If you’re looking to start a career in Strength and Conditioning, it’s a good idea to assess the potential career prospects available to you to ensure it’s worth your while and meets your financial expectations.
However, these figures are actually very skewed as they only factor in for companies that advertise via their jobs boards and do not take into consideration many variables such as:
- Freelance coaching salaries – for coaches that go independent, online or set-up an S & C gym or studio
- Companies that do not advertise via their specific jobs boards
- When an S & C coach stops becoming S & C coach and actually become a business owner.
- Distortion between internships, part time roles and full-time strength and conditioning salaried positions.
With that in mind OriGym created this article, where you will find:
- Who hires a S & Coach and how much they pay
- Factors that influence your Strength and Conditioning Salary
- The different roles available and how this influences how much you earn
- How much freelance strength and conditioning earnings differ from set salaries
- How strength and conditioning wages progress over time
- Where to find a Strength and Conditioning job
- How to qualify as an S & C Coach
- Qualifications you can take to compliment and increase strength and conditioning coach wages.
- How to maximise your career earnings
Let’s jump straight in…..
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Who Hires a S & C Coach and How Does this Affect your Strength and Conditioning Salary and Hourly wage?
Let’s start with the “who” hires a strength and conditioning coach before we move onto how this affects your earnings.
- Professional & Semi-professional Sports Teams
- Professional bodies
- Schools, universities and colleges
- Studios and private gyms
- Individual athletes
Professional & Semi-Professional Sports strength and conditioning salary
Every type of sports team requires an S & C coach, whether that being football, cricket, swimming, netball, you name it!
If you thought of every type of sport and then worked out how many professional and semi-professional teams there are, the total number would blow your mind. This therefore means that there ample of possibilities and opportunities to working with a sports team in a professional capacity.
Becoming a Strength and conditioning coach for a professional sports outfit sounds of what dreams are made of, but what is the salary of a strength and conditioning coach for one of these professional and semi-professional sports teams?
The strength and conditioning coach salary range varies due to the following factors;
- Size of the sports team
- Status and wealth of the sports team
- The popularity of the sport the sports team is in
- The position you’re applying for
- The level of athlete you will be working with
- How much experience you have
Size of the Sports Team
If you’re looking to apply for an S & C role with a major sports team like Manchester United in football, London Lions in Basketball or Somerset Cricket team, these are highly established sports teams within their respective sporting disciplines.
A strength and conditioning coach’s salary is normally higher at these types of establishments as they want the crème de la crème of S & C coaches to work with their squads. An average strength and conditioning coach salary going rate for one of these types of institutions in a first team role is around £40,000 - £50,000 per year.
When reviewing semi-professional teams and teams with smaller status for the same type of role, the salary for a strength and conditioning coach was on average £10,000 - £15,000 per year less.
Status and wealth of the sports team
As we all know, some sports are far more popular than others and this influences both opportunity and the professional sports strength and conditioning salary available.
If again we use our example from above of Manchester United Vs Somerset Cricket club, the status and wealth of these two very different sports team is worlds apart. Manchester United turned over £719m in 2018-2019 according to Statista compared with pre-tax surplus of £300,806 for Somerset cricket club. This will inevitably influence the strength and conditioning job salary available and why you should refrain from your own personal sporting interest to what will benefit your career.
The Level of the position you’re applying for as a Strength and Conditioning Coach
There are multiple tiers of roles within S & C, which will all have fluctuating strength and conditioning wage affiliated to them.
For example, the assistant strength and conditioning salary is going to be very different to the “Director of performance role” at the same sports team.
See our graphic below of the different roles within S & C that you will find at a sports team:
- S & C Intern
- Graduate S & C coach
- Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
- Academy Strength and Conditioning Coach
- First Team Strength and Conditioning Coach
- Head of Strength and Conditioning
- Director of Strength and Conditioning
This would be a typical breakdown that you would find in most professional sports clubs:
1. Internships - Strength and Conditioning Wage range - £0 - £17,000 per year
Many clubs start by offering internships to those whom are just about to complete their Level 4 strength and conditioning qualification or their final year of their degree. Internships allow sports clubs to hire S & C coaches for minimum wage or sometimes for free if it’s a placement, such as this one by Peterborough United Football Club:
This gives the student experience working in the environment and the sports club free, high quality labour and to be able to identify potential talent.
