Exercise Science Certifications and Classes

Exercise science classes and certification can give you the training and credentialing you need to begin a career as a personal trainer, group fitness coach or fitness specialist. Find out what you might study in exercise science classes, and explore certification options. Check the eligibility requirements for certification and re-certification. Get info on the job outlook for fitness and exercise professionals. Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Exercise science certifications are available through numerous private organizations, and many of them offer certification prep courses online. Some traditional colleges and universities also offer exercise science degrees and courses. Training in this field gives you knowledge of the human body and how to keep it in optimum condition.

Certification Available through American College of Sports Medicine and International Sports Sciences Association, among other organizations
Courses Physiology of exercise, human structure and function, motor behavior, health fitness instruction, biomechanics, physiological basis of strength training
Online Options Programs and courses are available partially or fully online

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Are There Prerequisites to Exercise Science Certification?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most exercise science certifications require you to have a high school diploma and knowledge of CPR, along with passing an examination (www.bls.gov). Some certifications have prerequisites such as a related associate or bachelor's degree. The American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM) Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist certification requires a master's degree in a field related the exercise science and 600 hours of experience.

Can I Take Exercise Science Classes Online?

Many exercise science courses are classroom-based, but you have the option of taking them at home or online. Some schools offer associate and bachelor's degree programs in exercise science online. You may also take continuing education credits online to maintain your certification.

What Topics Will I Study in Exercise Science?

Even if you have recently graduated from high school, you can begin working toward entry-level certification in exercise science as a personal trainer or group exercise instructor. You will cover topics in the following areas:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Conditioning
  • Exercise programming
  • Injury prevention
  • Training

How Does the Certification Process Work?

Exercise science certification is an examination process that demonstrates you have the knowledge and skills to work as an exercise professional. After you complete any educational level that may be required, you can apply to take the exam through nationally recognized organizations such as the International Sports Sciences Association or the ACSM. Your certification will be valid for 2-3 years, depending on the kind of certification you choose. In order to re-certify, you are required to take a certain number of continuing education courses.

What is the Job Outlook for Exercise Science Professionals?

According to the BLS, job opportunities for exercise physiologists were expected to increase above the average rate for all professions from 2016-2026. The projected 13% increase was expected to be because of increasing demand for fitness services for retirees, young adults and children across the country. In addition, the number of fitness trainers and instructors was expected to grow 10% from 2016-2026, which is faster than average.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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