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Personal Trainer

Personal trainers teach individual clients aerobic, flexibility or resistance training exercises to help them achieve their personal fitness goals.

  • Avg. Salary $19,222.00
  • Avg. Wage $20.07
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 13,900
  • In Demand Lower
NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation, Sport and Fitness (5254) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation and Sport (F154) 
  • 2011 NOC: Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness (5254) 
  • 2016 NOC: Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness (5254) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Personal Trainer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation, Sport and Fitness

Interest in manipulating and assembling supplies and sports and game equipment; and in monitoring recreational and sports activities to ensure safety and provide emergency and first aid assistance when required


Interest in instructing groups and individuals in arts, crafts and similar activities; in leading groups and individuals in recreational and leisure programs, and in attending clients with special needs by conducting therapeutic recreational and athletic activities


Interest in co-ordinating information to plan recreational, athletic, fitness and sports programs

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 15, 2016

Personal trainers work closely with each client to build a positive working relationship. They may meet with clients weekly or daily depending on the level of involvement the client has requested. Individual training sessions vary depending on the client's goals and the amount of coaching or demonstrating required. Personal trainers may work with the general public or with a particular client group (for example, obese adults without health complications, persons with disabilities, seniors, teens, elite athletes).

In general, personal trainers:

  • assess client needs, abilities and goals
  • measure body composition, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, joint flexibility and postural alignment (which may include measuring blood pressure, heart rate and heart recovery rate)
  • develop personalized health and exercise plans
  • demonstrate correct exercise techniques and proper use of exercise equipment
  • ensure clients exercise safely
  • teach proper breathing techniques
  • lead clients through exercise routines
  • monitor client progress and adapt programs as needed
  • regularly increase the level of difficulty to challenge clients
  • provide resources regarding nutrition, healthy living and physical activity.

Personal trainers who work for fitness facilities may have additional responsibilities, such as:

  • recording member information
  • promoting the facility through membership sales
  • teaching and demonstrating the use of equipment (for example, treadmills, weight machines)
  • cleaning and maintaining equipment
  • advising clients about proper clothing and shoes
  • leading or assisting with workshops and information sessions.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Personal trainers work in a variety of settings. They may meet clients at fitness facilities or in the clients' homes. Clients may provide their own fitness equipment, or the trainer may supply it.

The work is physically and mentally demanding. Trainers are responsible for the safety of their clients and must ensure they and their clients perform exercises correctly to prevent injury. Lifting items (for example, weights) weighing up to 20 kilograms is required.

Early-morning, noon-hour, evening and weekend work is common. Personal trainers spend a considerable amount of time preparing for client sessions and revising training plans.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Personal trainers need the following characteristics:

  • excellent physical condition
  • flexibility
  • open-mindedness
  • good multi-tasking skills
  • good problem solving and decision making skills
  • the ability to hold others accountable for their performance
  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • the ability to react to emergency health situations alone or in a team.

They should enjoy having clear rules and organized methods, dealing with people and designing new programs.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Most employers prefer to hire personal trainers who have a high school diploma and related post-secondary training. Applicants may also be required to:

  • undergo drug testing
  • obtain a police security clearance
  • have a valid driver's licence
  • be bondable (be acceptable to bonding companies as a responsible, law-abiding person)
  • have liability insurance.

Employers may prefer to hire applicants who have Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) certification from the Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association (AFLCA).

To qualify for the AFLCA-CFT certification, trainers must:

  • successfully complete post-secondary coursework in all core competencies areas or be a current AFLCA resistance training leader or National Fitness Leadership Alliance (NFLA) of Canada personal fitness trainer in good standing
  • successfully complete provincial exams, including a written theory with a pass rating of 80%, and pass a practical exam
  • hold valid and current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificate (Level C or Health Care Provider) and have successfully completed a course in standard first aid.

To ensure that personal trainers keep their skills and knowledge up to date, recertification is required. For more information about scope of practice, certification and recertification, visit the AFLCA website.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Personal trainers may be self-employed or employed by:

  • private fitness facilities
  • public leisure centres
  • municipal recreation centres
  • YMCAs and YWCAs
  • large corporations
  • resorts and hotels.

Personal trainers employed by fitness facilities may move into supervisory or management positions. For more information see the Recreation Co-ordinator and Recreation and Sport Administrator occupational profiles.

Advancement for self-employed personal trainers generally takes the form of building a larger client base. Therefore, entrepreneurial and business management skills are an asset.

Personal trainers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5254: Program leaders and instructors in recreation and sport and fitness. In Alberta, 75% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the F154: Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation and Sport occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.5% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 179 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Incomes for self-employed personal trainers vary considerably from one personal trainer to another depending on the trainer's qualifications and skills in business, marketing and customer service.

Wages vary greatly for personal trainers depending on the employer. Some earn bonuses, commissions or other benefits in addition to a base salary.

Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $25.00 $18.18 $16.50
Overall $15.00 $32.50 $20.07 $18.00
Top $15.70 $43.75 $25.06 $22.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Educational Services
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
Information, Culture, Recreation
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Accommodation & Food Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Physical Education and Recreation
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association (AFLCA) and Provincial Fitness Unit website:

National Fitness Leadership Alliance (NFLA) of Canada website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 19, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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