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Specialty Instructor and Group Fitness Instructor Salary and Compensation Guide

Group Fitness Instructors teach general classes set to music, such as step and mixed-impact. Specialty Instructors teach classes requiring specialized training (e.g., indoor cycling or martial arts). Group exercise instructors are present at 47% of the facilities surveyed by IDEA, while 25% employ specialty instructors. The average number of group exercise instructors at each facility surveyed is 12, according to data from the 2010 IDEA Fitness Industry Compensation Trends Report.

Group fitness instructors teach an average of six hours per week (same as in 2008), while specialty instructors teach an average of eight hours per week (up from six hours per week in 2008). Few of these individuals are salaried (1% of group fitness instructors, 6% of specialty instructors), though a large percentage are considered employees (64% and 61%). The portion who are considered employees has increased, following a slight decline in 2008 (58% for group fitness instructors and 41% for specialty instructors. That decline came after years of steady growth: From 2002 to 2006, the percentage increased from 49% to 59% for group fitness instructors and from 44% to 57% for specialty instructors).

Hourly rates have declined for both types of instructors, compared with past data. Instructors report earning an average of $24.50, down from $25.75 in 2008 and only slightly higher than in 2006 ($23.75).

Specialty instructors are earning an average of $27.75 per hour, compared with $31.50 in 2008 and $28.50 in 2006. Benefits (18% in 2010 and 21% in 2008) and cash incentives (17% in 2010 and 19% in 2008) have also declined over the past two years, while eligibility for an education fund has increased (41% in 2010 vs. 35% in 2008). Specialty instructors have seen a slight increase in benefits from 2008 (17% vs.16%), a decline in cash incentives (10% vs. 18%) and a boost in education funds (41% vs. 31%).

Group Fitness Instructor Job Description & Stats

A group fitness instructor teaches general classes set to music, such as step and mixed impact.

Employment Status
employee 64%
independent contractor 22
both 15
Payment Methods
salary 1%
per hour 27
per class/session 68
per participant 4
Position Perks
benefits 18%
cash incentives 17
education fund 41
Pay by Hour, Class or Session Hours per Week
(n = 103)
Hourly Rate
(n =103)
mean 6 $24.50
median 4 $21
mode 5 $20
minimum 2 $9
maximum 40 $65
Pay by Salary Hours per Week
(n = 4)
(n = 0)
mean 14.5 n/a
median 7 n/a
mode 2 n/a
minimum 2 n/a
maximum 41 n/a

Specialty Instructors Compensation & Stats

Specialty instructors teach classes requiring specialized training, such as indoor cycling or martial arts.

Employment Status
employee 61%
independent contractor 31
both 8
Payment Methods
salary 6%
per hour 24
per class/session 70
per participant 0
Position Perks
benefits 17%
cash incentives 10
education fund 41
Pay by Hour, Class or Session Hours per Week
(n = 45)
Hourly Rate
(n =44)
mean 8 $27.75
median 4 $22
mode 2 $25
minimum 1 $12
maximum 50 $100
Pay by Salary Hours per Week
(n = 5)
(n = 4)
mean 21 $25,500
median 20 $18,000
mode 2 $6,000
minimum 2 $6,000
maximum 40 $60,000


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