Masters Degree in Fitness: Program Options

If you are passionate about fitness and want to earn a graduate degree in the field, you can consider a master's degree in sports and fitness management. Learn more about program requirements and future career opportunities.

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Essential Information

Students seeking graduate-level training in fitness can pursue a Master of Science in Sport and Fitness Management. This degree differs from programs focused on athletic training in that it focuses less on kinesiology and more on physical education and sports administration. The two-year program requires students to take lecture-based courses, complete an internship at a physical fitness facility, and submit a thesis or capstone project prior to graduation. Specialization options include sports administration, fitness club management, and fitness education. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree in a related field and submit letters of recommendation and GRE scores.

Master of Science in Sport and Fitness Management

In master's degree programs in sports and fitness management, topics of study range from administration techniques to exercise biomechanics. Students learn how to work with individuals or teams to enhance performance, provide physical fitness education services, and manage fitness programs. Common course titles include:

  • Principles of sport and fitness management
  • Physical education
  • Analysis of physical fitness
  • Nutrition and fitness
  • Sports and finance
  • Psychology of coaching

Popular Career Options

After earning a master's degree, students are prepared for many fitness-related careers. Specific positions include:

  • High school or college sports coach
  • Athletic director
  • Fitness facility manager
  • Sports information director
  • Sports agent
  • Sports marketing director

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in May 2015, the median annual wage for coaches and scouts was $31,000, and projected that employment would grow by 6 percent between 2014 and 2024, which is about as fast as the national average for all occupations. For administrative service managers, the median annual wage was $86,110, with an expected growth of 8 percent from 2014 to 2024.


Several organizations and associations offer certification related to the field of physical fitness and physical education. For example, the American Council on Exercise offers certification for fitness instructors, advanced fitness specialists and lifestyle consultants. Other organizations, such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine, offer certification for personal trainers and fitness instructors.

In summary, students who want to study fitness at the graduate level can get a master's degree in sport and fitness management in order to prepare for a leadership position in the field.

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