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Grand Canyon University

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Herzing University

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Physical Fitness Degree Programs

Physical fitness degree programs are available at all degree levels and give you both a theoretical and practical understanding of the body. Read on to learn about the available programs, online study options, common course topics and career prospects.

What Physical Degree Programs Are Available?

If you'd like to learn fundamental exercises, sports and fitness, there are many degrees from which to choose. At the undergraduate level, there are associate's degree programs with majors in physical fitness specialist, physical education, physical fitness and even personal fitness trainer. Bachelor's degree options may include health fitness specialist, exercise science, wellness and physical education.

As for the graduate degree programs, you can study kinesiology with a concentration in physical activity, as well as major in physical education, exercise science, sports science or fitness management. If you'd like to pursue a research or teaching position, doctoral degree programs are available in sport and exercise education, exercise science and exercise physiology.

Degree Levels Associate's, bachelor's, master's, doctoral
Online Options Yes, these programs are self-paced
Common Courses Undergraduate: Human anatomy, first aid, psychology, biology
Graduate: Corporate fitness, exercise biomechanics, motor learning, biochemistry
Career Opportunities Fitness director, personal trainer, health instructor
Median Salary (2018) $39,820 (for all fitness trainers and instructors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Earn a Degree Online?

If you don't have the time to take an on-campus program, some colleges and universities offer their physical fitness degree programs in an online format. Many of these programs are self-paced. Basic technical requirements include a computer with Internet access and an e-mail address.

What Courses Could I Take?

While the type of coursework varies by school and program, undergraduate students typically take primary courses such as psychology, chemistry, biology, human anatomy, first aid and movement. More advanced coursework in a master's degree program could include such courses as corporate fitness, exercise biomechanics and issues in nutrition. As a doctoral student, you may explore advanced motor learning, supervision in physical education, biochemistry, as well as a research seminar.

Some programs offer research laboratories with various types of technical equipment to assist students in homework assignments. Additionally, some programs include professional fitness or physical education certification courses as a standard graduation requirement.

What Job Opportunities Are Available to Me Upon Graduation?

With an undergraduate or graduate degree in one of these majors, several positions are open when you're ready to enter the physical fitness field. Wellness centers, physical fitness clinics and vacation resorts look for these types of individuals. Some applicable job titles are that of a fitness director, personal trainer, health instructor or exercise leader.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reported that fitness trainers held approximately 308,470 jobs in 2018. The bureau expected employment of fitness workers to increase 10%, which is faster than other occupations.