2. Graduate Roles – Average Strength and Conditioning Coach Earnings - £16,300 - £21,000
Graduate roles are for those whom have just qualified from their Level 4 S & C course or not long finished their degree. You can find many specific graduate jobs advertised on the likes of UKSCA or UK Sport. These are ideal starting roles to gain insight and experience, before moving up the ladder.
3. Academy Strength and Conditioning Coach - £18,000 - £23,000
Academy roles tend to be open for both new graduates and for those holding a little more hands on experience.
See here an advert placed by Burnley Football Club on their website:
4. Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Salary Range – £19,000 - £25,000
Assistant Strength and Conditioning positions can vary dependin on the level you are "assisting with". For example if you're assistsing he youth set-up that is very different to assisting with the first team squad and again this avries from sport to sport. This role is a natural progresssion from either a graduate or successful internship.
5. First Team Strength and Conditioning Coach Salary - £23,00 - £35,000
These roles normally require extensive experience and established pedigree in the field of S & C and not directly applicable for new graduates unless at a semi-professional sporting outfit.
6. Head of Strength and Conditioning Salary - £30,000 - £55,000
To become the head S & C coach at a major sporting outfit you can find strength and conditioning salaries of up to £55,000 per annum, but the higher up the hierarchy you get the more diversification you will find in the salary ranges. This is due to the fluctuation in available finances to attract the “best” candidates from club to club and sport to sport.
7. Director of Sporting Performance - £50,000 - £100,000
Individuals who are lucky enough to reach the heights of Director of Sporting performance will normally be heading up not just S & C, but whole sport science department. Some universities in America even pay into double six figures for strength and conditioning coach salary for this position.
The Level of Athlete you will be working with will influence your Strength & Conditioning Coach Income
When we picture sports teams, we often just think about working with the first team ans that we want to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s personal S & C coach, but as we also know there are tiers within sports clubs that all require the same principle training.
Outside the first team, you have reserve teams, under 23 teams, Under 21 teams and youth teams of various ages right down to aged 6 and 7 in some instances.
Sports teams have S & C roles for most age ranges and groups of athletes. The level you work at will normally be directly proportional to how much you will earn as a strength and conditioning coach. By logic, if you’re working with the first team squad, as opposed to the youth set-up your strength conditioning coach salary will be higher.
Professional bodies like the FA (Football Association), RFU (Rugby Football Union) and ECB (England Cricket Board) all hire strength and conditioning coaches to work with the elite athletes that represent us at International level.
See here an advert from the Welsh Netball association:
Schools, universities and colleges all hire Strength and Conditioning Coaches
Yes, educational institutions are one of the most common routes for qualified S & C coaches and have various roles that you can apply for.
Colleges and universities have elite athlete programmes, especially at more sports focused institutions like Loughborough or Leeds Carnegie, that offer scholarships and programmes to try and entice high level sports performers and athletes compete on behalf of the institution at both regional and National level.
Sticking with the Burnley theme, see here an example from Burnley College:
This role is a graduate supporting role and a typical university strength and conditioning salary for this type of role is between 19k and 21k per year.
For more experienced positions, such as Director of Performance or Head of Strength and Conditioning, the university strength and conditioning salary naturally increases to an average of £30,000 per year.
Studios and Private Gyms
If you considering a less academic route than working for a university or college, then working at bespoke S & C studios and private gyms could be more for you.
There are hundreds of studios in every cornerstone of the UK dedicated to S & C. You will work with both amateur and professional athletes on a 1-2-1 basis and private expert insight, programming and delivery of sessions.
Gyms and Studios tend to have varying models to how S & Coaches earn money:
- Pay a set strength and conditioning coaches salary
- Pay a part salary with set hours and part freelance
- Have a freelance only model
Gyms & Studios with a Set Strength and Conditioning Salary
Some private S & C studios make their money directly from the own client base that they have established over many years. They tend to pay between 20-30K per annum depending on your experience and expertise as seen here from Performance Project:
You will not have to source any of your clients and you will get a set strength and conditioning coach wage each and every month, which provides security and less stress as you don’t have to source your own clients.
