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A fitness director handles the managerial duties at a gym or fitness center. He or she is responsible for hiring instructors, organizing classes, purchasing equipment, and managing finances. Most fitness directors have extensive previous experience in the field as group instructors or personal trainers. The educational requirements to become a fitness director vary between employers, but many professionals hold college degrees related to physical education, business administration, or both.
Personal trainers and group exercise leaders work under the guidance of the fitness director. The director sets workers' schedules and determines when to hold certain classes. He or she stays up-to-date on the latest trends in the fitness world to ensure that gym patrons get to enjoy the best equipment and exercise routines. Some fitness directors, especially those who work at small clubs or gyms, spend at least part of their time actually instructing classes.
A large portion of a fitness director's job involves standard administrative duties common in most businesses. He or she keeps track of patron's files, including billing and payment information. The director determines prices for membership fees and sets wages for hourly and salaried workers. Budget decisions are made by analyzing past sales figures and investigating the success of competing gyms.
The fitness director is also responsible for ensuring the gym complies with occupational safety laws and local building codes. He or she makes sure equipment is kept well-maintained at all times, and that safety rules are clearly posted for members to see. By keeping the gym clean and safe, the director is likely to get more business.
While there are no set education or training requirements to become a fitness director, most employers prefer to hire directors who have obtained pertinent degrees. A bachelor's or master's degree program in physical education provides an individual with expert knowledge of exercise science, human health, and personal training procedures. Many hopeful fitness directors also choose to pursue degrees in business administration to prepare for the various managerial duties related to the position.
A fitness director is usually certified in many areas of physical education. A professional can take training courses and written exams to receive certification in personal training, health fitness, clinical exercise, and physiology, among other specialties. Many professional boards offer certification, including the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in the United States. An individual who is interested in learning more about becoming certified by the ACSM or a similar group can browse organizations' Web sites or speak with directors at his or her local fitness center.