Best Online Exercise Science Bachelor's Degrees & Schools

While online exercise science bachelor's degree programs aren't common, they are offered by several schools throughout the country. Explore some of the best schools, what programs are available, how long they take and what careers they can lead to. Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Top Online Exercise Science Bachelor's Degree Programs

When choosing the best schools for online bachelor's degree programs in exercise science, you should consider factors such as program length, flexibility and cost.

1. Concordia University-Saint Paul

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Saint Paul, MN $22,275 99%

Concordia University-Saint Paul is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science program. The program consists of at least 120 credit hours, 49 of which are specifically related to the exercise science major. Students can transfer up to 90 credit hours into the bachelor's degree program, saving both time and money. All students in the exercise program have a tuition fee of $420 per credit hour, regardless of their state of residency. Students can study at their own pace, taking as many courses as they desire through 7-week class terms.

2. California Baptist University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Riverside, CA $33,478 95%

California Baptist University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). The school offers two online programs in exercise-related science: a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a Bachelor of Arts in Sport, Recreation and Fitness Management. The kinesiology program includes exercise physiology, motor development and contemporary health. The sport management program includes courses in sport behavior, physical activities and functional movement. All students have a tuition rate of $1,267 per credit hour regardless of their state of residence.

3. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Stephens Point, WI $8,239 89%

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Points has two online programs applicable to students interested in exercise science: a Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness Management (HWM) degree program and a Health and Wellness Coaching Certificate program. The HWM program is open to students with an associate's degree and consists of 61 credit hours. The 8-month certificate program complies with the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching, fulfilling continuing education credits (120) and/or graduate credits (18). The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers online students a tuition rate of $263 per credit hour (the BS in Health and Wellness is $440 per credit hour).

4. Eastern Oregon University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
La Grande, OR $8,679 98%

Eastern Oregon University has maintained accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities since 1931. The school offers an online bachelor's degree program in health & human performance that takes 4 years to complete and consists of 180 credit hours. The core program leads to a bachelor of arts degree, but students can earn a bachelor of science instead by taking an additional 12 credit hours of science courses. Students can choose a concentration in exercise science, physical education and sport, or community health. The program has a tuition fee of $252 per credit hour, and students with prior college credits or applicable work experience may be able to decrease their program length and cost.

5. Arizona State University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Tempe, AZ $10,822 96%

Arizona State University offers two online exercise science programs and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Bachelor of Science in Health Education & Health Promotion program prepares students for certification as health education specialists and includes courses in exercise and wellness, health education, health promotion and health advocacy. The Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences program has a focus on healthy lifestyles coaching and includes courses in stress management, coaching, fitness and nutrition. Both programs consist of 120 credit hours completed through 7.5-week courses and a tuition rate of $446 per credit hour.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Purdue University Global 12 campuses across 7 states $14,343 N/A
7 Granite State College Concord, NH $7,761 84%
8 United States Sports Academy Daphne, AL $16,200 N/A
9 California University of Pennsylvania California, PA $11,108 97%

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions. All table data is provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Overview of Online Exercise Science Bachelor's Programs

Online exercise science bachelor's degree programs typically involve entirely online coursework, but some programs require students to complete a hands-on practice component or internship. Online coursework is presented through a learning portal, which is often located on a third-party website (such as Moodle). Students use their learning portal for a variety of tasks that vary by course but can include video lectures, homework assignments, discussions and emails.

Typically, online classes are asynchronous, which means that students can access their learning portals and coursework at their convenience, as long as items are submitted on time; these types of classes usually have weekly or biweekly due dates. Some courses might also require students to log in at certain times for synchronous class components (such as live lectures).

Program Concentrations

Depending on the program, students may be able to choose a concentration within their degree, or a minor. Concentration options vary by program but might include physical education, kinesiology and coaching. Choosing a concentration enables students to focus a part of their curriculum on a specific area of exercise science, providing them with a deeper understanding of that topic. A student interested in becoming a fitness coach, for example, might find a coaching or similar concentration valuable in preparing for their career.

