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Exploring employment options: gym vs. freelance personal trainers jobs in Australia

Choosing between the different types of personal trainer jobs in Australia, be it working in a gym or as a freelance personal trainer can significantly impact your professional growth and job satisfaction.

By Dundee Kim, Founder of Fit Education Australia

Photo: Team Dundee’s Boxing & Fitness. Team Dundee’s Fiteducation

When embarking on a career as a personal trainer in Australia, it's crucial to consider your employment options carefully. Most freshly trained personal trainers will naturally want to find different approaches to employ their newly acquired knowledge, skills, and qualifications with real clients, in real life, and for a fee. At this point, individuals are frequently presented with the following two choices: do I work for myself as a self-employed individual, or do I find work as an employee? Choosing between the different types of personal trainer jobs in Australia, be it working in a gym or as a freelance personal trainer can significantly impact your professional growth and job satisfaction.

In this article, we will highlight the distinct benefits offered by each path for personal training jobs in Australia. Whether you value networking opportunities and easier client acquisition in a gym or prefer the flexibility and higher earning potential as a freelancer, making an informed choice is paramount to your success.

Importance of choosing between gym and freelance personal trainer jobs

The beauty of the fitness industry is that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy and that there are numerous paths to success. There will be advantages and disadvantages whether you are a hired or self-employed personal trainer. In either case, how you commit yourself to the role ultimately determines your level of success and what you receive out of it. Selecting between the various personal trainer jobs in Australia carries substantial weight in shaping your career trajectory. It not only aligns with your long-term goals but also optimises your professional journey. Let's delve into the importance of this decision and explore the benefits of each option.

Benefits of working in a gym

Networking opportunities

Gyms serve as vibrant hubs for fitness enthusiasts, professionals, and potential clients, presenting excellent networking prospects. Furthermore, gyms frequently organise events, workshops, and educational sessions for trainers and members. Participating in these events not only enhances knowledge and skills but also provides valuable networking opportunities. As you network with other personal trainers, you will have many opportunities to expand your fitness knowledge and training skills. You can learn about additional areas of expertise, workout routines, training ideas, and the failures and accomplishments of more experienced trainers. Working in gyms will also provide you with the opportunity to form major connections with other industry experts, trainers, and individuals seeking fitness advice. These connections can lead to valuable referrals, partnerships, and mentorship opportunities, advancing your career forward.

Easier client acquisition

Gyms inherently attract a steady stream of members actively seeking professional guidance. By choosing to work in a gym, you gain access to a pre-established customer base actively looking for personal training services. This can significantly reduce the time and effort required to acquire clients compared to starting from scratch as a freelancer. According to Les Mills's 2021 Global Fitness Report, 85% of gym-goers prefer working out in a social setting. This presents personal trainers with a vast pool of potential clients seeking fitness guidance and support. By establishing rapport and showcasing expertise within the gym environment, trainers can organically attract new clients through word-of-mouth referrals. These referrals, often facilitated by networking, can be a powerful driver for client acquisition and long-term success.

Mentorship and continued education

Many gyms offer mentorship programs and ongoing education opportunities for their trainers. At the same time, clients often seek trainers who are well-informed and up-to-date with the latest advancements in fitness, and the ongoing education opportunities provided by gyms position you to meet and exceed these expectations. You can improve your skills, knowledge, and reputation as a personal trainer by working with established trainers and engaging in workshops or certificates offered by the gym. This environment of continual learning allows you to stay ahead of industry trends and provide excellent value to your clients.

Photo: Fit Education International

Benefits of working freelance


Freelance personal trainer jobs in Australia offer unparalleled flexibility in their schedules, affording a better work-life balance. As a freelancer, you have the freedom to set your own hours and select the locations where you operate.  You also have the ability to choose the types and number of clients you work with in addition to the flexibility of your schedule. This means that if you are passionate about working with a particular population, such as seniors or people with disabilities, you can focus your business on that niche. Focusing on a particular niche enables you to establish a solid reputation and become a go-to resource for individuals in that group. This level of autonomy empowers you to tailor your career to fit your lifestyle, ensuring both personal fulfilments as well as professional success.


Higher earning potential

Working as a freelance personal trainer grants you the opportunity to set your own rates and retain a more significant portion of your earnings. Without the overhead costs associated with working in a gym, such as rent or equipment fees, you can potentially earn more for your services. This financial freedom allows you to invest in your business, further your education, and provide the best possible experience for your clients. If you work for a gym, the number of hours you put in may vary based on the demands of the company. On average, the hourly pay will typically be around $29 per hour for personal training jobs in Australia. This hourly wage will increase as you gain expertise. However, freelance personal trainers who own and operate their own personal training studios may bill clients at higher rates; some charge upwards of $100 per hour.


Diverse clientele

As a freelancer, you have the freedom to work with a wide range of clients who have various needs, preferences, and fitness goals. This diversity not only broadens your expertise but also makes your work more engaging and rewarding. You can position yourself as a versatile and sought-after personal trainer by adapting your services to different groups. With a diversified set of clients, you not only expand your professional network but also deepen your understanding of the intricacies of different training approaches. You can use this knowledge to pitch yourself to get more personal training jobs in Australia. This broader perspective and experience make you a well-rounded trainer, capable of adapting to various client needs and staying ahead in the ever-evolving fitness industry.


To sum it up

When pursuing personal trainer jobs in Australia, choosing between working in a gym or as a freelance professional is a pivotal decision. Personal trainers can create relationships, receive referrals and improve their abilities at gyms, which serve as vibrant centres for fitness fanatics. Freelancing, on the other hand, offers greater flexibility, higher earning potential, and the opportunity to work with a wide clientele. With the ability to cater to different demographics, personal trainers can establish themselves as versatile professionals. It is crucial to analyse your goals, preferences, and long-term aspirations to determine which path aligns best with your vision.

Ready to take the next step in your personal training journey? Visit https://pt-courses.com.au/study-in-australia-ml-offer/ and explore the diverse opportunities available to you in this industry. Whether you're looking to work in a gym environment with networking prospects, mentorship, and a steady client base, or crave the flexibility and higher earning potential of freelancing, we have the resources and support to help you thrive.


About the Writer

Initially learning the art of boxing to protect himself from bullies, Dundee Kim eventually harnessed his skills to become a two-time amateur boxing champion in South Korea. From there he migrated to Australia to become the Associate Director of International Relations, and then the Regional Director of International Relations at James Cook University. He eventually became the founder of Dundee’s Boxing & Fitness gym in Brisbane, and now the Director of Fit Education International.

Instagram: @dundeesboxingfitness

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dundee-kim

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