04 Dec 2023

How to Become a Gym Manager

Career Advice

Want to take your fitness career path to the next level?  

Whether you already work in a gym or you’re looking for a foot in the door, becoming a Gym Manager is a fantastic way to combine your passions for fitness and business. 

In this guide on how to become a Gym Manager, we look at: 

  • What a Gym Manager does 

  • Skills required to be a successful fitness manager 

  • Sport and recreation courses/gym management courses 

  • Reasons to become a Gym Manager. 

gym manager inspecting workout tools

What does a Gym Manager do?

A Gym Manager is in charge of overseeing and maintaining all the facilities and equipment within the fitness centre. They are also responsible for ensuring members can enjoy their workout sessions in a safe and comfortable environment.

Beyond these upkeep and customer service tasks, Gym Manager duties also include managing the business side of fitness centres. Responsibilities in this area can include: 

  • Hiring and training other staff members 

  • Rostering and supervising the team (plus general admin duties) 

  • Arranging programmes and activities for members 

  • Managing the gym’s budgeting and financial records 

  • Marketing and promoting the gym. 

Gym Manager salary 

The salary of a Gym Manager is a significant drawing point to the job, making approximately $58,506 per year (average salary from PayScale). 

The job outlook for fitness managers is also especially promising, as the Australian government’s Labour Market Insights shows that the role of Amusement, Fitness and Sports Centre Managers is expected to grow by 17.7% in the five years leading up to 2026! That means there’s a good chance the industry will be stable with plenty of opportunities in the near future.  

people at the gym reception

Why choose to be a Gym Manager? 

If you enjoy the gym environment and staying fit in general, becoming a fitness manager gives you a great way to get paid to work in a place you love. You’ll also get to work with an active team of fitness professionals – great for making lifelong friendships and valuable career connections. 

Some of the best parts about being a gym manager include: 

  • Leadership opportunities 
    As a Gym Manager, you get to put your organisation and leadership skills to the test every day. You’ll lead and inspire a team, and develop highly valuable leadership skills.

  • Business and operations experience 
    Managing a gym provides hands-on experience in business operations, including budgeting, financial management, and resource allocation. These skills are super valuable and can be transferred between many roles and industries. 

  • Make a difference in your community 
    You’ll play a key role in creating a positive and healthy community. Not only will you help individuals achieve their fitness goals, but you’ll also be fostering a supportive environment where people can meet others with similar mindsets and goals. 

  • Diverse skill development 
    The role involves a mix of highly-valued skills, from customer service and marketing to staff management and facility maintenance. This will give you a well-rounded skill set that you can take with you wherever you want to go with your career in the future. 

  • Networking opportunities 
    Every day you’ll be with gym members, staff, and industry professionals, expanding your opportunity to network with like-minded individuals and potentially open doors to collaborations or partnerships. 

  • Personal fitness 
    Managing a gym often encourages your own personal commitment to fitness, setting an example for others and contributing to a healthier lifestyle. 

  • Professional growth 
    The challenges of managing a gym offer plenty of opportunities for professional growth, learning, and skill enhancement. This professional development can lead to career opportunities you never would have expected. There’s even the potential to open your own gym

  • Rewarding success stories 
    Witnessing members and staff achieve their fitness goals and succeed in the gym that you manage can be incredibly rewarding. 

  • Employee development 
    Nurturing the growth and development of gym staff can be very personally fulfilling as you contribute to their career advancement. 

  • Variety in responsibilities 
    The role involves a dynamic mix of tasks, ensuring that each day is different and offering a range of challenges and opportunities for problem-solving. 

  • A competitive salary 
    For the level of qualification that’s required for the role, being a fitness manager can come with a great salary. 

sport and rec managers

How to become a Gym Manager 

Once you have a personal training qualification such as a Certificate IV in Fitness or a Bachelor’s degree, you can start looking for club manager jobs at fitness facilities in your local area. Keep an eye out for fitness facilities that will help you train to be a fitness manager, supporting you as you get comfortable in your first managerial role. 

You can even choose to do this by completing work experience – a great way to position yourself for real-world, practical experience as a fitness manager is by studying for a Diploma of Sport and Recreation Management with AIPT.  

What skills does a Fitness Manager need? 

A reasonable level of physical fitness and a strong grasp of both personal and group fitness training principles are important for ensuring you can keep up with the demands of the job, while also feeling comfortable in a gym environment. However, you’ll also need a diverse range of business and people skills to fulfil the various duties listed above.  

For example, you’ll require: 

  • Strong customer service skills 

  • High-level communication skills for dealing with members and staff 

  • Sound business and marketing knowledge and know-how 

  • Delegation and leadership skills 

  • Organisation and time management skills. 

Plus, you’ll often need first-aid qualifications to be considered for most gym management roles. 

Gym Manager courses 

A university degree in sports science, sports and recreation management or a related field could help you get a role as a fitness manager. However, this isn’t always necessary; our SIS50115 Diploma of Sport and Recreation can prepare you to work in elite sports complexes and fitness centres with just 24 months or less of online study.  

A Diploma-level qualification will teach you the practical skills required to manage a successful and thriving sports facility. You will learn the ins and outs of developing marketing strategies, coordinating client service activities, managing finances and recruiting and leading staff.  

While there’s no set number of practical hours with the Diploma of Sport and Recreation Management, you still need to have access to a sport and recreation facility and a Supervisor/Manager to observe practical demonstrations. 

Getting this knowledge before your first role will not only make you more competitive for the job, but will help you feel more confident in your abilities from the get-go. 

Ultimately, the best way to find out if being a Gym Manager is right for you is to try it for yourself. Luckily, the Diploma of Sport and Recreation equips you with a wide range of career paths in the fitness industry, so you’ll still have plenty of choices even if managing a gym doesn’t end up being your dream job. 

Explore our courses online today or call us on 1300 616 180 for more information.  

Get in touch with AIPT today.

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Male trainer with arms crossed inside a gym