If you are always helping others at the gym with their squat form or encouraging your friends with their fitness goals while you work on your own, a bachelor’s in fitness and personal training, a degree that shapes minds, bodies, and health, may be perfect for you.
With a bachelor’s in fitness and personal training, you can convert your passion for health and fitness into a full-time career. An online fitness bachelor’s degree will give you in-depth knowledge of movement, physical activity, health, and nutrition. You will understand how the body can thrive with fitness and exercise, and best of all, you will be sharing your knowledge and skills with others!
What Is an Online Bachelor’s in Fitness and Personal Training Degree?
Several types of fitness bachelor degree programs are available that focus on different aspects but share similar curriculums. For example, you may pursue a bachelor’s degree in fitness and personal training, a bachelor’s in kinesiology with a fitness concentration, or a bachelor in health and wellness. A bachelor’s degree in exercise science is another common fitness degree.
In a fitness bachelor’s degree program, you will complete courses in kinesiology, physiology, health, and nutrition. You will learn about various topics such as fitness management, sports psychology, and injury prevention.
Most bachelor degrees require 120 credit hours, and that includes general education courses, major requirements, electives, and an internship or research project. Online bachelor’s in fitness vary depending on the school. Some offer classes every 16 weeks, and others offer accelerated options, such as classes every eight weeks. Online programs deliver virtual classrooms where you watch lectures, participate in class discussions, turn in assignments, and take tests—all online.
Careers for Fitness and Personal Training Majors
With a bachelor’s degree in fitness and personal training, you will be qualified for many jobs in the fitness industry. The most common careers are as follows:
- Certified Personal Trainer for Diverse Populations
- Fitness Educator
- Sports Performance Coach
- Group Fitness Instructor
- Exercise Director/Gym Owner
- Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Health and fitness professionals have a myriad of opportunities for employment in various settings. Here are a few of the more common settings:
- Corporate fitness centers
- Commercial gyms
- High schools and colleges
- Rehabilitation centers
- Healthcare facilities
You may wish to pursue additional certifications, such as a CPT from an NCAA-accredited organization like the American Council on Exercise. If you are interested in the clinical side of exercise and fitness, you may want to pursue a role as an exercise physiologist and pursue the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)’s clinical exercise physiologist certification.
Some graduates decide to pursue a health and fitness master’s degree after finishing their bachelor’s degree. That is always an option, too!
Fitness and Personal Training Salary Potential
Because there are so many career options in the fitness, personal training, and health field, salaries for those with a bachelor’s in fitness and personal training range depending on the career choice.
According to the US Department of Labor Statistics, the field of exercise science is growing at about 13%, which is faster than average.
Exercise physiologists develop fitness programs that help sick or injured patients recover, they make an average annual salary of $49,270, and nearly half of them are self-employed. The other half work for healthcare providers.
Athletic trainers, depending on where they work, will bring in a salary of around $47,510 per year. These professionals may work in educational settings such as colleges or secondary schools, or they may work in hospitals, fitness centers, or even for professional sports teams.
Health educators work with specific populations and teach them about health and wellness, including exercise. They make an average of $46,080 per year.
What Are the Best Online Bachelor’s in Fitness and Personal Training Degrees?
We know that you have educational goals that you’re itching to pursue, but you may not know where to start. The editors of CollegeRank utilize a unique ranking methodology based on the following three aspects:
40% Potential Salary After Graduation: Average mid-career salary of school alumni
30% Institutional Accreditation: Regional and National Accreditation for the 2019-2020 school year
30% Overall Degree Affordability: Average cost of undergraduate and graduate tuition per school
At CollegeRank, we strive to do our best to guide you and your family toward a fruitful academic career. The pursuit of knowledge is a noble one, and we want to help you reach your goals. Please feel free to visit our dedicated methodology page for a step-by-step breakdown. For questions, comments, badge downloads, or data corrections, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Granite State College
Concord, New Hampshire
Average Net Price
Do you agree with this goal? “No matter where you live, no matter your age or income, if you’re motivated to pursue a college education, you should have access to it.” Carrying out that goal has been Granite State College in Concord, New Hampshire’s mission since 1972, and with 1,736 students and nationally ranked online bachelor’s degree programs, they are meeting their goal every day.
GSU’s online Bachelor of Science in health and wellness is a detailed, yet easy to follow plan of study complete with a myriad of courses in health topics, such as The Emerging US Health Care System and Health Behaviors. If you are a transfer student, GSU prides itself on making the most of transfer credits and applying it to your degree. For example, military, workplace, and volunteer experiences can transfer into academic credit!