Common Courses in Online Exercise Science Bachelor's Programs

Online exercise science bachelor's degree programs typically include around 40 classes, which are a combination of general education courses and program-specific courses. General education courses include classes in English and composition, liberal arts, mathematics and social sciences. These classes may be waived for students who have previously taken general education courses at another school (especially those who have earned an associate's degree).

Program-specific courses vary to a degree based on school and concentration (if applicable). Some of the courses often included in online exercise science bachelor's programs are listed below.

  • Nutrition - explores the fundamentals of nutrition, including metabolism and the relationship that exists between nutrition and disease.
  • Anatomy - students learn the basic principles and characteristics of human anatomy including the structure and function of various systems of the body.
  • Fitness and Disease - examines the correlation between physical activity and the development of illness and disease throughout the lifespan of humans.
  • Behaviors in Fitness - students review the behaviors associated with optimal and poor health and wellness in order to develop strategies for health improvement through changes in behavior.
  • Community Health - explores health issues and resources that apply to different communities and populations; students often discuss ways to improve health quality in high-need areas.
  • Health Psychology - students learn how to integrate the feelings and thoughts of clients into health delivery and education by studying key characteristics of psychology.
  • Biomechanics - provides an overview of the movement of human bodies, including topics such as the elasticity and relationship of tendons, ligaments, muscles and bones.
  • Exercise Physiology - explores how physical activities affect various bodily systems, such as the cardiovascular and neuromuscular systems.

Cost of an Online Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science

The cost of an online bachelor's degree program in exercise science varies based on several factors, including the school and student. Most schools separate program costs into tuition and other fees, which are discussed below, while other schools charge a flat-rate fee that includes all of the otherwise itemized costs.

Tuition

The largest cost of an online program in exercise science is typically tuition; most online programs have a tuition rate that applies to all students, but some schools offer a discounted tuition rate for students living in-state or in a neighboring state. The actual rate of tuition varies by school but can cost between $250 and $650 per credit hour.

Other Direct Costs

In addition to tuition, students may have several other direct costs associated with their program and school. These costs can include distance or technology fees, registration fees, administrative fees and student fees. These fees are often charged per semester and can add up to $500 or more. Students may also have course fees or course materials fees for each course that they take.

Adding it Up

Students who do not have any transfer credits to apply to their online exercise bachelor's degree program typically are required to complete 120 credit hours. These credits are usually completed over 8 to 12 semesters, depending on how many courses they take at a time. Students who have previously earned an associate's degree can often transfer around 60 credit hours into their program, leaving them with only 60 credit hours to complete. Below is an example of total program costs for a lower tuition of $250 and a higher tuition rate of $650.

Credits Needed Tuition Per Credit Total Program Tuition Semester Fees Number of Semesters Total Fees Total Program Cost
120 $250 $30,000 $500 8 $4,000 $34,000
120 $650 $78,000 $500 8 $4,000 $82,000
60 $250 $15,000 $500 4 $2,000 $17,000
60 $650 $39,000 $500 4 $2,000 $41,000

Other Cost Considerations

In addition to the direct costs associated with earning an online exercise science bachelor's degree, there are some indirect, out-of-pocket expenses that students may have. Online programs require students to maintain internet access and have a computer that meets specific technical requirements. Students who do not already meet these requirements should include these costs in estimating their overall program expenses.

What's the Deal with Accreditation?

Online students of exercise science bachelor's degree programs benefit from attending accredited schools. Firstly, accreditation is required for students that want to obtain federal financial aid. Secondly, accreditation indicates that a school meets the requirements for accreditation. These requirements are set by an accrediting agency and typically review things like graduation rates, faculty experience and curriculum. Essentially, accreditation should mean that students receive a better education than they would if attending a non-accredited school.

Choosing the Right Online Exercise Science Bachelor's Program

In addition to cost and accreditation, there are several factors to consider when choosing an online exercise science bachelor's degree program.

Residency Requirements

Although most programs are available 100% online, some do have on-site requirements. These can include on-campus learning sessions or practical experiences; programs with an education focus are most likely to include these requirements.

Flexibility

Most online programs allow students to study at their own pace. What this means for you is that you can study full-time or part-time, sometimes even having the ability to switch between the two. Some programs, however, run in a specific order, requiring students to stick to a predetermined course schedule.

