Become a Fitness Instructor

I had many people ask me how I got certified and hired to teach group fitness classes at the gym so I did a series of posts to answer. ┬áBe sure to read the comments on each post – my readers had some great tips too!

Let me know if you ever have any questions on the topic. I’m happy to help how I can.

15 comments // by Teri [a foodie stays fit]

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AFAA Primary Group Exercise Certification {in a nutshell}

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Allysa at

This helped so much! I’ve always thought about doing this, and finally decided to get the ball rolling, but didn’t even know where to begin, but now thanks to you I do!


2 Teri [a foodie stays fit] at

I’m so glad it was helpful!


3 Desi at

Hi teri,

Wow I’m so glad I found your blog. Everything has been so helpful and you are so generous to even share all this info with the world. I have a couple questions.
1. I was looking at the AFAA site and under it was this
For aspiring group exercise instructors whose training and educational background has prepared them to take the AFAA Primary Group Exercise Certification exams.”
So my questions is, did you have any previous experience whatsoever teaching before you took this? Especially since it mentions training and education that has prepared them for the exams. I have been assisting various group exercise classes for about ten years now, and I have a date to be zumba certified, but I feel that if i want to be more marketable I should also have this group ex certification as well. What are your thoughts?
2. Also, I’m working on graduating from college this december, and I’m looking for employment that for now will be part time, but will not leave me starving and without shelter if you know what I mean. How much can a group ex instructor expect to make roughly, let’s say monthly?

Once again thank you so much, you are a doll! Love your blog!


4 Teri [a foodie stays fit] at

Hi Desi! I’m so sorry for the delay in responding! Your comment went to spam for some reason and I don’t go through that folder often!

I had very limited experience teaching beforehand, i.e. I had subbed in my high school aerobics class a couple of times! I think you’ll be fine – you have way more experience than anyone else that I took the certification class with!

I can’t say a monthly income because I only taught 1-2 times a week. I know many instructors teach 1-2 times a DAY. I’ve heard of pay rates ranging from $12 – $30 a class, depending on the gym and city.

Hope this helps!


5 DB at

As a Group Fitnesss Manager I hire for these positions all the time. Getting certified is just the part of it. The practical, team teaching part is essential. Being thrown into class is not ideal – and members don’t like it. Thus I started a NEW INSTRUCTOR training to address these questions, find out about “how” to get certified, how CEC’s work, where to get experience, and most importantly teaching in front of other potential instructors in a supportive environment. I starting with the Downtown YMCA 5 years, now I do it for LAkeshore Athletic Club in CO


6 Pamela Mayberry at

There are many benefits to being a fitness instructor, I know because I was one. Was because I stopped, well, temporarily, because me and husband are having a baby! I am 6 months pregnant now :)


7 Regina at

Hi Teri!
These posts have been very helpful; thank you! I’m really interested in getting my certification and teaching dance related fitness classes (Zumba or Barre) and possibly kickboxing cardio courses. I’ve never taught classes before, but have taken a bunch of them and LOVE working out.

I’ve read all your posts and most of the comments (as well as the ACE and other fitness sites) and I’m still a little confused about a few things… Is the AFAA certification an umbrella cert — so I would still need to get certified in zumba/barre/kickboxing? Or can I teach these courses as soon as I pass my AFAA exams? You also mentioned the workshops for the different types (kickboxing etc.) — would I need to take these workshops in order to teach different classes? Also, you mentioned the AFAA cert is not online… I found an online option on their website (perhaps this is a new option). Do you think it hinders my opportunities to getting a job if I do the online cert vs. in person?

Thank you so much in advance for any advice you might have for me!


8 Debbie at


I’m looking to start a new career in fitness. I do not have any experience with teaching fitness classes or assisting. My background is working out with videos, taking classes and weight lifting etc. What can you suggest to me?

Thank you


9 stacey at

I have been researching this lately and I will be taking my certification in September when its only $99. thank you for the post, its just what I was looking for.


10 Ann at

Thank you so much for these posts! So helpful!!! I was going to school for nursing and finally decided that wasn’t the path for me. Super hard decision. But I’ve always been active and love group workouts. And have just stumbled upon this as a possible career path. And your posts have helped that much more.


11 janice pauley at

Hi Teri, not sure if you’ll be able to help me. I’m in my 50′s and unfit at the moment…but God has put it on my heart to become a Fitness instructor (though not sure if this is the proper title…as I just want to teach Basic Keep Fit to people who are 40 and over :-) How do I go about becoming qualified? I haven’t a clue! Thank you in advance.


12 Becky at

Your article was SO helpful! I am actually in the process of starting up a fitness center and had a question I hope you could help me with. Is there a way to look up instructors that are available for hire in any given area? I’ve been scouring the internet, including the site you mention in your posts and have had no luck. Thanks for your help!


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