With job growth in the health and wellness field, graduates could work as public health educators, corporate wellness coordinators, community health workers, health service managers, or even health coaches, just to name a few. Applications for admission are accepted throughout the year, allowing students to begin at any term.
Concordia University-Saint Paul
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Average Net Price
Imagine knowing that there was an excellent chance you would get the job of your dreams right after graduation. At Concordia University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, 95% of grads receive job offers within one year of graduating. In addition, CSP grads are among the highest-paid among MN private schools, with an average income of $57,736 within four years of graduation.
Since 1893, CSP, a private Lutheran university, has been preparing students for meaningful careers and has several nationally ranked awards, including #3 for Top College for Adult Learners from Washington Monthly. Thebestschools.org ranked CSP as #3 Best Online College in Minnesota, too.
The Bachelor of Science in exercise science from CSP focuses on kinesiology science in exercise and wellness. If you want to pursue a career in physical therapy, chiropractic health, athletic/sports training or management, or biomechanics, this degree will serve as a springboard for your ultimate professional goals.
This BS degree is heavy on the sciences and math, but you will take some exciting core classes such as Biomechanics, Health Psychology, and Exercise Assessment. At the end of the program, you will complete an eight credit hour internship. The application process is simple – submitting official ACT/SAT scores are optional; however, submitting a 500-word admissions essay on a life experience is mandatory. Time to get writing!
California Baptist University
Average Net Price
California Baptist University believes that everyone was created for a purpose, and it is part of their mission to help students understand their purpose by providing top-quality Christian education. Located in southern California on a beautiful 160-acre campus, CBU offers 123 on-campus academic programs and 41 online programs that prepare students for professional careers.
CBU’s online Bachelor of Science in kinesiology prepares students for careers in athletic training, fitness, coaching, teaching, and other health and fitness-related fields. This program also serves as a gateway to a graduate program in kinesiology, health and wellness, or athletic training. Passionate faculty members with strong backgrounds in health and exercise science bring their unique experiences into the classroom.
This degree requires 50 units (credit hours) of major courses, along with general education requirements. This program is designed to be completed in just 18 months.
To apply, you need at least 24 transferable units or a High School Diploma/GED and a minimum GPA of 2.0. An online admissions counselor will help you with every step of your application.
Eastern Oregon University
La Grande, Oregon
Average Net Price
It is no surprise that Eastern Oregon University has been awarded numerous national awards for its online programs, including awards from Affordable Colleges Online, College Choice, and Value Colleges. With its supportive and devoted faculty, technology-infused course delivery, and small class sizes, EOU excels at providing top-notch, flexible online programs to working students.
The online bachelor’s in health and human performance teaches students the psychological and physiological processes in the human body that are vital for movement and overall health. You can choose from three concentrations: physical education and sports, community health, or exercise science.
You will take 30 credit hours of core classes, including Foundations of Physical Activity and Health and Behavior Change Theory, along with 40 credit hours of classes in the concentration that you choose. This program requires a capstone seminar and course for the final project and totals 120 credit hours.
To apply, you need to fill out the application online, request official transcripts, and include SAT/ACT scores if you are transferring less than 30 credit hours to EOU. Whether you want to become a health educator, go into the medical field, or pursue a health and fitness-related graduate degree, this program is a perfect first step.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Average Net Price
A school that values giving back so much that they require every single undergraduate program to require community service? That’s Tulane University, founded in 1834, a university rich in history that values service above all else. A private research university in New Orleans, Louisiana, Tulane offers 70 majors spanning across five different schools. About a third of the students decide to double major!
Tulane offers a Bachelor of Science in exercise science with on-campus/online combinations. If you are interested in how exercise affects health and society, this program may be for you. This program is a great gateway for the future career as an occupational therapist, exercise physiologist, athletic trainer, and others.
What sets this program apart from some others is the extensive experience that the instructors bring to the classroom. Faculty include registered nurses, athletic trainers, dieticians, physical therapists, and more. This degree is made up of 40 credits in exercise science, totaling 120 credits. At the end of the program, you will complete an internship or independent research project. Tulane also offers a 20% discount on tuition for full-time teachers and paraprofessionals, employees of the city, parish, sheriff’s office, and Housing Authority, active-duty military personnel, and adults over the age of 60.
California University of Pennsylvania
Average Net Price
“Don’t Settle. Build You.” That is California University of Pennsylvania’s motto, and it’s clear that this university provides not only the resources but the motivation to help build it’s students into well-education learners, ready for the professional world. Along with over 100 undergraduate and over 50 graduate programs, Cal U offers more than degrees. They offer character-building, life-enhancing educational experiences that students will hold onto long after they graduate.
