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Sport and Active Leisure



Leisure Centre Assistants

  • Leisure centre assistants may start at around £10,000 a year and, with experience, up to £14,500.
  • Earnings can be increased by overtime, shift and weekend duty payments.

Leisure Centre Managers

  • An assistant manager may start on around £12,000 to £17,000 a year.
  • A new leisure centre manager may earn £19,000 to more than £26,000 with experience.

Health and Fitness Instructor

  • The starting salary for a health and fitness instructor may be around £12,000 to £14,000 a year and from £16,000 to £25,000 with experience.
  • Personal trainers, exercise referral specialists or fitness managers may earn salaries over £30,000 a year.
  • Freelance fitness instructors working in a leisure centre may receive between £12 and £20 an hour, depending on the employer and level of expertise. Personal trainers offering one-to-one tuition may earn between £30 and £50 an hour.


  • Lifeguards working on a casual basis are usually paid between £6 and £9 an hour.
  • Starting salaries for full-time lifeguards are usually £11,500 to £14,000 and, with experience, may earn £15,000 or more.
  • These figures can be increased by overtime and payments for extra responsibilities such as coaching duties. Seasonal lifeguards typically earn around £200 a week.

Outdoor Activities Instructors

  • Outdoor activities instructors may start on around £8,000 to £11,000 a year.
  • Experienced instructors may earn about £12,000 to £18,000 and senior instructors with specialist skills may earn £25,000 or more.
  • Accommodation, personal equipment and food are often provided.

Professional Sport

Pay rates vary widely. Very few sports professionals earn a full time living from their sport. Many are semi-professionals, competing at a high level, unpaid. Most individual sports professionals are self-employed. They might earn just a few thousand pounds each year, and have to pay for their travel, equipment and coaching. In team sports, individuals negotiate earnings with their club. Bonuses may be paid when their team wins.

Sport and Exercise Scientist

  • A qualified sport or exercise scientist may start on around £18,000 a year.
  • With experience, this may rise to £35,000.
  • Those working at the highest level of competitive sport may earn £60,000, or more.

Sports Coach

  • Newly-qualified coaches working for local authorities may earn £15,000 to £25,000.
  • Senior coaches working for a National Governing Body (NGB) or professional club may earn between £30,000 and £35,000.
  • Many sports coaches are unpaid volunteers.
  • Most coaches are paid an hourly rate, which varies from around £15 to £20 an hour.

Sports Development Officer

  • Sports Development Officers starting as an assistant in a local authority may earn up to £16,700 a year.
  • Sports Development Officers with a few years' experience may earn £24,000 and managers or heads of sports partnerships may earn up to £40,000.