Students can earn certificates, associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees in fitness and sports management. Some programs offer concentration areas for personalized training.
Top Ten Schools with Sports and Fitness Management Programs
The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer sports and fitness management programs.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|California University of Pennsylvania||California, PA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state Undergraduate $9,936; In-state Graduate $8,460|
|Texas A&M University||College Station, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state Undergraduate $10,176; In-state Graduate $5,598|
|University of Tulsa||Tulsa, OK||4-year, Private||Minor||Undergraduate $39,521|
|University of Florida||Gainesville, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state Undergraduate $6,381; In-state Graduate $10,770|
|Towson University||Towson, MD||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||In-state Undergraduate $9,182; Out-of-state Undergraduate $20,788|
|University of San Francisco||San Francisco, CA||4-year, Private||Master's||Graduate $22,410|
|University of Louisville||Louisville, KY||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state Undergraduate $10,744; In-state Graduate $11,664|
|Wichita State University||Wichita, KS||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state Undergraduate $7,528; In-state Graduate $4,927|
|University of Massachusetts - Amherst||Amherst, MA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||In-state Undergraduate $14,171; In-state Graduate $12,782|
|Taylor University||Upland, IN||4-year, Private||Bachelor's||Undergraduate $30,270|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
School Selection Criteria
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a program in this field.
- Online and distance learning may be available in some programs to cater to those with full-time jobs or busy schedules.
- Some programs offer students the opportunity to focus their education on either the business end of fitness or exercise science.
- Research the hands-on experience opportunities offered by a program, as they are an important part of the preperation for a career in fitness management.
- National certification is required to work in most fitness settings, and many schools offer courses to help students prepare for certification tests.
Certificate in Fitness Business Management
Usually offered online, certificate programs in fitness management are narrowly focused on managing a fitness facility or program at a corporate site, gym, medical facility or public recreational center. They are appropriate for students who are already experienced fitness professionals.
Completion of this type of course usually counts for continuing education credits with several national certification organizations. Proof of CPR certification is required to be certified.
Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Health and Fitness
These 2-year programs introduce the student to exercise science and the world of fitness. Programs will typically direct students to the appropriate national certifications for different fitness disciplines, such as personal training, group fitness and yoga. In most cases, credits from these programs can transfer into a bachelor's program in the health and fitness management field. The basics of human anatomy and kinesiology, sports psychology and exercise prescription are covered.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Sports and Fitness Management
In many of these 4-year programs, students can elect to minor in coaching, physical education, injury rehabilitation, health promotion, recreation or business management. Most programs have a required field internship in which the student works in a fitness or wellness facility. Some programs offer special certifications in coaching and Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT), which is a trademarked program in body alignment used in many physical fitness programs.
Master of Science (M.S.) in Health Fitness Management
For students already holding a bachelor's degree in a health-related field, these 2-year programs combine coursework in business management and physical fitness. Master's degrees are appropriate for professionals who have several years of experience in the fitness business and want to increase their fitness knowledge, advance into a management role or start their own business.
There are many program options for individuals interested in a career in physical fitness management, ranging from undergraduate certificates to bachelor's or master's degrees. Students should keep in mind cost, the diversity of program levels, and the quality of hands-on experiences before choosing a program.