Cal U’s online Bachelor of Science in exercise science will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need in order to qualify to be a Certified Personal Trainer from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or a Certified Speed Coach from the National Association of Speed and Explosion (NASE). In fact, this program is one of the only 30 fitness programs nationwide that is recognized by NASM.
Some of the required courses in this program are Ethics in Sports Management, Functional Kinesiology, and Business Aspects of Fitness. Out of 1,200 online programs, the U.S. News & Report ranked Cal U #11 in Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs. To apply, you just need to fill out the application and submit previous transcripts. Recommendation letters and personal essays are optional!
University of Wisconsin
Average Net Price
Bucky the Badger, dressed in a red and white sweater, keeps the crowds going wild at the University of Wisconsin NCAA Division I athletic events. One of the largest educational institutions in the country, the University of Wisconsin system includes 13 universities and 26 campuses across the state. This system serves approximately 170,000 students and offers more than 150 degrees and certificates online.
UW’s online health and wellness management bachelor’s degree will provide the knowledge you need to understand health in many facets and implement health and wellness programs for diverse populations. This program is only 61 credit hours, which include 21 required courses, fieldwork experience, and a capstone course. There are no electives required.
A professor for this program, Myron Falken, while working as an epidemiologist at the Minnesota Department of Health, developed the blood lead surveillance system, along with the birth defects surveillance system! This program was born seven years ago, and so far, there have been 144 graduates. Students come from all over the United States, Canada, and China.
University of Louisiana-Lafayette
Average Net Price
The University of Louisiana – Lafayette is a place where “tradition meets innovation.” It is also a place of spirit and authenticity. The second-largest university in Louisiana, UL Lafayette is a national leader in academics and research and serves over 19,000 students, both in classrooms and online. UL Lafayette is one of the nation’s best universities for undergraduate education, according to Princeton Review.
The online BS in kinesiology with a concentration in health promotion and wellness prepares students for careers in helping others live their best lives. Many graduates become public health educators or community health workers. Graduates are also able to take the national certification exam to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).
This 120 credit hour program is 100% online except for a three-hour credit hour clinical experience and a six-to-nine credit hour internship, which will be completed in your community. Most courses are offered in a traditional 16-week format, but some are offered in an accelerated eight-week option. If you’re interested in applying for this program, you need your transcripts, your immunization records, and ACT/SAT scores.
American Military University
Charles Town, West Virginia
Average Net Price
As the #1 provider of education to the U.S. Military, American Military University’s mission is to offer affordable online education to those who serve. With more than 93,500 alumni and counting, AMU is carrying out it’s mission every day! Eighty percent of current students are active-duty military, and 20% are civilians. Each class starts monthly, so students can join the AMU learning community at any time.
The Bachelor of Science in sports and health sciences is a scientific study of human movement and behavior related to fitness, nutrition, and overall health. Students will be asked to choose from one of four concentrations: coaching studies, exercise science, fitness and wellness professional studies, or a more general overview of the field.
AMU’s degree in sports and health sciences is affiliated with the guidelines of the American Sport Education Program (AESP). This program is 120 credits, and 90 credits may be transferred from previous college-level coursework. Graduates will be qualified for entry-level positions in the fitness field, corporate wellness programs, and athletic training. If you’re interested in this program, AMU’s mission specialists will walk you through the steps.
University of Kansas
Average Net Price
In 1866, the University of Kansas held it’s first class of 55 students in an unfinished building. Today, 28,500 students attend KU, and that single building has evolved to five campuses across the state, along with several online programs. KU offers over 200 undergraduate programs and 50 graduate programs. The Jayhawk spirit infuses the campuses with energy, compassion, and service.
KU’s Bachelor of Applied Science in exercise science prepares students for careers in fitness-related and therapeutic sports-related fields. Courses include Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics, Biochemistry, and an internship opportunity. Students in this program have priority access to scholarships, assistantships, NSCA grants, and other training opportunities.
This 120-credit program is fully online, with 51 program credit hours and 18 hours of electives. Students also have the option to earn an undergraduate certificate through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) with 15 additional credit hours. You can apply for this program for a spring or fall start date, and program advisors will happily walk you through the process.
United States Sports Academy
Average Net Price
“A university without walls”—that was the vision of the United States Sports Academy when it was founded in 1972 to meet the demands in sport education in America. The Academy meets the needs of it’s students by teaching sports all across the globe from its virtual learning delivery programs. Since 1972, the Academy has become a national resource for sport education and is known worldwide as “America’s Sport University ®.”