Faculty

Faculty play a huge role in your academic experience and success. It's helpful to have experienced faculty who can offer real-world insight and guidance, as well as available faculty who reply to inquiries in a timely manner.

What Can You Do with a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science?

There are a variety of careers that exercise science graduates can pursue, some of which require applicable certification or licensure.

Coaches and Scouts

Coaches provide instruction and guidance to athletes, both professional and amateur, while scouts seek out players to place on teams (such as college or professional teams). A coach's duties can include planning and carrying out practices, assessing and improving player skills, directing game strategies and recruiting potential athletes. The duties of scouts typically include reviewing tracking down potential players across the country, attending events to assess player skills and offering incentives to recruit new players.

Licensure/Certification

Many coaches need to have certification, especially those who work in public school. In addition, many coaches need to be first aid and CPR certified. Coaches working in schools may need to acquire a teaching/coaching license through their state's education department.

Pay and Outlook

In 2018, the median salary for coaches and scouts was $33,780, with the highest-earning individuals working in colleges and universities. The field is expected to see an 11% growth between 2018 and 2028, but coach and scout positions in colleges and universities are expected to grow 21%.

Athletic Trainers

Athletic trainers help people treat and prevent illnesses and injuries of their bones and muscles. Their duties usually include identifying and assessing injuries, creating and implementing rehabilitation plans, and proving first aid when necessary.

Licensure/Certification

Athletic trainers are required to have certification or licensure in almost all states. The standard test for athletic trainers is the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer, or BOC. Most trainers need to graduate from an accredited program to qualify for licensure.

Pay and Outlook

In 2018, the median salary for all athletic trainers we $47,510, with the highest-earning 10% making $70,750 or more. The field is projected to grow 19% between 2018 and 2028 as society becomes more aware and proactive about injuries that can be caused by sports and other activities.

Exercise Physiologists

Exercise physiologists create programs for exercise and other fitness activities to help people recover from various issues and improve their bodies. The duties of exercise physiologists can include conducting stress tests, monitoring patient vital signs, developing individualized fitness plans and consulting with other care providers.

Licensure/Certification

At least one state requires exercise physiologists to be licensed, and other states are working on legislation for licensure requirements. Many employers additionally require exercise physiologists to have CPR and basic life support certification.

Pay and Outlook

The median salary for all exercise physiologists was $49,270 in 2018, and those who worked in government positions had a median salary of $72,440. The field is expected to grow 10% between 2018 to 2028 as more facilities and hospitals rely on preventive care through exercise treatments and programs.

Recreational Therapists

Recreational therapists create and oversee treatment plans for people who have illnesses, injuries and disabilities. Recreational therapists utilize different methods of treatment, such as sports and art, to develop the best plans to improve patients' social, physical and emotional health.

Licensure/Certification

Although it isn't always required, employers generally prefer recreational therapists who have obtained certification. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification offers a national certification (Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist).

Pay and Outlook

Recreational therapists had a median salary of $47,860 in 2018; those working in government had a median salary of $58,660. The field as a whole is expected to grow 7% between 2018 and 2028, but recreational therapist positions in the home healthcare services industry are projected to grow 47% in that time frame.

Fitness Trainers and Instructors

Fitness trainers and instructors work with groups and individuals, leading various exercise activities. Their duties can include providing education to clients, demonstrating exercises, monitoring clients and providing first aid when appropriate.

Licensure

Although fitness trainers and instructors aren't specifically required to have licensure by the government, most employers prefer or require candidates to have certification. There are several certifying bodies; the National Commission for Certifying Agencies has a list of accredited certifying agencies.

Pay and Outlook

The median annual salary for all fitness trainers and instructors in 2018 was $39,820. Those working in fitness and recreational sports centers had a median salary of $41,950. The field is projected to grow 13% between 2018 and 2028 as various organizations recognize the many benefits of fitness programs.

Job Title License Required? Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Coaches and Scouts Varies $33,780 11%
Athletic Trainers Yes $47,510 19%
Exercise Physiologists Varies $49,270 10%
Recreational Therapists Preferred, not required $47,860 7%
Fitness Trainers and Instructors Preferred, not required $39,820 13%

All salary and outlook data is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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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