Gyms & Studios with Contracted hours
Some gyms and private S & C studios provide some income security by offering some set paid hours on a contractual basis, but you will either have to source extra income from other means or they have a structure that allows you to bring your external clients in in exchange for either rent or taking a flat fee from the rate you charge the end client.
Many S & C coaches prefer this method to the set strength and conditioning specialist salary as it gives you some security and set hours, but allows you to really build your own business, charge what you like and gives you freedom to explore other revenue streams, which we will touch upon later in this article.
The contracted hours normally range between 12 and 25 hours and with an strength and conditioning hourly wage of around £10-£15 per hour.
Freelancing at a Gym or S & C Studio
Freelancing for a studio or gym is probably the most common of the three ways you can work in this space. This is where you will pay either a monthly rent fee to the gym or pay a set fee for each client as with the contracted hours above.The strength and conditioning coach annual salary through this means is impossible to determine as it’s down to you how much you will earn. Variable factors such as your business acumen, work ethic, marketing and sales skills, academics, approachability and knowledge will all play a part in determining your income.
Some highly successful S & C coaches will comfortbaly earn six figure strength and conditioning coach salaries (UK), but others will be lacking in those core skills resulting in them pursuing other career routes or sometimes even leaving the sector all together.
Another route to market for strength and conditioning coaches to explore is working for a Performance clinic. Performance clinics are similar to S & C studios in some ways, but completely different in others.
Performance clinics normally look at the entire aspect of what affects an athletes performance where as with S & C studios you tend to find it’s just the physical components of training that gets addressed.
For example, Pure Sports Medicine is a performance clinic that offers sports massage therapy, has psychologists, strength and conditioning coaches, Pilates, consultants and medical doctors.
When working for a clinic like this you will be playing a vital role in the development of athletes physical performance in correlation with all other aspects that determines performance. Positions at clinics like at gyms can vary but often, the strength and conditioning specialist salary can be higher at these types of institutions as they are both more affluent in price and attract more professional athletes that want the fully encompassing service. An average Strength and conditioning coach salary on a full-time basis at a clinic is around £25,000 per year.
Individual Professional and Semi-Professional Athletes
Some athletes will source freelance S & C coaches to help with their physical performance. This includes runners, cyclists, triathletes, boxers and many more.
Building up your reputation and how you market yourself as a freelancer coach will determine the aspect of the market you will attract and therefore how much you will earn as a strength and conditioning coach.
For example, if you looking to charge £100 an hour and above and to attract elite level athletes, you’re going to have to market yourself as an elite level coach.
This can be achieved by:
- Having high levels of strength and conditioning specific education and CPD behind you such a as a Level 4 Strength and Conditioning qualification or degree.
- By getting featured in fitness specific publications to establish trust and give you exposure
- By offering from your services for free to some athletes to get testimonials and reviews from well-known names
- Through creating a brand that looks at the value your services are trying to portray.
Some celebrity S & C coaches like Gunnar Petersen, can earn in excess of £500 per hour and have reported strength and conditioning coach annual salary of over £400,000 per year.
Alternately you can target your market to semi-professional athletes where the demographic is far wider and charge less per hour.
For example, my father, Dave Hughes is a sprint track cyclist and retired teacher. He hired a freelance S & C coach to help him with his workout routine and performance on the bike ahead of his age group World Championships (he won by the way).
He paid his S & C coach £30 per hour, and a successful coach through this means with a solid client base can earn up to £80,000 per year.
Starting your Own Strength and Conditioning Business or Studio
Another route to market as a S & C coach is to start your very own business outside of a gym, studio and away from the rigour of working for somebody else.
Take a look at some of the benefits of going freelance versus having a set strength and conditioning coaches salary below:
Benefits of becoming a strength and conditioning coach in a freelance position:
- You decide the hours you want to work
- You dictate how much you want to charge
- You get to create your very own brand
- Higher potential sports strength and conditioning coach salary
Going freelance as an S & C coach can massively impact your strength and conditioning coach salary, but and there is a big “but”…..
