Associate's degree programs in fitness management provide students with didactic and hands-on training. Students learn how to educate people about healthier lifestyle habits and how to encourage them to stay on track with their exercise and diet regimens. These programs are commonly offered in combination with studies in sports or recreation management, and some programs offer specialization options in fitness practices such as yoga and Tai Chi.
Associate Degree in Fitness Management
Fitness management programs are highly interdisciplinary, training students in both wellness and business. Not only do students learn about spots and recreation, but they also gain the business know-how they need to work as managers in fitness centers or even run their own health clubs, gyms, weight management organizations and retail fitness outlets. Common courses include:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Body conditioning
- Exercise physiology
- First aid
- Personal training
- Business management
Popular Career Options
Earning an associate's degree in this field can prepare students to become fitness instructors or managers of fitness-related businesses. Some popular job titles include:
- Personal trainer
- Group exercise instructor
- Health club manager
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected an 8% increase in jobs for fitness trainers and instructors between 2014 and 2024. In the category of fitness trainers and aerobics instructors, the mean annual salary was $40,970 in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
According to the BLS, employers are often more interested in hiring certified personal trainers and instructors than those who merely have undergraduate degrees (www.bls.gov). Some fitness employers also favor applicants with bachelor's degrees over those who only have associate's degrees. After finishing an associate's degree in fitness management, students can enroll in bachelor's degrees in sports and fitness management, recreation management or sports management.
There are many certification programs for fitness professionals. Most certification programs require applicants to meet education and experience requirements. Applicants must then pass written or practical exams that verify fitness knowledge, which could include questions about proper exercise form or how to create personalized exercise schedules. Becoming an instructor for certain practices, such as yoga and Pilates, may require the completion of additional training and certification programs. Certified instructors must also complete additional coursework every few years in order to renew their certifications.
In summary, an associate's degree in fitness management provides students with the business and wellness knowledge they need to get a job as a fitness manager or instructor, enroll in a bachelor's degree program, or prepare for a certification exam.