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How to Qualify for a Job at a Gym

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Gyms need staff members who will increase sales. Despite your role, you will be expected to carry a positive attitude and interact with members to encourage them to renew memberships and buy products. Gym employees are expected to live a healthy lifestyle and represent themselves as living the values of exercise and a proper diet. A competitive candidate will have a proven track record of increasing the bottom line.

Training The Team

Depending on the size, gyms need general, operations and training managers. The GM oversees the entire gym. The operations manager oversees the finances, memberships, administrative functions and resolves complaints. The training manager sets sales quotas for the personal training staff, monitors trainers for effective job performance and assigns floor time to trainers where they interact with members to drum up sales. The GM usually needs a bachelor's degree and management experience. The operations manager typically needs management experience and is often promoted from within the company. The training manager should be a certified personal trainer and have experience as a lead trainer.

Educating the Exercisers

Most gyms hire certified personal trainers who provide one-on-one training and class instruction. They advise clients on proper form, weight, exercise selection and repetitions. Many institutions such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine offer self-paced personal training certification programs. You don't need a certification to become a trainer, but few gyms will hire you without one. Some gyms will also require a degree, experience or both.

Building the Bottom Line

Membership advisers sell clients on the amenities of the gym and draw up membership contracts. They also take potential members on tours of the gym and make the gym look as attractive as possible. Advisers attempt to sell training sessions at sign-up. This position requires strong customer service and communication skills. No degree is required, but sales experience is almost always a must. If you have no sales experience, you might still get hired if you can prove that you have experience in customer service and possess good people skills.

Fostering First Impressions

Much like receptionists, the front desk staff are the first employees members see. A pleasant attitude and professional demeanor is essential. As a front desk staff member, you answer phones, check in clients and answer questions about class schedules and fees. You also ring up merchandise, drinks and snacks. Cleaning duties accompany the job and you might lock up at night depending on your dependability. This is an entry level position that usually requires a high-school diploma. Some computer experience is also desirable.


Three types of gyms exist: Corporate gyms fall under the governance of a corporate headquarters. Franchises are privately owned but carry the name of a nationwide chain. Corporate gyms and well-known franchises usually have you apply online and consent to criminal, credit and reference checks. Some smaller franchises use paper applications and may check references. Getting in the door of a privately owned gym oftentimes requires knowing somebody tied to the owners. Small or local gyms often advertise positions in the local paper or community magazines.


Michelle Dwyer is a U.S. Army veteran writing fiction and nonfiction since 2003. She specializes in business, careers, leadership, military affairs and organizational change and behavior. Dwyer received an MBA from Tarleton State University/Texas A&M Central Texas and an MFA in creative writing from National University in La Jolla, Calif.

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