Only when you hit high client thresholds will this route start to massively pay off. Some S & C business owners are earning well into the six figure salaries as individual coaches and some even more successful ones have launched their own business and their company will be achieving turnovers in the millions with staff delivering their services for them.
In order to achieve these types of numbers though you need to be prepared to be patient and put the hours in early doors to start achieving these salary for strength and conditioning coaches are not handed out, they are truly earned.
It’s no longer just about your ability to write and deliver great programmes as with a salaried based role, it’s your ability to run every facet of a business, including, but not limited to:
- Marketing skills
- Sales Ability
- Finance Knowledge
- Business acumen
- Staff Management
To name just a few…..
There are a number of different routes you could take your S & C business and you can even combine options to increase your potential revenue streams and thus your strength and conditioning coach salary.
1. Online Strength & Conditioning Coaching
As with personal training, the online S & C market is growing. This is largely down to that clients want to access the best coaches, can train in their own time and due to technological advancements, they can facilitate coaching very effectively through a distant approach.
Even though clients will expect to pay a lower strength and conditioning coach hourly rate as your physically not there to instruct, spot and deliver sessions, the growth potential is far greater.
Online strength and conditioning coaching can massively boost your professional strength and conditioning coach salary as you’re not bound by the location of your clients, thus vastly increasing your reach and scalability.
2. Group Strength and Conditioning Coaching
Group coaching is more than possible, even when the client is training for different sporting goals. Not to get confused with a “class” where the movements are choreographed, and each participant is doing the same exercise, with group S & C all participants are working towards their own goals, following their own programme and exercises specific to their workout.
Normally, group S & C group sizes should not exceed 6 people in order for you to successfully be able to safely and effectively manage the group.
Group S & C has huge potential to boost your strength and conditioning hourly rate as naturally you arr getting paid by six individuals as opposed to one. As your client’s time is getting shared with others, you should reduce the hourly rate that you charge the individual, normally by £10 per hour or so. But, as you’re getting paid by six people for the same time you would normally allocate for one, you can easily earn in excess of £100 per hour.
For example, if you normally charge £30 per hour, you can reduce this to charge each participant £20 per hour and hey presto there’s your £100 an hour strength and conditioning wage.
Adding group S & C not just makes top quality coaching available for less to the more amateur and semi-professional market, but it keeps exclusivity to the top end of the market for those athletes that prefer 1-2-1 coaching, thus enhancing your strength and conditioning annual salary further.
3. Set-up your very own Gym or Studio to Enhance your Strength and Conditioning Wage
Setting up a strength and Conditioning gym is a great way to potentially bolster your income and it’s easier than you may think.
Warehouses make cheap and spacious locations for setting up a strength and conditioning gym and with many pieces of equipment you require being functional, you can do this even on a limited budget.
Setting up a strength and conditioning gym can result in huge earnings when things go well with some S & C gyms turning over up to 1m a year in the year UK. These successful gyms normally have a plethora of high paying clients and multiple of revenue streams such as:
- Charging other trainers to bring clients in and use the facility.
- Locker hire
- Group sessions
- Membership fees
- Online programming
- 1-2-1 Sessions
- Merchandise and fitness apparel
If you set-up an S & C studio or gym and created a package where it was on average £30 per hour and for £10 extra they could have unlimited gym use on two times per week over 40 clients would make you a gross of £10,000 per month and £120,000 per year. That’s without any of the add-ons we have mentioned above, off just 40 clients.
Obviously, the strength and conditioning salary range will vary greatly when setting up an S & C gym and the start-up costs are not cheap, but the potential is limitless and scalable.
You can scale your business by hiring of staff to deliver sessions for you allowing you to focus on increasing your membership base, move to a bigger venue or even open more than one site.
The S & C coaches in the UK that have gone onto to be the most successful in the UK in terms of revenue tend to be coaches that have started their own facility or brand.
