Aerobics Instructor Job Description

Aerobics instructors plan and lead aerobics-based exercise programs for people of all ages and fitness levels. Gyms, recreational centers, and fitness centers of all types hire aerobics instructors, who primarily work daytime and evening hours on weekdays and weekends. Aerobics instructors are supervised by fitness coordinators or gym managers but work independently to plan and conduct their exercise classes.


Aerobics Instructor Duties and Responsibilities

Specific job duties for aerobics instructors vary based on the employer who hires them, the groups of people they teach, and the available space and equipment they use for their classes. However, all aerobics instructors adhere to the following core job duties no matter where they work:

Design and Lead Workout Routines

Aerobics instructors design workout routines to fit predetermined lengths of time and lead these routines for groups of varying sizes. Aerobics instructors continuously create new routines, incorporating different exercises, music, and movements to keep classes fresh and interesting.

Offer Alternatives

Aerobics instructors plan alternative movements into their routines to suit people of higher or lower fitness levels and instruct groups on how to use these alternatives during workouts.

Monitor Clients

Aerobics instructors monitor all members of their classes at all times for safety, calling out suggestions as needed if members are straining too hard, moving too close to objects or other people in the room, or otherwise endangering themselves and others.

Organize and Maintain Exercise Rooms

Aerobics instructors keep their exercise rooms neat and organized at all times and monitor equipment for signs of damage. Aerobics instructors order new equipment as needed.

Answer Questions

Aerobics instructors provide insight and advice on fitness to clients, answering questions they have and providing support and motivation to encourage them to reach their fitness goals.


Aerobics Instructor Skills and Qualifications

Aerobics instructors are physically fit, energetic people with the ability to lead groups and motivate others to become more fit. Employers look for aerobics instructors who have the following essential skills needed to perform all aspects of the job:

  • Leadership skills – aerobics instructors must lead groups of people and provide constant, continuous instruction, which requires strong leadership abilities
  • Communication skills – aerobics instructors must clearly explain the movements they are performing, count out loud, and keep groups motivated during aerobics classes, so people in this career must have good verbal communication skills
  • Customer service – because aerobics instructors develop and maintain relationships with clients and show them a supportive and positive attitude, people pursuing this job have excellent customer service skills
  • Physical fitness – aerobics instructors perform exercise routines for others to use as a guide and serve as a fitness role model, which requires them to maintain their own physical fitness
  • Analytical abilities – aerobics instructors use their analytical thinking skills to assess their clients and advise them on how to achieve their own fitness goals


Tools of the Trade

Aerobics instructors regularly use these tools to create and implement their workout routines:

  • Music equipment (cell phones, tablets, MP3 players)
  • Workout equipment (jump ropes, hand weights, floor mats, steps)


Aerobics Instructor Education and Training

Aerobics instructors must have a high school diploma at minimum, and many employers also require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in biology, physiology, nutrition, or a related field of study. Work experience as a personal trainer or exercise instructor can suffice for education. Employers also require aerobics instructors to have CPR and first aid certification.

Many employers require aerobics instructors to also have an NETA, AFAA, or ACE certification in order to instruct group classes. These are different types of fitness certifications provided by the American Council of Exercise, the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, and the National Exercise Trainers Association. In each case, applicants must pass a paid exam to become officially certified.


Aerobics Instructor Salary and Outlook

Statistical data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that fitness trainers and instructors, which includes aerobics instructors, earn a median annual income of $38,160, or $18.34 hourly. The number of jobs in this field is projected to increase by 10 percent through 2026, which is faster than average job growth.

Aerobics instructors do not commonly receive health insurance benefits, though vacation days are typically provided. Some employers also offer monetary incentives to aerobics instructors who can significantly increase gym memberships or class enrollment.


Helpful Resources

Learn how to become an aerobics instructor and find support for turning this job into a successful career using these resources:

The Aerobics Instructor’s Handbook: What to Teach, and How to Teach It Effectively! – use this guidebook to create effective, safe aerobics routines by learning how to add variation and new choreography to the essential base movements of aerobic exercise

Athletics and Fitness Association of America – the AFAA website offers multiple resources for fitness certification programs, learning workshops, and recertification information for aerobics instructors and other fitness professionals

Fitness Trainer and Aerobics Instructor Career (Special Edition): The Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing the Interview & Getting Promoted – this book serves as a career guidebook for aerobics instructors who want to find jobs and get promotions to advance in their chosen field

National Aerobics & Fitness Trainers Association – find certification programs and continuing education information for aerobics instructors and other professional fitness trainers at NAFTA

Kinds of Aerobics Activities: Popular Aerobics Activities – read this book to learn more about various types of aerobics exercises and the equipment used to perform different aerobic workouts


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