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Personal Trainer

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

  • Avg. Salary $19,222.00
  • Avg. Wage $20.07
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook 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 Mar 31, 2020

Personal trainers work closely with each client to build a positive working relationship. They may meet daily, weekly, or monthly to suit the level of training requested. One-on-one training sessions vary depending on the client’s goals and the amount of coaching or demonstration needed. Personal trainers may work with the general public or with a specific group. For example, they may work with seniors, elite athletes, obese adults without health complications, or persons with disabilities.

Personal trainers apply their knowledge of human anatomy and exercise principles to developing and evaluating clients’ fitness programs.

In general, personal trainers:

  • Perform a fitness assessment to ascertain client needs, abilities, and goals
  • Measure body composition, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, joint flexibility, and postural alignment (which may include taking blood pressure, heart rate, and heart recovery rate)
  • Develop personal exercise plans
  • Demonstrate correct exercise techniques and proper use of equipment
  • Teach proper breathing techniques
  • Monitor client progress and adapt programs as needed
  • Demonstrate safety in all aspects of planning and delivery of programs, with an emphasis on preventing and managing injuries
  • Provide resources about nutrition, healthy living, and physical activity

Personal trainers who work for fitness facilities may also:

  • Record member information
  • Promote the facility through membership sales
  • Teach and demonstrate correct use of equipment, such as treadmills and weight machines
  • Clean and maintain equipment
  • Advise clients about proper clothing and shoes
  • Lead or help with workshops and information sessions
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Personal trainers work in various 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, and requires regular cardiovascular performance. Trainers must ensure clients do exercises correctly and safely to prevent injury. They are often required to lift weights or other heavy items.

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

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Personal trainers need:

  • Excellent physical fitness
  • The ability to be flexible
  • An open-minded attitude
  • Multitasking skills
  • Problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • The ability to hold others accountable for their performance
  • Excellent verbal 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.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness
NOC code: 5254

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 21 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 29, 2021 and Jan 24, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Monitor recreational, sports or fitness activities to ensure safety and provide emergency or first aid assistance when required
Ensure health and safety regulations are followed
Plan and carry out recreational, fitness and sports activities
Lead groups and individuals in recreational or leisure programs
Schedule activities, keep logs, maintain records and prepare reports
Assist clients/guests with special needs
Assemble supplies, sports and game equipment
Demonstrate and instruct athletic, fitness or sports activities and techniques
Understand principles of group dynamics
Instruct groups and individuals in arts and crafts
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Most employers prefer to hire personal trainers who have a high school diploma, appropriate certification, and related post-secondary training. Applicants may need to:

  • Undergo drug testing
  • Obtain a police security clearance
  • Have a valid driver’s licence
  • Be bondable (acceptable to bonding companies as responsible and law abiding)
  • Have liability insurance

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Elevated Learning Academy Inc. - Calgary

Elevated Learning Academy Inc. - Edmonton

Grande Prairie Regional College

Grant MacEwan University

Mount Royal University

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Although not required by law, employers may prefer applicants who have Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) certification from the Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association (AFLCA). AFLCA certifications include liability insurance and are nationally recognized by the National Fitness Leadership Association (NFLA).

Trainers who work with people with specific needs may need Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) and Certified Exercise Physiologist (CEP) certification. These are offered by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. Trainers who work with athletes may need Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification. This is offered by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Personal trainers may be self-employed or work for:

  • Private fitness facilities
  • Public leisure centres
  • Municipal recreation centres
  • YMCAs and YWCAs
  • Large corporations
  • Resorts and hotels
  • Post-secondary schools

Personal trainers who work for 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. Entrepreneurial and business management skills are assets.

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 [pdf] in this occupation is 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 5254: Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness occupational group is expected to have an average annual growth of 1.9% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 270 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the 270 new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Incomes for self-employed personal trainers vary from one trainer to another. A lot depends on their qualifications and skills in business, marketing, and customer service.

Wages vary greatly for personal trainers who work for an employer. Some earn bonuses, commissions, or other benefits on top of 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 Mar 31, 2020

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

Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP):

National Fitness Leadership Association (NFLA) of Canada website:

National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA):

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

Updated Mar 31, 2020. 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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