What Can I Do With a Health and Fitness Degree?

The health and fitness field has many career options, so when you're trying to choose a career, you'll most likely want to first determine what type of degree you should pursue. Job options may differ if you earn an associate degree instead of a master's, for example. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Options with a Health and Fitness Degree

Some careers available within the health and fitness field include:

  • Personal trainer
  • Health club manager
  • Wellness coach
  • Athletic coach
  • Fitness consultant

Positions such as personal trainer, wellness coach, fitness consultant and athletic coach involve working directly with individuals to help them to improve their physical fitness for health or athletic performance. Health club manager and fitness club owner are business-related positions in which the work is mostly administrative.

Important Facts About These Careers

Fitness Trainers Coaches Dietitians
Median Annual Salary (2014) $34,980 $56,950 $30,640
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 8% growth 16% growth 6% growth
Key Skills Communication, problem-solving, and motivational skills Dedication, leadership, and decision-making skills Compassion, problem-solving, and analytical skills
Similar Occupations Exercise physiologist, athletic trainer, recreational therapist Referee/umpire, teacher, nutritionist Registered nurse, rehabilitation counselor, community health worker

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics


In some careers within the fitness industry, a formal degree is not required. However, due to liability reasons, many employers prefer candidates to have some type of formal training. In most cases, entry-level positions can be obtained by holding an associate degree. A bachelor's degree may be required for more advanced positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). If you wish to work in management or own your own business, you might want to pursue a master's degree.

Associate Degree Options

Completing an associate degree program in health and fitness can help you to prepare and enter the field quickly. Programs in personal training can help prepare you for positions as personal trainer, coach or consultant.

In a health and fitness associate program, you may take various science courses to help you better understand how the human body functions. Courses in biology, anatomy and physics are commonly found in these programs. You may also study exercise techniques, training procedures and client consultation methods.

Bachelor's Degree Options

Earning a bachelor's degree in health and fitness can allow you to land jobs beyond the entry-level. You may qualify for positions as a trainer, coach or consultant. More companies are starting to require bachelor's degrees for fitness professionals. In some cases, employers may accept a bachelor's degree in place of professional certification.

In a bachelor's degree program, you may study business-related topics, such as marketing, business management and human resources. Core courses may focus on training methods, fitness and exercise science.

Master's Degree Options

A master's degree program in health and fitness may be an option for you if you want to work in a management position. These programs can help you prepare to work as a fitness manager or to own a business in the industry. You may also use what you learn in a master's degree program to prepare for a career as a dietician, physical education teacher or chiropractor.

In a graduate program, you can expect to take fitness or exercise courses and business courses. The mixture of courses helps to prepare you for the demands you may face in doing business in this industry and gives you a well-rounded view of the field. Some programs may offer specializations, such as sports performance, wellness or rehabilitation.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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