Strength and Conditioning Coach Salary (UK) Changes with Time and Experience
According to Payscale, the average salary of strength and Conditioning coach improves over time with experience as seen below:
Although I would question the exact average amounts, the principle is logical for a few reasons:
- Wage rises and promotion
- Freelance Earnings Increase
- Individuals who don't earn that much leave the Industry
Wage Rises & Promotions
S & C job roles work in the same mannerism as any other job. If you’re working for a sports team, gym, school or any other academic establishment, annual strength and conditioning pay rates will increase with performance reviews and time. Additionally, if your work gets recognised with the organisation you’re operating, you may land a promotion or move up the ladder at another company.
Freelance Strength and Conditioning Earnings Increase with Experience
If you go freelance straight after qualifying as an S & C coach, you might be starting with literally no clients at all. It takes time to build a sustainable client base in any freelance business, thus the more time that passes the increased likelihood that your salary for a strength and conditioning coach will increase proportionally.
If you also get to the stage where you have a full client base you might go and start your own studio, gym or clinic that will enable you to further increase your potential earnings.
Individuals leave the industry
Thousands of individuals qualify as S & C coaches via both degrees and vocational learning each year. With this in mind, only a nominal percentage actually stay in the industry after a 2-year duration.
This naturally will decrease the certified strength and conditioning specialist salary as many of those individuals will be in lower paid roles, internships or just not made a success of themselves as a freelance coach. By contrast if you’re still in the sector after several years, that’s probably due that you have an established full-time role or built a successful freelance client base which has enhanced your earnings overtime.
What Qualifications do you need to become a Strength and Conditioning Coach?
In order to start a career in strength and conditioning you need to be qualified, but there is two routes that you can take:
- Complete a degree in Strength and Conditioning
- Complete a Level 4 Strength and Conditioning Course through vocational delivery
Complete a degree in Strength and Conditioning
Reputable sports universities offer degrees in strength and conditioning, but of course like most degrees it will take you 3 years to graduate. See our list here of the best sports universities in the UK for best places to study with.
Complete a Level 4 Strength and Conditioning Course
If you do not fancy waiting 3 years to be qualified or you’re looking to add a certificate in strength and Conditioning to your arsenal, the Level 4 S & C qualification is your best bet.
You normally will complete these types of courses via blended learning. where you will study part-time via a combination of e-learning and attending practical based workshops led by experienced S & C qualified tutors.
Normal course duration is between 12-16 weeks, depending on your application, academic ability and prior experience on the subject. You can find out more on how to become a strength and conditioning coach here or you can make an enquiry for OriGym’s Level 4 Strength and Conditioning course below:
Where to Find a Strength and Conditioning Coach Jobs?
You can find strength and conditioning jobs on the likes of Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Total jobs as you would any other job, but the majority of prestigious sports teams, associations and universities tend to advertise in more specific places like:
Signing up for these sites is FREE and there are hundreds of strength and conditioning roles from internships through to Director so you can compare strength and conditioning salary ranges and opportunities.
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What can you do with a Strength and Conditioning Qualification to enhance your Strength and Conditioning salary?
There are more avenues you can peruse with a S & C qualification or degree than first meets the eye. When looking at qualifications to add to your portfolio you should always consider your return on investment (ROI) and strategic route to how you could increase your strength and conditioning coach earnings.
Take a look below at some potential avenues you can consider to either supplement your career or utilise your strength and conditioning qualification with:
Become a Teacher and Assessor of Strength and Conditioning
Colleges and training providers hire S & C coaches, but not for the implementation of training, but as lecturers, teachers and assessors of their strength and conditioning courses.
If you want to help the next generation of S & C coaches, this route is for you!
You would need to complete a teaching and assessing course, which unlike most other forms of qualification you can actually do as you perform the role.
Colleges and training providers hire strength and conditioning lecturers to instruct practical sessions, deliver workshops and teach the course modules to new aspiring students.
You can either use this as a secondary revenue stream to enhance your strength and conditioning coach income or there is a full-time roles available if this route truly excites you.
Qualify as a Personal Trainer
In principle, there are huge similarities between personal training and strength and conditioning and they tend to complement each other.
Becoming qualified at a minimum of Level 3 in Personal Training would allow you to reach a different demographic which tends to be your everyday gym goer or those looking to get into exercise.
