T Nation

P.E. vs. Personal Training


What do you guys think would be a better career to pursue financially? A physical education teacher or a personal trainer?


That's kind of like asking - "What's a better career move, hot-dog stand vendor or night shift manager at Wendy's?"

Ok, maybe not that bad, but financially pretty damn close.


Personal Trainer has the potential to take you further, if you have a good personality and know how to network.

But, if you looking to go in the field, personal therapy is the way to go..at least financially speaking.


Do both.


Dude, horrible attitude.I'm a P.E. teacher and you make pretty damn good money for teaching. My wife and I(26 & 27 yrs old) both teach now and love it! We are doing just fine financially and in our relationship.

You start off at mid 30's and by the time you finish your career you end up @ around mid 50's. With 2 people being teachers we pull in about 75 grand a year now. By the time we retire we will be being paid aroud 110,000 a year, thats not too shabby. There is not many families that make more than that...

We have great beneifts(better than most any jobs), paid retirement(we dont contribute a dime) and also we have our summers off, great vacations and most importantly we will have awesome time to raise our children and concentrate on being a wonderful family(if thats valueable to you).

Like the guy said above me, do both, take advantage of both and personal train on your freetime and during the summers. You'll be making bank and still have pleanty of time during the summer to travel, go to the beach, work out or screw your wife all day long while the rest of the population is workng...

Yeah I have a horrible life...


Good post. I think a lot of people are misinformed about how well you can do teaching. As you mentioned, the benefits and vacation are outstanding, and the pay is decent. To hear from some people, you would think teacher's live a pauper's life, which is just simply not true. It's all about living within your means.


Not many personal trainers have pensions and health benefits. Get your teaching credential. You won't regret it.


I agree with the above posters. I've been a "fitness professional" for 4 years now and I'm realizing I want the steady income and benefits of being one of those PE/Health teachers.


I teach PE, and I really enjoy it. There's no reason why you can't do both. I haven't seen the curriculum other than at Oklahoma colleges but here the program is set up as basically a degree in kinesiology with the phys ed emphasis.

For extra cash, you can coach a sport or do tutoring. Our tutors that tutor privately at my particular school charge $25-50 an hour depending on subject.

Good luck in what you decide.


BINGO! This is probably the most important comment on this topic...

Also, like everyone else said, Do both... Its easy to go and pass any of those exams to train someone.


Don't teachers get the summer off as well?


well i know teachers for the most part in the states make crap, but here in canada they do VERY well for themselves, so i guess it depends on where you live.


Don't teach in kansas, thats for damn sure. For the first few years of teaching, teachers qualify for food stamps.

In my HUMBLE opinion, get a masters or a doctorate, and become a kinesiology proffesser or something like that at a university. I know the charge enough for freaking tuition that they have plenty to pay teachers with. That, or whatever colleges do with it.


PE teacher without any doubt.

A personal trainer is can be a tough way to live. Early starts, late finishes, stressing if clients will turn up, and so on makes it very hard to do long term.

There were points in my PT career where my clients were getting amazing results however, they'd decide to pull the pin on it as they really didn't have the discipline to do it long term.

The salary is variable and who knows how long this fitness boom will last. From all reports jogging was the boom thing in the 70's and that has died off.

We had PE teachers in the 70's and we will have them forever. There are great opportunities in the PE field and you get some awesome holidays.

Financially the PE teacher will be more stable, however running your own business as a PT could be far more financially beneficial.

I know plenty of extremely good PT's struggling to make the rent. There are a plethora of them around these days and as the others have said, you can do both.

Why not be a PT whilst you are at College? You'll get a good understanding of it and you'll have a degree to fall back on.


In my opinion and you didn't state which grade you'd like to teach but any age less than highschool is babysitting. A highschool phys ed teacher could be fun and at some bigger schools they have "strength training" as an elective which could be real enjoyable if you have a couple classes with young kids that are hungry for knowledge and are willing to bust their asses in the gym.


Thanks for all the responses, It seems it makes the most sense to go to college for P.E. and get certified so I could do some personal training on the side for some extra bucks. Just to clarify I was thinking of teaching high school P.E. Does anyone here own a gym? I was thinking that when I get a enough money I could open one but dont know if its worth it or not.

Thanks again
N. Robinson


I don't know about anybody in this thread, but I'm pretty sure Bauer owns a gym. You might try talking to him about what it's like.


It is long hours, but if you get the mix right, you'll make a good living.

A couple of guys I know owned a gym in outback Australia. When they sold the business for about 10 times what it cost to start up, they went to the bank, opened their long term deposit box and pulled out a wad of $100 notes. They sat there for a good hour doing the old "One for you, one for me." with the notes.


Ha! Nothing like good ole', "liquid" cash :-).


None of that in teaching!