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Health and Fitness Major: Information and Requirements

Students pursuing a health and fitness major will explore many areas of wellness, health, and fitness. Students will learn information about staying healthy, proper eating, and the benefits of regular exercise.

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Essential Information

With a health and fitness major, in addition to learning about maintaining healthy lifestyles, students often learn how to prepare for teaching and coaching careers, whether in schools or other settings. Health and fitness programs are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels, either on campus or entirely online, with the latter benefiting students interested in earning the degree while working full-time. Applicants are generally required to possess a high school diploma, though no high school coursework is necessary to prepare students for this major.


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  • Kinesiology and Exercise Science
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Sport and Fitness Management
  • Sports Medicine

Health and Fitness Major

Wellness and fitness programs include a combination of theory-based courses, laboratory experiences, and internships in the fitness industry, intended to provide students with practical, career-focused skills. Common courses include nutrition, fundamentals of kinesiology, stress management, and exercise physiology. Other courses students complete are:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Fitness promotion among special populations
  • Athletics coaching

Popular Career Options

Graduates from wellness and fitness programs can find work in a variety of settings, including schools, private gyms, spas, and government agencies to promote healthy lifestyles. Possible career options include the following:

  • Personal fitness trainer
  • Fitness class instructor
  • Athletic team coach
  • Nutrition consultant
  • Exercise physiologist

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fitness trainers and instructors were projected to see an 8% increase in employment opportunities from 2014 to 2024. The median annual wage for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors was $36,160 in May 2015.

Continuing Education Information

Certification requirements in the fitness industry vary widely, with many certifying organizations offering a variety of credentials. Among these include the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), through which professionals can earn status as a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). In addition to professional certification, many professionals, especially those working with athletes or in gyms, pursue certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). For those interested in further education, master's degree programs are common in wellness and fitness, exercise science, and kinesiology.

Health and fitness degree programs will continue to be popular as more people desire to learn ways to stay healthy and fit. These programs are offered at the bachelor's and master's degree levels, both on campus and online, and they can prepare you for a career promoting healthy lifestyles.

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