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Strong growth projected in fitness and recreational sports centers, 2018–28

| January 2020

If you’ve resolved to get in shape this year, you might seek out an exercise facility to help accomplish that goal. That’s good news for employment in the fitness and recreational sports centers industry.

In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for most occupations in these centers to grow at least 15 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations in all industries, through 2028. As the chart shows, fitness trainers and aerobics instructors is projected to add the most jobs in these centers: about 31,100 over the 2018 to 2028 decade. This occupation also had the most employment in the industry in 2018, accounting for nearly 1 in 3 jobs.

General and operations managers in fitness and recreational sports centers had a median hourly wage of $33.04 in 2018, the highest for the occupations shown—and more than triple that of lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers, which at $10.35 had the lowest industry wage for the occupations charted. These managers usually work full time, year round. But part-time, seasonal jobs are common in many of the other occupations in the chart, which is why it shows hourly, instead of annual, wages.

Typically, you can enter most of the occupations in the chart with a high school diploma or less education, plus on-the-job training. Coaches and scouts typically need a bachelor’s degree; general and operations managers typically must have a degree and 5 or more years of experience.

Read about wages, work schedules, typical education and training requirements, and more for these and hundreds of other occupations in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Get projections data for all the occupations in fitness and recreational sports centers from the BLS Employment Projections program.

Elka Torpey is an economist in the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, BLS. She can be reached at

Suggested citation:

Elka Torpey, "Strong growth projected in fitness and recreational sports centers, 2018–28," Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2020.

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