Exercise Certification and Certificate Program Information

In exercise certificate programs, students learn about the approaches, methods and effects of physical exercise on the body through traditional courses and direct experience. Certification as well as further education is available upon completion of this program to increase career opportunities.

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Essential Information

Exercise certificate programs are beneficial for entry-level fitness workers who want to further their expertise for career advancement. Coursework covers exercise concepts and methods, nutrition and health, physical science, sports and fitness performance. Concentration options in related subjects, like exercise leadership and sports performance are offered.


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  • Kinesiology and Exercise Science
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Sport and Fitness Management
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Exercise Certificate

Students get to examine the biological functions and processes involved with exercise and learn how to assess physical and physiological results. Direct experience can be obtained through physical participation and in clinical settings. These programs are 1-2 semesters long and only require a high school diploma or GED with transcripts for admission. Coursework blends the disciplines of health, medicine, athletics, applied science and psychology with core courses like the following:

  • Sports and exercise nutrition
  • Principles of exercise leadership
  • Exercise science
  • Exercise psychology
  • Health and fitness performance
  • Kinesiology

Popular Career Options

Most fitness workers are employed by health organizations or fitness, sports and recreational centers. However, some provide services from home. Other popular careers options include:

  • Fitness instructor
  • Exercise consultant
  • Sports psychology assistant
  • Exercise and sport administrator
  • Personal trainer

Continuing Education Information

An exercise certificate is sufficient for most entry-level fitness positions. However, many jobs require fitness workers to be trained in specific areas of fitness, such as yoga, Pilates or strength training. A bachelor's degree in exercise science, nutrition or physical education might be needed for more advanced positions. To increase career opportunities, many workers obtain certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillators (AED). Additionally, voluntary certification in specialty areas, including personal training or group fitness instruction, are available from numerous professional organizations. The American Council on Exercise (ACE), the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA) and the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) are some examples.

Exercise programs prepare students for careers as fitness workers by covering coursework in various kinesiology and nutrition based classes for up to two semesters. Upon completion these workers will be able to further their education by obtaining other certifications or pursuing a bachelor's degree in related programs such as exercise science.



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