Ranked among the Top Ten Online Degrees from the U.S. News & Report is the Bachelor of Sport Science from USSA. There are four programs for you to choose from: a BSS in sports management, sports coaching, sports studies, and sports strength and conditioning. All of the programs include main curriculum courses, major courses, electives, and a mentorship.
All the BS of sports science degrees require that applicants have completed a minimum of 30 credit hours of college courses. They must also submit a 300-400 word personal statement with their applications, explaining why they would benefit from the program.
University of North Carolina-Wilmington
Wilmington, North Carolina
Average Net Price
The Seahawk team
we proudly hail,
Our Seahawk pride
will never fail.
University of North Carolina – Wilmington fans and alumni (fondly known as Seahawks) proudly sing the school’s fight song at Seahawk events. As part of the 17-campus UNC System, UNCW offers 56 majors, including undergraduate and graduate degrees to over 17,499 students. This coastal university offers powerful academic experiences that foster critical thinking and creativity.
UNCW’s Bachelor in Exercise Science is perfect for students who are interested in taking their knowledge and skills in exercise, health and wellness into academic, clinical, government, or corporate settings. Some core classes include Research Methods in Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology, and Sports Nutrition.
After completing the core classes, students will choose one of two concentrations: allied health or the exercise physiology certification. The allied health route provides a route to healthcare fields such as physical therapy or occupational therapy. This program is 67 credit hours. The Exercise Physiology Certification leads to careers in exercise physiology, personal training, or athletic training.
University of Florida
Average Net Price
“We are an unstoppable force for the Gator good,” is the University of Florida’s motto, and indeed, this public university in Gainesville, Florida, is an unstoppable force for not only its students’ academic and professional success but the community around them. For example, UF has facilities in all 67 counties of the state that work to help the growth and health of local farmers and economies. UF generates over 100,000 jobs in Florida each year to help stimulate one of the strongest state economies in the country.
U.S. News & Report ranks UF Online programs #12 in the nation, and it’s easy to see why. The UF online Bachelor of Science in health education focuses on how to train students to promote healthy lifestyle choices in diverse individuals and groups. Graduates may work in health education or health promotion in a variety of field settings, or they may use this degree as a path to pursue a graduate degree.
Prerequisites for this program include Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Biological Sciences, and two of the following courses: College Algebra, Statistics, or Psychology. UF strongly recommends that students take all six prerequisite courses prior to enrolling, but applications may be conditionally enrolled if they have completed five out of the six. The application takes about 30 minutes to complete, and students may enter this program in the summer, fall, or spring.
Arizona State University
Average Net Price
Arizona State University, recognized as the country’s most innovative school by U.S. News and World Report, graduates more than 20,000 innovative master learners every year. Over the last ten years, ASU has been named one of the country’s fastest-growing research universities, among those with over $100 million in annual research expenditures. ASU offers more than 350 undergraduate programs and 450 graduate programs, in both traditional and online formats.
ASU’s online Bachelor of Science in health education and health promotion is designed for students who want to become Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES). These professionals are licensed to work in a variety of fields, including physical, emotional, and sexual health education, nutrition, substance abuse prevention, and social media and marketing in health education.
This program consists of 39 classes, and each class is 7.5 weeks. The total credit hours are 120, and students must maintain a minimum of a 2.0 GPA throughout this program. ASU holds continuing partnerships with the medical community and offers students access to resources and networking with companies like Mayo Clinic and Banner Health.
San Diego, California
Average Net Price
Some people think online learning is impersonal. Ashford University, an online university in San Diego, California, has dispelled that myth by providing an entire online academic support team to it’s students. This team is made up of AU instructors, librarians, writing consultants, academic advisors, career service professionals, and even a wellness career support team. Offering more than 80 online programs, AU makes sure that students don’t feel alone as they are working through their classes.
AU is responding to the health care form that has led to a focus on preventing diseases and promoting wellness among diverse groups, which is why they offer a Bachelor in Arts of health and wellness. In this program, you will increase your understanding of the multidimensional field of health wellness and it’s relationship to preventing or slowing the progression of chronic diseases.
This bachelor’s program requires 43 credits of general education, 37 credits of major course requirements, and 44 credits of electives. Each class is five weeks, and you will take one course at a time. Ninety credits may be transferred for this degree. You may be admitted on a conditional, provisional, or full basis, and the requirements vary for each of these standings.