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How Much Can You Really Make As A Martial Arts Instructor?

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Whether they are in Taekwondo, Karate, Judo, or MMA Millions of martial arts fans dream of becoming full time martial arts instructors, getting away from the daily grind of their regular, dull day job and doing something they really love. Whether or not it is feasible to make the jump from student to instructor really comes down to the dollars and cents. So how much can you really expect to make as a martial arts instructor?

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Martial Arts Instructor Salary

According to Salary.com’s Salary Wizard average annual base salary for fitness and martial arts instructors in the US averages between $38,000 to $69,000 per year. However keep in mind that when starting out you will probably be beginning at the bottom end. Pay does vary quite a bit depending on where you work. For example base pay in South Florida is estimated at $46,668, while those in Los Angeles, California can expect a median annual income of around $51,970. On the bright side Salary.com does go on to show that when taking into consideration benefits you could be looking at an additional $20,000-30,000 per year.

Though you must remember that a big percentage of martial arts schools and MMA training centers offer a very low base salary combined with performance related pay and commissions that will make up the bulk of your compensation. Often this is a combination of new sign ups, residual income from students enrolled and bonuses for the profitability of the whole school. This means that until you have built up a good pipeline of students and have honed your sales skills and pitch you probably will not be hitting your income goals. If you do not have a sales background you will definitely want to read up on how to make the best pitches, seek out new promotion ideas and even attend sales seminars.

Of course once you have become a successful instructor you will naturally want to continue your progress by stepping up to manage a martial arts school or MMA gym yourself or even eventually own your own dojo. While you may find this much more profitable, it is great to spend some time as an instructor first to really analyze what works and what doesn’t before you go into business for yourself. Though once you open your own chain of schools the sky is the limit when it comes to rolling in the money!

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Omega Says:

    lol 70K? totally unrealistic. Even the top level black belts are scrounging around trying to get seminars for $50 a head, and you’re like 40 years old by that point! My old gym in DC paid like $25 per class/per hour….the highest paid guy made $2000 a month…slave wages. All the money is in running your own school and hiring out labor.

  2. Tony Hackerott Says:

    Hi Omega: I see your point. We will do some follow up research on this topic. Thanks for the great comment!

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