What Types of Fitness Degrees Are Available?
Fitness studies programs are available at many different education levels and with many different tracks or areas of emphasis. This article shows you what types of fitness degrees you can pursue. Read on for information on what you might study in various fitness disciplines, such as fitness management or health promotion.
Fitness Degree Overview
Obtaining a degree focusing on fitness allows students to acquire the knowledge necessary to excel in the health industry. Whether your aspiration is to work in an educational or administrative role, obtaining any of the degrees below will start you in the right direction.
Important Facts About Fitness Degrees
|Certificate Levels||Graduate certificates also available|
|Prerequisites||High school diploma, or equivalent|
|Online Availability||Fully available for graduate certificate, bachelor's and master's degrees|
|Possible Careers||Physical education, athletic training, sport administration|
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||15% growth (for fitness trainers and instructors)|
|Median Salary (2020)||$40,510 (for fitness trainers and instructors)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Associate's Degrees in Fitness
Entry-level associate's degree programs in fitness are designed to prepare you for such positions as health and fitness instructor, health and fitness director, personal trainer or other fitness professional. These programs may be structured around fitness industry certifications, like those offered by the American College of Sports Medicine or the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The curriculum of an associate's degree in fitness includes courses such as:
- Anatomy & physiology
- Introduction to nutrition
- Emergency first aid care
- Fundamentals of human performance
Bachelor's Degrees in Fitness
Bachelor's degrees in fitness can offer lots of room for specialization and diversity. For example, fitness studies degree programs prepare you for careers in corporate and community wellness, sports and recreation management, exercise supervision or rehabilitation. Fitness management is a business discipline that will guide you toward a career in the organization and administration of health and exercise facilities. Through this type of program, you'd learn how to create and implement fitness programs. Studying health promotion involves helping people lead happier and healthier lives, including fun ways to encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Coursework includes:
- Personal fitness instruction
- Treating athletic injuries
- Sport psychology
- Exercise program design
- Group exercise instruction
Advanced Degrees in Fitness
Advanced degrees in fitness are also geared toward helping you develop your skills in a particular area of fitness, frequently including management, education or research tracks. A Master of Science in Fitness Management program, for example, might provide opportunities to hone your studies in corporate wellness, exercise science and fitness program administration. A kinesiology master's degree may offer the option of specializing in an area like physical activity, athletic training or physical education. These degree programs provide you with an advanced study of such topics as:
- Physical activity epidemiology
- Sports laws and ethics
- Therapeutic rehabilitation
- Advanced fitness coaching
Alternative Fitness Programs and Areas of Study
Fitness is a fairly broad discipline. Depending on the specialization you want to pursue, you may find yourself considering one of several fields. Even when a school doesn't offer a fitness degree, you shouldn't rule out the possibility of being able to pursue a specialization in fitness through another department. For example, fitness degrees offered by universities could include programs in topics like kinesiology (the science of human body motion), sports and wellness studies, health services and physical education.