CrossFit was first developed in 2000 and the brand now has over 12,000 affiliates around the world. It’s no surprise that more people are interested in CrossFit as a fitness routine, sport, and even a business venture. CrossFit offers certification programs for their trainers, broken up into four levels. Depending on the location, size of the gym, trainer certifications, and more factors, CrossFit trainer salaries can vary wildly.
Average CrossFit Trainer Salary
It can be like comparing apples to oranges when looking at CrossFit coach salaries around the country. Some coaches choose to work part-time while others try to make their entire living as a coach. According to ZipRecruiter, the annual range for CrossFit trainers is $31,000-$52,000. Glassdoor reports a broader range of $28,000-$69,000.
Typically, CrossFit coaches are paid per class or an hourly rate for additional work at the gym. The hourly rate averages from $15-$45 depending on certifications, gym location, and experience. The best CrossFit gym owners provide free membership for their coaches to attend classes or use the equipment anytime.
Factors That Affect CrossFit Trainer Salaries
There are a lot of factors that go into determining the salary or hourly rate of a CrossFit coach. Since there is a lot to consider, it is not unusual to see a broad range of income for coaches.
The location of the gym and the corresponding cost of living is going to be the biggest factor for entry-level hourly rates for CrossFit coaches. There are some areas (typically rural or lower-income suburban areas) where it is common for coaches to receive as little as $10 per class. On the other hand, the high cost of living in big cities like Los Angeles or New York City means higher starting rates for CrossFit coaches.
Experience and certifications help CrossFit coaches stand out to gym owners. The owners know that their ability is proven and that these coaches can bring a lot of value to the gym. This is no different than any other industry.
CrossFit offers four levels of certification. Level 1 and 2 certifications require a two-day class and an exam. To become a Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT) or Level 3, you’ll need to pass an extensive online exam. The highest level of certification is the new Certified CrossFit Coach (CCFC) or Level 4. The CCFC has not been rolled out yet after delays during the pandemic.
Certifications allow you to carry credentials that showcase your knowledge and experience. However, thousands of great CrossFit coaches only complete their Level 1 certification. This is where experience comes in. On-the-job training can be just as important as studying the books, especially when coaches are working with people.
Classes vs. Personal Training
In general, coaches make more money during personal training sessions than in group classes. This is because personal training clients pay more money. The coach’s income from each session is usually split with the CrossFit gym.
CrossFit is a community sport, so a majority of gyms and coaches focus on group classes. Most members pay a monthly rate, so their per-class cost is quite low. This translates into lower hourly rates for the coaches when compared to high-paying personal training clients.
Size of the Affiliate
A CrossFit gym with 50 members will most likely not be able to provide the same coach salary as a gym with 400 members. Simply put, more income allows a business to pay more to its employees.
Larger gyms typically offer more classes throughout the week, so there are more opportunities to work. Small gyms tend to rely on part-time or “side gig” coaches to fill their class schedules. A large gym may be able to provide full-time hours to multiple coaches.
Number of Classes Taught
Every gym owner will have different requirements for their coaches. Some are fine with a coach teaching 1-2 classes per week, while others want dedicated coaches that work 40 hours per week. Obviously, the more you teach, the more income you will make per week.
Employee vs. Independent Contractor
Employees work for the CrossFit gym. From a tax perspective, the business collects necessary taxes from the employee’s paycheck and provides workers’ compensation insurance. On the other hand, independent contractors are paid a flat rate for their work. The contractor is then responsible for reporting and paying the necessary taxes.
Oftentimes, coaches that are hired as employees will end up with lower take-home pay than independent contractors. This is because the business has already taken out the taxes for them. They may also provide additional benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, continuing education courses, or CrossFit certifications.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do CrossFit coaches make money?
CrossFit coaches are paid by the gym per class. This rate usually varies from $15-$45. Coaches can also work as personal trainers or do hourly work at the gym. Hourly work can depend on the coach’s strengths or what the gym needs. Some examples include cleaning, bookkeeping, front desk, or administrative paperwork. Finally, some gyms offer a commission to their coaches for selling new memberships.
Do CrossFit trainers have second jobs?
Most CrossFit trainers work part-time or as a side gig. The average CrossFit gyms only need to employ 2-5 full-time or part-time coaches. Many gyms offer part-time coaching jobs for a little bit of income or a free gym membership. Additionally, many gyms are not able to pay their coaches a living wage, so a second job is necessary.
How much does it cost to get your CrossFit Trainer Certification?
The basic CrossFit course is the Level 1 (L1) Certification. This 2-day course and accompanying exam cost $1,150. You can retake the test for $150 if you do not pass the first time. Every 5 years, L1 coaches will need to revalidate (for $1000) or take a Level 2 (L2) Certificate course.
The Level 2 Certificate course also costs $1,150. Every 5 years, coaches will need to revalidate for $1000 or advance their certification.
To become a Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT) or Level 3, you’ll need to pass an online exam. The application costs $150 and the exam costs $500. You can retake the exam for $250 if you do not pass the first time. Every 3 years, it will cost $250 to revalidate. In addition to the fee, you’ll also need to have a current CPR certification, have completed 50 continuing education units, and coached 300 hours of classes.
CrossFit will be launching a Level 4 certification soon. The process was delayed by the pandemic. To become a Certified CrossFit Coach (CCFC), you will be evaluated for your ability to coach 60-minute CrossFit classes. The evaluation costs $1000. If you do not pass, a reevaluation will cost $800. Recertification costs $250.
Do CrossFit coaches teach full-time?
Some CrossFit coaches work at the gym full-time. Usually, there is some flexibility at a CrossFit gym to accommodate schedules. For some coaches, teaching CrossFit is their career. Others enjoy coaching part-time or as a side hustle. Some people coach just enough classes to receive a free membership at the gym.
Being a CrossFit coach can be a lucrative career if you work at the right gym. The average CrossFit trainer makes between $30,000 and $60,000 per year. Factors that may affect your coaching salary include your location, your level of experience, the size of the gym, the number of classes you teach, and whether you are an employee or an independent contractor. If you are interested in being a CrossFit coach, whether you want to make a career of it or work a couple of evenings a week, you should be able to find the right gym for you.