Personal Trainer Associates Degree Program Information

Prospective personal trainers can begin their education by enrolling in an Associate of Science in Exercise Science/Personal Training program at a number of community colleges throughout the United States.

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Essential Information

Exercise science is an academic major that involves the study of human physiology and the effects of exercise on the body. An Associate of Science in Exercise Science/Personal Training program provides the knowledge and skills required for a successful career as a personal trainer. The curriculum includes coursework on the risks of exercise, including working with clients who have heart disease or other health risks, and the benefits of exercise, including heart health and weight loss. Graduates can go on to obtain the Certified Personal Trainer credential from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine.

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Associate of Science in Exercise Science/Personal Training

Coursework in the associate's program covers a broad range of personal training topics, from establishing a professional relationship with clients to understanding their individual needs. Other areas of focus include individualized fitness plans, kinesiology, physical training safety, professionalism, and ethics. Topics of discussion in the program include:

  • Muscular fitness
  • Resistance training
  • Movement principles
  • Nutrition
  • Body composition

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fitness trainers and instructors held about 237,760 jobs in the U.S. in 2015 ( The BLS also reported that jobs in this profession were expected to grow by 8% between 2014 and 2024. The median salary for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors in May 2015 was $36,160, with most positions being held in the amusement and recreation industries.

Continuing Education Information and Certification Information

Graduates are eligible to sit for the National Academy of Sports Medicine's Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) exam. Applicants are required to have CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) certification and to complete continuing education credits every two years to maintain certification. Graduates can also take the CPT exam offered by the American College of Sports Medicine, which requires CPTs to complete 45 continuing education credits every three years to maintain certification.

Those interested in becoming a personal trainer should acquire a degree in exercise science. Coursework topics range from working with clients to issues concerning the human body, and will prepare you for this rewarding career.

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