Jobs that Involve Working Out & Exercise

While it may be common for people to associate exercise with professional athletes, some may be surprised to realize that there are a number of occupations that involve exercising and working out. Some of these careers are explored in this article.

Career Options for Jobs Involving Working Out and Exercise

Exercising and working out are essential components of a number of occupations. Medical professionals may use exercise programs as part of their treatments for patients, while educators may be involved in teaching students about physical fitness and how to exercise safely. Exercising and working out may involve performing exercise routines yourself, or may involve monitoring others who are engaged in these activities to ensure they are performing movements correctly and safely.

Job Title Median Salary* (2016) Growth* (2014-2024)
Physical Therapists $85,400 34%
Athletes and Sports Competitors $47,710 6%
Coaches $31,460 (all coaches and scouts) 6% (all coaches and scouts)
Exercise Physiologists $47,340 11%
High School Physical Education Teachers $58,030 (all high school teachers) 6% (all high school teachers)
Fitness Trainers and Instructors $38,160 8%
Recreation Workers $23,870 10%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Jobs Involving Working Out and Exercise

Physical Therapists

A doctoral degree and license are required to be a physical therapist. Physical therapists work with people who may have been injured in an accident or affected by an illness. Their goal is to help them regain or improve their ability to move. Part of their work involves teaching patients exercises and developing exercise treatment plans for patients.

Athletes and Sports Competitors

Athletes and sports competitors play sports or compete in athletic events. They do not need formal education, but they do need athletic skill and may spend many years training in their sport. In order to compete, they have to meet any specific requirements for the sport; for example, their weight may affect which category they compete in, and they may be required to take drug tests to be eligible to play or compete. Their work involves being in good physical health, and exercise is a regular part of their training routine so that they can maintain their health and practice skills needed in their sport.


Many coaches start out as athletes and then complete a bachelor's degree to prepare for a career as a coach. They need to know the sport they coach extremely well, and they may work with people who play sports for fun or coach professional sports competitors and athletes. Part of their work involves planning the training for the athletes they work with, and this means that they may oversee exercise programs designed to improve or maintain the physical health of the athletes they work with.

Exercise Physiologists

A bachelor's degree in kinesiology or a related discipline is required for entry-level work as an exercise physiologist. People who have been affected physically by a disease may need to work with an exercise physiologist in order to develop the best exercise routine to achieve specific physical goals. Depending on their condition, they may be focused on losing weight, or they may be more concerned with other factors, such as flexibility, and need a program that helps them address those specific physical concerns.

High School Physical Education Teachers

High school teachers develop lesson plans, instruct students and grade their performance. High school physical education teachers specifically focus on teaching students about sports and physical exercise. As part of their instructional time, they may lead exercise routines and teach students specific exercises. They need to have a bachelor's degree and teaching license.

Fitness Trainers and Instructors

Although it isn't always necessary to have formal training to become a fitness trainer or instructor, an associate's or bachelor's degree may increase job opportunities. Fitness trainers and instructors work with people individually or in groups and teach them a specific exercise technique, such as yoga. Part of their duties involves showing their clients how to correctly perform exercises, and their goal is to help their clients improve their physical health through exercise.

Recreation Workers

Recreation workers lead recreation activities in venues as varied as children's camps or senior centers. They don't necessarily need any formal training, and they may learn through on-the-job training after earning a high school diploma. Some recreation workers specialize in specific physical activities, such as dance, and their duties may involve showing their clients how to perform specific moves and stretches and exercises that they can do to improve their performance or to prevent injury.

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