary: $103,095 per year

Primary duties: A sports psychologist is a professional who studies psychological factors that may affect sports, fitness and performance professionals. They examine whether the brain has an impact on sporting individuals' stamina, dedication to training and performance during contests. They often play an important role in preserving the mental well-being of athletes, helping them to think positively and overcome any negative feelings arising from competitive sport. These professionals may also help athletes enhance their performance by engaging their minds. For example, they may teach meditation or mindfulness techniques to improve focus so clients can navigate competitive situations with critical thinking.

Related: 28 Popular Sport Science Career Pathways (With Salaries)

10. Physical therapist

National average salary: $113,591 per year

Primary duties: Physiotherapists help restore normal function to their patients' bodies, following illness, injury or surgery. They play an important role in the fitness industry, working with athletes to ensure their joints and muscles are in optimal condition for competition or performance. They often help sporting professionals overcome short- and long-term pain by administering massage and prescribing exercises to rehabilitate and lengthen muscles and tendons or ease joint pain. They also deal with preventative care, designing exercises that maintain blood flow to muscles and ligaments. They typically work on a repeat basis until their patient has returned to normal mobility.

Related: How Much Does a Sport Psychologist Make? (Average Salary)

11. Orthopaedic surgeon

National average salary: $245,000 per year

Primary duties: Orthopaedic surgeons are medical professionals who work with patients to diagnose and treat illnesses or injuries that impact the musculoskeletal systems. They're important within the fitness industry, as they consult with sporting professionals who sustain complex injuries to their muscles and bones. They strive to find solutions that can limit the impact of injuries and degenerative disorders on athletes' careers.

Orthopaedic surgeons can also help to rehabilitate sporting professionals after surgery or injury, ensuring their career continues regardless of the health issue. They may undertake complex surgeries to repair muscle tissues, tendons and bones after serious injury. They often collaborate with other medical professionals to ensure the health and well-being of their patients.

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Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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