Personal Training Schools

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Your energy and passion will no doubt serve as an excellent foundation for a career in personal training, but a comprehensive education in a subject related to personal training is what will separate you from others in the industry and help you develop a reputation as one of the best in the field.

Degree and Certificate Options for Personal Trainers

Exercise science is a relatively new field of study, and one of the most common degree majors among personal trainers. According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, the educational field of exercise science emerged in response to some of the biggest issues facing Americans today, including obesity, a lack of physical activity, and the diseases that result.

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However, there is a wide array of similar majors that, much like exercise science, are designed to examine the relationship between exercise and human performance, as well as the promotion of physical activity and healthy lifestyles.

Most programs in this field of study encompass a number of disciplines, including exercise physiology, biochemistry, exercise nutrition, and growth and development, all of which are designed to explain how the human body responds and adapts to physical activity.

Degree programs in exercise science and related subjects involve:

  • Understanding health promotion and disease prevention
  • Creating health behavior change strategies
  • Learning about the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries

Just a few of the degree programs available to the aspiring personal trainer include:

Associate’s Degrees

  • Associate in Exercise Science
  • Associate in Exercise Science and Advanced Personal Training
  • Associate of Applied Science in Fitness, Personal Training, Health & Wellness
  • Associate in Personal Fitness Training
  • Associate of Science in Personal Training

Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology
  • Bachelor of Science in Personal Fitness Training and Exercise Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Fitness Wellness
  • Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Health

Master’s Degrees

  • Master of Science in Exercise Science and Nutrition
  • Master of Science in Kinesiology
  • Master of Science in Exercise Science
  • Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Sciences
  • Master of Science in Exercise Physiology

In addition to personal trainer degree programs, a number of schools, including junior and community colleges, offer certificate programs in areas related to personal training that go by titles that include:

  • Fitness Specialist Certificate
  • Fitness Technology Certificate
  • Personal Fitness Trainer Certificate
  • Personal Training Certificate

Degree and certificate programs, which may be completed either online or through campus-based institutions, prepare students to achieve certification through a recognized professional association and begin working as personal trainers in a variety of settings.

Associate Degree Programs in Personal Training

Personal training associate degrees are generally two-year programs that are offered through junior colleges, technical schools, and career schools.

These degrees prepare students to:

  • Analyze clients’ physical fitness
  • Develop a fitness plan
  • Safely instruct clients on exercises
  • Build a client base as a personal trainer

An associate degree in a subject such as exercise science or personal fitness training consists of a number of liberal arts foundational courses such as communications, history, math, and English, as well as a personal training core curriculum that consists of study in:

  • Biomechanics
  • Kinesiology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Business management

Many programs culminate in an internship, which will allow you to gain practical experience in a real-world setting, under the supervision of an experienced personal trainer.

Bachelor Degree Programs in Personal Training

A bachelor’s degree in areas such as kinesiology, fitness management, and exercise science is designed to prepare students to be knowledgeable of such areas as nutrition, strength, and human anatomy. These programs, which generally take about four years to complete, provide a science-based curriculum with general and core coursework and field internship experiences.

A broad background in achieved through coursework in anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics, exercise physiology, nutrition, and biomechanics. The core curriculum includes courses such as:

  • Principles/Applications of Lifestyle Wellness
  • Personal Health
  • Nutrition for Health
  • Structural Kinesiology
  • Principles and Practices of Exercise Science
  • Theory and Practice of Cardiovascular Exercise
  • Fitness Management
  • Fitness Testing and Interpretation


Master Degree Programs in Personal Training

A master’s degree in kinesiology, exercise physiology, or exercise science consists of advanced study in the sciences and theories of physical fitness, weight management, and nutrition. A master’s degree, which requires a bachelor’s degree for admission, generally takes about two years to complete.

A master’s degree offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of human physical activity, as well as the mechanical, neurological, biomechanical, behavioral, and physiological components of human movement.

Therefore, educational coursework in a personal training master’s degree program often includes:

  • Research in Human Movement
  • Kinesiology
  • Cardiovascular Physiology
  • Physical Activity Measurement
  • Physical Activity Interventions
  • Biomechanics
  • Neuroscience
  • Motor Control


Certificate of Completion Programs in Personal Training

Certificate of completion programs in subjects related to personal training are short-term programs that generally take about one year to complete. Certificate programs are designed to help prepare students for entry-level employment as a personal trainer in the fitness industry through a comprehensive foundation in human physiology and anatomy.

The curriculum of a personal trainer certificate of completion program provides study in:

  • Health appraisals and assessments
  • Application of exercise fitness principles
  • Strength and cardiorespiratory training techniques
  • Nutrition and exercise physiology
  • Biomechanics
  • Exercise testing and fitness measures
  • Exercise programs for diverse populations

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