Not just can you enhance your strength and conditioning coach salary (UK) by vastly increasing your target reach, but these demographics also have slight overlays into one another:
For example, if you start personal training a client who is a runner and then builds up their confidence to wanting to compete in a half marathon or marathon, that really is a manoeuvre from PT to S & C.
Another example, would be a recreational weight trainer who then wants to start entering powerlifting competitions or strongman. This again would be a client moving from your PT service into your S & C business.
By offering both services you’re supplementing your strength and conditioning job salary and the best part is, it won’t cost you any money to acquire them.
Sports Massage Therapy / Injury Rehabilitation
Another qualification to add to potentially boost your certified strength and conditioning specialist salary is to become qualified in sports massage and injury rehabilitation.
Athletes of all abilities sustain injuries and as a professional S & C coach this is a big problem.
If an athlete is out of action, they have no need to pay you for your services during this time period. This causes loss of habit for the client and most importantly income to you.
Through offering sports massage therapy (SMT) and injury rehabilitation for muscular strains, and sprains, you can offer to transfer sessions over from S & C to SMT, thus not affecting your strength and conditioning coach salary.
Additionally, in the same way as mentioned before that Personal Training helps S & C, so does SMT in the exact same way.
If you start offering SMT, you will find some crossover, which will enable you turn some SMT clients into new S & C clients.
As you should have struck up some good quality rapport with your client, you can promote and tout your S & C services and a certain percentage of those clients will convert into new S & C clients.
BONUS SECTION: Set up your S & C Business the Right way to maximise your Strength and Conditioning Coach Salary
If you elect to explore the freelance route as a coach or want to add it as an extra revenue stream to a set salaried role, there is methods you can adopt to maximise your strength and conditioning coach earnings.
How you charge Strength and Conditioning Clients
Where many aspiring coaches go wrong is to charge for sessions either individually or via blocked sessions. This has many flaws including:
- You will have to re-sell to clients when their sessions finish
- Creates financial gaps in your finances
- Does not allow you to forecast your business effectively
- Causes poor client retention
- Decreases your value
- Disgruntled clients on different amounts
- Gives clients ready-made excuses to stop training as there is a defined end date
It might sound great to get paid upfront for 16 sessions, but actually it’s far more detrimental and unsustainable in the long run.
See why here…..
By having defined end dates on sessions, you will cause your own downfall as when it comes to renew clients, you firstly will need to have that awkward conversation about money, but also you have given them the opportunity to haggle you on price, thus potentially de-valuing your service to keep them as a client. Even when you do reduce the price you will naturally disgruntled clients that are paying more and causing yourself even more issues.
Additionally, you will also negatively affect your client retention and gaps in retention as people are people, they have lives and procrastinate.
For example: “:yes I will renew, but after the kids birthdays, Christmas, summer holidays….the list goes on! – It also does not mean they will come back at all.
Also, by getting the odd lump sum here and there, does not allow you to finically forecast your business projections to allow you to know how much you earn or to forecast for new pieces of equipment or other essentials within running a business.
Your S & C business should be about spending time and effort growing your business, not trying to keep hold of the clients you already have.
Monthly packages negate all those above issues and it’s the go to way to maximise your strength and conditioning coach salary and not cause yourself a headache in the process.
By Creating monthly packages, you can set all your clients on a contractual basis to pay you month on month via direct debit for a set fee based off the number of times per week you see them.
This creates continuity between clients’ payments, so one individual on one session per week pays the same as another client on one session per week. There is no defined end date as when contracts are up, the amount just rolls month by month so you never have to re-sell to clients, reducing admin and you do not need to de-value your service.
Additionally you can forecast your business on a month to month basis and you will know what strength and conditioning coach wage and earnings you make each month.
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Hopefully by now you know "what is a strength and conditioning coach salary" and what factors influence how much you will earn as an certified S & C coach, but to re-cap, it depends on the route you go down, whether it being salaried at a university or sports club, working for a gym or freelancing, the amount you will ultimately earn is determined by you as an individual.
If you're looking to get into the fitness sector, find out more on our Internationally recognised Personal Training qualifications, sports massage courses or our award nominated Nutrition certification.